Trình Minh Thế Politician
Trình Minh Thế (1922 - May 3, 1955) was a Vietnamese nationalist and military leader during the end of the First Indochina War and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Thế was born in Tây Ninh Province and raised in the Cao Đài religion. He was trained in military officer school by the Japanese Kempeitai when Japan began using Cao Đài paramilitary troops. By 1945 he was an officer in the Cao Đài militia. In June 1951, Thế broke from the Cao Đài hierarchy and took about two thousand troops with him to form his own militia, the Lien Minh, devoted to combating both the French and the Việt Minh. Thế’s father and one of his brothers formed their own military group in the Lien Minh and were later killed by Việt Minh in combat. Thế’s forces were implicated in a series of terrorist bombings in Saigon from 1951 to 1953—which were blamed on communists at the time—and may also have been responsible for the assassination of the French General Chanson at Sa Đéc in 1951. In 1954, United States military advisor Edward Lansdale negotiated with Thế to use his militia to back up Ngo Dinh Diem and the ARVN.