Accounts of the Viet Minh's invasion of Laos and of the battle for Dien Bien Phu
are as fresh and interesting as if they occurred yesterday.
The last bastion of the LTTE, Nandikadal, was even referred to as Dien Bien Phu
(Seat of the Border County Prefecture) in North Vietnam.
Caption: French machine gun posts guard a road during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
in March 1954.
In 1954, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
began during the First Indochina War as communist forces attacked French troops, who were defeated nearly two months later.
The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu
and the French Defeat in Vietnam
No one accused President Dwight Eisenhower of isolationism when he accepted a stalemate in the Korean War, refused to intervene at Dien Bien Phu
, resisted recommendations from senior military officers regarding islands near Taiwan, watched the Red Army invade Hungary, or refused to back allies in the Suez Canal crisis.
I was picked up at my hotel and driven to General Giap's house which lies at a corner of Dien Bien Phu
A small sample of other first-rate accounts of close combat and the reactions of warriors are commended--from WW I: Graves, Goodbye to All That, a memoir; Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel constantly in print since 1929; and from WW II: Sledge, With the Old Breed; Fraser, Quartered Safe Out Here; Masters, The Road Past Mandalay; Fussell, The Boys' Crusade; from the French war in Indo-China: Grauwin, Doctor at Dien Bien Phu
, and from the American war in Vietnam: Nolen, Ripcord.
These issues of course, are not the reason the world recognises General Vo Nguyen Giap, but for his defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu
As a chief aide to Ho Chi Minh, Giap was credited with defeating French forces at the decisive battle of Dien Bien Phu
in 1954, crippling France's bid to continue its colonial rule in Indochina after World War II.
The former history teacher turned military commander led his troops to victory over France in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu
-- the battle that ended French involvement in Indochina -- and played a key role in Vietnam's defeat of the United States in 1975.
And despite heavy and painful losses, Vietnam prevailed, defeating the first colonial quest at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
(1954) and the second at Ho ChE[degrees] Minh Campaign (1975).
He stood out as the leader of a ragtag army of guerrillas who wore sandals made of car tyres and lugged their artillery over mountains to encircle and crush the French army at Dien Bien Phu
For example, his entry on the ever intriguing Paul Mus, the French intellectual and outspoken critic of the war, is longer than that for Vo Nguyen Giap, the DRV's supreme military commander who oversaw its great victory at Dien Bien Phu
the defense of the Alamo in 1836; Pickett's charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, the Viet Minh "death volunteers" who threw themselves at French defenses at Dien Bien Phu
, and the Japanese Kamikaze attacks of 1944-45.