Madame Nhu died just three years ago, in 2011, in Rome—36 years after the end of the war in Vietnam.(Read her obit in the New York .) This complicated, profoundly polarizing character was, in a way, an ideal representative of an era and a conflict that, five decades later, still spark soul-searching among those who lived through those turbulent times.For example, she notoriously referred to the public self-immolations of Buddhist monks—who burned themselves alive protesting the Diem regime's corruption and repression of Buddhists—as "barbecues" and crowed, "Let them burn and we shall clap our hands."[See all of LIFE.com's coverage of the Vietnam War]Also known by the moniker "Dragon Lady" (in the West) and "Tiger Lady" (in Vietnam), Madame Nhu was a true enigma, as comfortable hosting parties at the presidential palace as she was firing pistols while visiting women in the paramilitary outfit that she herself organized (photo above).“I don’t like these awful toys,” she reportedly said at the time, “but if it is necessary to use them for our country, I am ready to.”As it turned out, she never got the chance.She was in California on a public relations tour, drumming up political and financial support for her brother-in-law's dictatorship—and droppng rhetorical bombshells at pretty much every stop along the way—when her husband and Diem were assassinated.Diệm was captured and executed the next day along with his brother and adviser Ngô Đình Nhu.Diệm's road to political power began in July 1954, when he was appointed the Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam by former Emperor Bảo Đại, who was Head of State.Lucien Conein, the Central Intelligence Agency’s liaison between the US embassy and the coup planners, told them that the US would not intervene to stop it. The coup was led by General Dương Văn Minh and started on 1 November.
) So, it’s no surprise that e Harmony relationships are the least likely to end in divorce.He proceeded to strengthen his autocratic and nepotistic rule over the country.