Their casualties totaled over 2,200 killed, 5,600 wounded, and 11,721 taken prisoner. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Viet Minh’s military chief, understood the strategic importance of Dien Bien Phu – but he was aware that the French garrison was vulnerable, hundreds of kilometres from Hanoi and surrounded by elevated positions. In the new government, Giáp maintained his position as Minister of National Defense and he was made Deputy Prime Minister in July 1976. He was arrested in 1930 for taking part in student protests and served 13 months of a two-year sentence at Lao Bảo Prison. Nguyen, Lien-Hang T. Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam.  However, after the Chinese communists reached the northern border of Vietnam in 1949 and the Vietnamese destruction of French posts there, the conflict turned into a conventional war between two armies equipped with modern weapons supplied by the United States and the Soviet Union.  Bùi Diễm, a former student of Giap and the former South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, states during this period Giap and the Viet Minh had purged thousands of anti-colonial nationalists.. In his own words, “we strictl…  Giáp claimed that the attack on 4 August 1964, had been imaginary. Major Archimedes Patti, in charge of the so-called 'Deer Team' unit, taught the Viet Minh to use flamethrowers, grenade launchers and machine guns. The preponderance of Viet Minh guns came as a surprise to the French who did not believe that Giap possessed a large artillery arm. He was said to have been in the same class as Phạm Văn Đồng, a future Prime Minister, who has also denied having studied at Albert Sarraut, and Bảo Đại, the last Emperor of Annam. Giáp later argued that the Tết Offensive was not a "purely military strategy" but part of a "general strategy, an integrated one, at once military, political and diplomatic.". With Ho in France, Giáp was effectively in charge of the government in Hanoi. In June 1973, the U.S. Congress passed the Case–Church Amendment, which prohibited any further U.S. military involvement, and the PAVN supply routes could operate normally without any fear of U.S. bombing. On 7 May 1955, he inaugurated the Vietnamese Maritime Force and on 1 May 1959, the Vietnamese People's Air Force. However, after due deliberations with his men, Gen Giap rejected this advice and decided on a siege campaign, to strike surely and advance cautiously. General Vo Nguyen Giap (2nd, R) and other commanding officers discuss Dien Bien Phu plans in 1954. From 1933 to 1938, Giáp studied at the Indochinese University in Hanoi where he earned a bachelor's degree in law with a major in political economy. They were also aware of the difficulties of mounting an attack in that area. In retaliation, Cambodia's ally China responded by invading the Cao Bang province of Vietnam in January 1979 and once again Giáp was in overall responsibility for the response, which drove the Chinese out after a few months. After Dien Bien Phu, General Giap came to symbolize Vietnamese military prowess to the West. HO CHI MINH GENERAL GIAP. Vo Nguyen Giap is the Vietnamese general who planned the Ho Chi Minh trail and defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu. Giáp's victory over the French was an important inspiration to anti-colonial campaigners around the world, particularly in French colonies, and most particularly in North Africa, not least because many of the troops fighting on the French side in Indochina were from North Africa. Gen. Giap’s strategic rethink-decisive factor to Dien Bien Phu victory Vietnam News Agency ... Tieu su Vo Nguyen Giap | General Vo Nguyen Giap - Duration: 12:26.  Unknown to the Việt Minh, President Harry S. Truman, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin had already decided the future of postwar Vietnam at a summit meeting at Potsdam. The garrison constituted roughly one-tenth of the total French Union manpower in Indochina, and the defeat seriously weakened the position and prestige of the French; it produced psychological repercussions both in the armed forces and in the political structure in France. This battle, of which the Viet-minh was victorious, marked the end of the Indochina War (1946-1954), but also that of French hegemony in this region. Clearly, the advantage had been given to Hanoi. The United States was approached and some advisers suggested the use of tactical nuclear weapons against the Viet Minh, but this was never seriously considered.  