Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). According to Frisby, "Giap understood that protracted warfare would cost many lives but that did not always translate into winning or losing the war. When it became clear that France was becoming involved in a long drawn-out and so far not very successful war, the French government tried to negotiate an agreement with the Viet Minh. He also founded the French-language paper Le Travail (on which Phạm Văn Đồng also worked). The son of an ardent anticolonialist scholar, Giap as a youth began to work for Vietnamese autonomy. Giap sanctioned the execution of many non-Communist nationalists, and he censored nationalist newspapers to conform with Communist Party directives. In the little spare time he had, he said in interviews that he enjoyed occasionally playing the piano, as well as reading Goethe, Shakespeare and Tolstoy.[55]. When Navarre realized that he was trapped, he appealed for help. This and similar small groups in the mountains were the basis of the Viet Minh, the armed wing of the Vietnam Independence League. Despite the treaty, there was no end in fighting. The war had lasted for seven years and there was still no sign of a clear French victory. He attended the same high school as Ho Chi Minh, the communist leader, and while still a student in 1926 he joined the Tan Viet Cach Menh Dang, the Revolutionary Party of Young Vietnam. Giáp led the Vietnamese delegation at the Dalat conference in April 1946, which yielded nothing,[37] and, returning to Hanoi, he was made Minister of Defense. [54] Together they raised two boys and two girls. On 13 March 1954, Giap launched his offensive. In 1954, the Viet Minh army, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, moved against Dien Bien Phu and in March encircled it with 40,000 Communist troops and heavy artillery. Diem later went on to become President of South Vietnam (1955–63). France was attempting to build up her economy after the devastation of the Second World War. Wanting to protect him, Ho Chi Minh arranged for him to meet a graduate from a well-known family, Ba Hanh. 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. A visit to the bunker from which famed Vietnamese general, Vo Nguyen Giap, led Viet Minh troops against French colonial forces in the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu… 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. We won a military victory over the French and we’ll win it over the Americans too. [29], 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. Giap … Omissions? Giáp remained commander in chief of the People's Army of Vietnam throughout the war against South Vietnam and its allies, the United States, Australia, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines. In October 1972, the negotiators came close to agreeing to a formula to end the conflict. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, refused to intervene unless the British and other Western allies agreed. Ho Chi Minh and the other leaders of the Viet Minh did not trust the word of the French and continued the war. Years earlier the same school had educated another boy, Nguyen Sinh Cung, also the son of an official. 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'. From 1933 to 1938, Giáp studied at the Indochinese University in Hanoi[11][17] where he earned a bachelor's degree in law with a major in political economy. South Vietnam objected, but had little choice but to accept it. Vietnam farmers fall to bauxite bulldozers. [34] 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. Now such a disregard for human life may make a formidable adversary, but it does not make a military genius. After France’s humiliating defeat and occupation by Germany in the summer of 1940, the French had no options but … With Ho in France, Giáp was effectively in charge of the government in Hanoi. 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. He remained on the Central Committee and Deputy Prime Minister until he retired in 1991. [28] It was in the summer of 1943 that Giáp was told that his wife had been beaten to death by guards in the central prison in Hanoi. After the French surrender, Giáp moved back into Hanoi as the Vietnamese government re-established itself. He further stated that "by his own admission, by early 1969, I think, he had lost, what, a half million soldiers? [52][53] 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. 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. Between May and August 1945, the United States, keen to support anti-Japanese forces in mainland Asia, actively supplied and trained Giáp and the Viet Minh. 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. The Viet Minh attackers suffered no casualties. From 1976, when the two Vietnams were reunited, to 1980 Giap served as Vietnam’s minister of national defense; he also became a deputy prime minister in 1976. We saw enemies everywhere and resorted to widespread violence and terror. She too had learned nationalism from her father and had joined the revolutionary activities which Giáp was involved with. [33], 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. [24] In China, Giáp joined up with Hồ Chí Minh, then an adviser to the People's Liberation Army. He also served as a member of the Politburo of the Vietnam Workers' Party, which in 1976 became the Communist Party of Vietnam. 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. The unpretentious communist general Vo Nguyen Giap masterminded the defeat of French and American forces and became known as one of the 20th century's military geniuses. They offered to help set up a national government and promised that they would eventually grant Vietnam its independence. 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. She was working as a professor of history and social science at this time. South Vietnamese attempts to regain communist controlled territory inspired their opponents to change strategy. He also deployed Viet Minh forces against non-communist nationalist troops in the suburbs of Hanoi, and had their leaders arrested, imprisoned, or killed. Battle of Dien Bien Phu. 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. To begin propaganda work among the population, a news-sheet called Việt Nam Độc Lập was produced. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. [35], 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. Hardly, the Viet Minh won just as anyone who fought the French has, they let the French fuck-up. [66] Giáp claimed that the attack on 4 August 1964, had been imaginary. 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. He formed a new government, with Giáp as Minister of the Interior. “But without Gen. Giap’s decision, most of us wouldn’t have been able to fight in the resistance war against the US years later,” said General Le … The French surrendered on 7 May. His precocious intelligence meant that he was soon transferred to the district school and in 1924, at the age of thirteen, he left home to attend the Quốc Học (also known in English as the "National Academy"), a French-run lycée in Huế. They were also aware of the difficulties of mounting an attack in that area. In December, 1953, General Navarre setup a defensive complex at Dien Bien Phu, which would block the … In contrast, the Viet Minh issued clear, short orders aimed at wiping out the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu. General Vo Nguyen Giap (2nd, R) and other commanding officers discuss Dien Bien Phu plans in 1954. The last U.S. combat troops left in March 1973. The operation ended on 27 January 1973, after 12 days with heavy casualties and destruction. Võ Nguyên Giáp has been called one of the greatest military strategists of the 20th century. [70], On 4 October 2013, the Communist Party of Vietnam and government official announced that Võ Nguyên Giáp had died, aged 102, at 18:09 hours, local time, at Central Military Hospital 108 in Hanoi, where he had been living since 24 September 2009. All the while, Giáp was a dedicated reader of military history and philosophy, revering Sun Tzu. They married in August 1946, and went on to have four children. Six … [1] 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. From. Their casualties totaled over 2,200 killed, 5,600 wounded, and 11,721 taken prisoner. In the ensuing peace accords, the country was partitioned, and Ho Chi Minh became the leader of communist North Vietnam. Vo Nguyen Giap, who drove both the French and the Americans out of Vietnam, died on October 4th, aged 102. Giap then became a professor of history at the Lycée Thanh Long in Hanoi, where he converted many of his fellow teachers and students to his political views. [14] He returned to Hue and continued his political activities. 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. 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. [54] During the late 1950s Giáp served as Minister of Defence, Commander in Chief of the People's Army of Vietnam, Deputy Prime Minister, and deputy chairman of the Defence Council. In a rare interview with … 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. After the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the French authorities outlawed the Indochinese Communist Party. During the late 1950s the top priority of the re-established Vietnamese government was the rapid establishment of a socialist economic order and Communist Party rule. [7], Võ Nguyên Giáp served as Military Minister and Chief of Staff, and is often credited with North Vietnam's military victory over South Vietnam and the US during the Vietnam War. General Vo Nguyen Giap observed a drilling of naval troops in 1964. 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. Dien Bien Phu was a serious defeat for the French and was the decisive battle of the Indochina war. When Vichy security patrols approached, they would conceal themselves in a cave under a waterfall, or, at times, in the lands of the Man Trang people. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declined, claiming that he wanted to wait for the outcome of the peace negotiations taking place in Geneva, before becoming involved in escalating the war. On 19 December, the Vietnamese government officially declared war on France and fighting erupted all over the country. Obituary Oct 12th … After studying at the Lycée Albert-Sarraut in Hanoi, he received a law degree from Hanoi University in the late 1930s. In his own words, “we strictl… He oversaw the expansion of the PAVN from a small self-defense force into a large conventional army, equipped by its communist allies with considerable amounts of relatively sophisticated weaponry, although this did not usually match the weaponry of the Americans. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. La signification de la victoire de Dien Bien Phu et des succès de la Campagne d'hiver-printemps 1953-1954 (pp141-183). [43] After this time, detailed information on Giáp's personal life becomes much scarcer and in most sources the emphasis is on his military achievements and, later, on his political roles. This conduct caused serious concern in the upper ranks of the Party as it was contrary to the very strict and abstemious moral code by which all members were expected to abide. 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. [1] He first rose to prominence during World War II, where he served as the military leader of the Viet Minh resistance against the Japanese occupation of Vietnam and also as Defence Minister & Deputy Prime Minister for nearly 44 years. On 3 May 1940 he said farewell to his wife, left Hanoi and crossed the border into China. In 1941 Giap formed an alliance with Chu Van Tan, guerrilla leader of the Tho, a minority tribal group of northeastern Vietnam. McNamara asks Giap: What happened in Tonkin Gulf? He surmised that in an attempt to reestablish the route, Giáp would be forced to organize a mass attack on Ðiện Biên Phủ, thus fighting a conventional battle, in which Navarre could expect to have the advantage. 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. After Dien Bien Phu, General Giap came to symbolize Vietnamese military prowess to the West. Ho Chi Minh directed him to establish Armed Propaganda Brigades and the first one, consisting of thirty one men and three women, was formed in December 1944. 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. Ho Chi Minh and Võ Nguyên Giáp pursued lengthy negotiations with the French, seeking to avoid an all-out war to cement their independence. The proposal was that the remaining U.S. troops would withdraw from South Vietnam in exchange for a cease-fire and the return of American prisoners held by Hà Nội. General Vo Nguyen Giap and the sealed order on the Dien Bien Phu general offensive campaign. General Navarre, the French commander in Vietnam, realised that time was running out and that he needed to obtain a quick victory over the Vietminh. Giap at Dien Bien Phu, 1954: You Take Command. 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. This involved collectivisation of agriculture and central management of all economic production. Giáp ordered his men to dig a trench system that encircled the French. [57], 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. 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. 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. The battle of Dien Bien Phu opposed in 1954 the French army and the Vietnamese communist forces of Viêt-minh in the deep plain of Diên Biên Phu, located in the north-west of Vietnam, near the border with Laos. 299. Giáp indicated that a 1980s study led experts to advise against mining due to severe ecological damage and national security. His works include Big Victory, Great Task; People's Army, People's War; Ðiện Biên Phủ; and We Will Win. He was arrested in 1930 for taking part in student protests and served 13 months of a two-year sentence at Lao Bảo Prison. PAVN would thus be able to maintain a foothold in South Vietnam from which to launch future offensives. Giap was the author of People’s War, People’s Army (1961), a manual of guerrilla warfare based on his own experience. Soon after the fall of Saigon, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was established.