The victory at Dien Bien Phu marked the beginning of a new era in the military struggles against colonialism for national liberation and independence movements in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and other colonised countries. General Giap was a patriot who loved his country and, like good patriots, wanted it to be better than it was, knowing full well that his wish was within the realm of possibility. On 9 March the Japanese removed the titular French regime and placed the emperor Bảo Đại at the head of a puppet state, the Empire of Vietnam. General Vo Nguyen Giap and the sealed order on the Dien Bien Phu general offensive campaign. From the outer trench, other trenches and tunnels were gradually dug inward towards the center. The Chinese provided 70 advisors, the “South China Sea Action Group.” They suggested using one massive “Human Wave” attack to take Dien Bien Phu quickly.  In China, Giáp joined up with Hồ Chí Minh, then an adviser to the People's Liberation Army.  Recent scholarship indicates other leaders had played more prominent roles, with former subordinates and now rivals Văn Tiến Dũng and Hoàng Văn Thái assuming a more direct military responsibility than Giáp. General Vo Nguyen Giap observed a drilling of naval troops in 1964. While diversionary attacks were launched in other areas, Giáp ordered his men to covertly position their artillery by hand.  He was also a very effective logistician, laying the foundation of the Ho Chi Minh trail, recognised as one of the great feats of military engineering of the 20th century. The Party Plenum in 1957 ordered changes to the structure of these units and Giáp was put in charge of implementing these and building their strength to form a solid basis for an insurrection in the South. , In September 1944 the first Revolutionary Party Military Conference was held and it was agreed that the time was now right to take the military struggle forward into a new phase. Photo courtesy of Hanoi’s Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory.  General De Castries, French Commander in Dien Bien Phu, was captured alive in his bunker. The war had lasted for seven years and there was still no sign of a clear French victory. Obituary Oct 12th … They based this on their successes in Korea. Vo Nguyen Giap, who drove both the French and the Americans out of Vietnam, died on October 4th, aged 102. In June 1938 (or, according to some sources[specify], April 1939) they were married and in May 1939 they had a daughter, Hong Anh (Red Queen of Flowers). Giáp's wife went to her family home in Vinh, where she was arrested, sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, and incarcerated in the Hoa Lo Central Prison in Hanoi. General Giap, whose victory at Dien Bien Phu triggered France’s departure from Indo-China was a self-taught leader regarded as one of the great military geniuses of the post-World War II era. Her sister was guillotined and Giáp's daughter died in prison of unknown causes. , The departure of the French and the de facto partition of Vietnam meant that the Hanoi government only controlled the north part of the country. As well as teaching in school, Giáp was busy producing and writing articles for Tiếng Dân (Voice of the People) founded by Huỳnh Thúc Kháng and many other revolutionary newspapers, while actively participating in various revolutionary movements. All the while, Giáp was a dedicated reader of military history and philosophy, revering Sun Tzu. Colonel Piroth, the artillery commander, blamed himself for the destruction of French artillery superiority. His works include Big Victory, Great Task; People's Army, People's War; Ðiện Biên Phủ; and We Will Win. On December 6, 1953, President Ho Chi Minh chaired a Politburo meeting approving the strategic plan to attack French colonialists during the Winter-Spring of 1954 and decided to launch the Dien Bien Phu Campaign (Photo: VNA) President Ho Chi Minh, General … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In an effort to put pressure on both North and South Vietnam during the negotiations, President Nixon ordered a series of air raids on Hanoi and Haiphong, codenamed Operation Linebacker II. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... With the defeat of the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the United States became concerned about communist gains in Vietnam. Giap was the author of People’s War, People’s Army (1961), a manual of guerrilla warfare based on his own experience.  Giáp, acting as de facto President in the absence of Ho Chi Minh, tried to maintain some kind of peace but by the time Ho returned in November, both sides were on a war footing. South Vietnam objected, but had little choice but to accept it. But this time it will. He stood out from the rest of the communist leadership. Defying standard military practice, he had his twenty-four 105mm howitzers placed on the forward slopes of the hills around Dien Bien Phu, in deep, mostly hand-dug emplacements protecting them from French aircraft and counter-battery fire. Communist leaders met in Hanoi in March for a series of meetings to plan for a massive offensive against the South. , For the next few years he and his comrades worked steadily to build up a small military force and to win local people over to the communist cause. Giap sanctioned the execution of many non-Communist nationalists, and he censored nationalist newspapers to conform with Communist Party directives. Over the next 56 days, Giap's troops captured one French position at a time until the defenders were compelled to surrender. 17 kilometres east of Dien Bien Phu are the remains of General Giap's Viet Minh headquarters from which led the successful battle against the French. Giap: The victory at Diên Bin Phû was a victory for the people. Vo Nguyen Giap, (born 1912, An Xa, Vietnam—died October 4, 2013, Hanoi), Vietnamese military and political leader whose perfection of guerrilla as well as conventional strategy and tactics led to the Viet Minh victory over the French (and to the end of French colonialism in Southeast Asia) and later to the North Vietnamese victory over South Vietnam and the United States. On 19 December, the Vietnamese government officially declared war on France and fighting erupted all over the country. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Around six thousand people were killed, and fourteen thousand wounded in the bombardment. Giáp's father and mother, Võ Quang Nghiêm and Nguyễn Thị Kiên, worked the land, rented some to neighbours, and lived a relatively comfortable lifestyle. PAVN would thus be able to maintain a foothold in South Vietnam from which to launch future offensives. Despite the treaty, there was no end in fighting. He formed a new government, with Giáp as Minister of the Interior. He would later earn the moniker "Red Napoleon" from some Western sources.. At the 10th Plenum of the Communist Party, 27–29 October 1956, Giáp stood in front of the assembled delegates and said: Cadres, in carrying out their antifeudal task, created contradictions in the tasks of land reform and the Revolution, in some areas treating them as if they were separate activities. Many thousands were executed. The following day the French government announced that it intended to withdraw from Vietnam. , On 9 September, the Nationalist Chinese forces crossed the border and quickly took control of the north, while on 12 September, the British Indian Army arrived in Saigon. Giáp has often been assumed to have been the planner of the Tết Offensive of 1968, but this appears not to have been the case. After the French surrender, Giáp moved back into Hanoi as the Vietnamese government re-established itself. Giáp's role in the 1975 victory is largely ignored by official Vietnamese accounts.. Through the first half of 1945, Giáp's military position strengthened as the political position of the French and Japanese weakened. Võ Nguyên Giáp was born on 25 August 1911 (or 1912 according to some sources) in Quảng Bình Province, French Indochina. In contrast, the Viet Minh issued clear, short orders aimed at wiping out the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu. In his memoirs “Dien Bien Phu, the Historic Rendez-vous” published later, General Giap shared that this decision was the toughest in all his commanding career. On the division of the country in July, Giap became deputy prime minister, minister of defense, and commander in chief of the armed forces of North Vietnam. Six … The Indochinese experience of the French and the Americans: nationalism and communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Growing stronger, Giáp's forces took more territory and captured more towns up until the announcement on 15 August by the Japanese Emperor of his country's unconditional surrender to the allies. President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap are the two leaders who led the Dien Bien Phu Campaign to a victory on May 7, 1954. recruits from France itself) was forbidden by French governments to prevent the war from becoming even more unpopular at home. 14,000 troops were inserted in March, and almost immediately surrounded by superior numbers of Vietnamese soldiers. General Giap, 71 years old, visited Dien Bien Phu this week to oversee arrangements for the 30th anniversary of the battle, judged by some historians as among the most decisive of the 20th century. He subsequently led the military forces of the north to eventual victory in the Vietnam War, compelling the Americans to leave the country in 1973 and bringing about the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. In the final analysis, Giap won the war despite losing many battles, and as long as the army survived to fight another day, the idea of Vietnam lived in the hearts of the people who would support it, and that is the essence of 'revolutionary war'. La signification de la victoire de Dien Bien Phu et des succès de la Campagne d'hiver-printemps 1953-1954 (pp141-183). Vietnam farmers fall to bauxite bulldozers. Dien Bien Phu. From. Between 1946 and 1952 many French troops had been killed, wounded, or captured.  By Giáp's own account the reason for his release was lack of evidence against him. French public opinion continued to move against the war: While growing stronger in Vietnam, the Việt Minh also expanded the war and lured the French to spread their force to remote areas such as Laos. The victory at Dien Bien Phu effectively ended the First Indochina War. He also served as a member of the Politburo of the Vietnam Workers' Party, which in 1976 became the Communist Party of Vietnam. Võ Nguyên Giáp (Vietnamese: [vɔ̌ˀ ŋʷīən zǎːp]; Chữ Hán: 武元甲; 25 August 1911 – 4 October 2013) was an army general in the Vietnam People's Army and a politician. They offered to help set up a national government and promised that they would eventually grant Vietnam its independence. , On 28 August 1945, Giáp led his men into Hanoi, and on 2 September, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In December 1953, French military commander General Henri Navarre set up a defensive complex at Ðiện Biên Phủ in the Mường Thanh Valley, disrupting Việt Minh supply lines passing through Laos. Since 1887 Vietnam has been part of France’s Indochina empire (which includes … So wie schon 1954 in der Schlacht von Dien Bien Phu sah General Vo Nguyen Giap wieder die Chance, einen symbolischen Erfolg mit besonders hoher politischer Strahlkraft zu erzielen. Up to then, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had allowed nationalist and other newspapers to publish, but when they began attacking and vilifying Giáp he cracked down on them and closed them all. Years earlier the same school had educated another boy, Nguyen Sinh Cung, also the son of an official. Giáp's father was both a minor official and a committed Vietnamese nationalist, having played a part in the Cần Vương movement in the 1880s.  In terms of his personal life, he was also able to move back in with his wife, from whom he had been separated for eight years during the war. Giáp took up the French challenge. Diem later went on to become President of South Vietnam (1955–63). Its leaders decided that Giáp should leave Vietnam and go into exile in China. The last U.S. combat troops left in March 1973. General Giap, whose victory at Dien Bien Phu forced France from Vietnam, later waged a long battle with the United States military that eventually sapped America’s political will to fight. By April the Vietminh had nearly five thousand members, and was able to attack Japanese posts with confidence. She too had learned nationalism from her father and had joined the revolutionary activities which Giáp was involved with. He told his fellow officers that he had been "completely dishonoured" and committed suicide with a hand grenade.  This school had been founded by a Catholic official named Ngo Dinh Kha, and his son, Ngô Đình Diệm also attended it. In 1930, as a supporter of student strikes, he was arrested by the French Sûreté and sentenced to three years in prison, but he was paroled after serving only a few months. In South Vietnam there were still several thousand guerillas, known as Viet Cong, fighting against the government in Saigon. Unable therefore to practice as a lawyer, he took a job as a history teacher at the Thăng Long School in Hanoi.. For details of Sun Tzu's influence on Giáp see: Forbes, Andrew & Henley, David (2012), Arthur J. Dommen. The cost of the war had so far been twice what they had received from the United States under the. There were grave errors. It is January 24, 1954, as you assume the role of General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of the military forces of the Viet Minh, the Vietnamese communist independence movement led by Ho Chi Minh that seeks to overthrow French colonial rule. Ho Chi Minh and the other leaders of the Viet Minh did not trust the word of the French and continued the war. The best evidence indicates that he disliked the plan, and when it became obvious that Lê Duẩn and Văn Tiến Dũng were going to conduct it anyway, he left Vietnam for medical treatment in Hungary, and did not return until after the offensive had begun. Wanting to protect him, Ho Chi Minh arranged for him to meet a graduate from a well-known family, Ba Hanh.