HÀ NỘI — In1953, eight years after reinvading Indochina, despite having mobilised huge economic và military resources, the French colonialists failed khổng lồ achieve their purpose of destroying the revolutionary government and resistance forces toreestablishtheir rulethroughout Indochina. On the contrary, they suffered heavy losses: 390,000 troops.

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Financial difficulties & protests in France were increasing, putting the French government ina new political crisis. Taking advantage of this situation, the US imperialists stepped up their intervention in Indochina, helpingFrance to extend và expand the war in order to lớn serve their global anti-revolutionary strategy.

In May 1953, the French government appointed General Navarre commander of the expeditionary army in Indochina in the hope of winning a decisive military victory and an end to the war. In July 1953, General Navarre proposed a new plan in Indochina (also called the Navarre Plan).

Both the French colonialists and the American imperialists saidthe Navarre Plan was "perfect" andwould bring victorywithin 18 months.

The Navarre Planwas a large-scale strategyaimed at wiping out the greater part of forces within eighteen monthsand occupying nước ta permanently to providea colony & military base forthe American và French imperialists.

The High Command of the French Expeditionary Corps concentrated its efforts onthe Hồng(Red) River Delta with 44 di động battalions, & launched a fierce mopping-up operation in its rear. At the same time, they armed local localsto sow confusion in the northwest. In early 1954, Navarre dropped paratroopers intoĐiện Biên Phủ.

On the Vietnamese side, at the over of September 1953, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the các buổi tiệc nhỏ met to discuss a strategic policy for military activities in the winter-spring period of 1953 – 1954. The plan was to attack areaswhere the enemy was weak, while at the same timepromotingguerrilla warfare.

The Vietnamese army & people cooperated closely with the militia và Laos và Cambodia lớn launch attacks on the Indochina battlefield, forcing France to disperse itsforces. The enemy"s main force was splitinto five smaller forces that struggled to support each other.

In coordination with the main troops, the Vietnamese forces protectedresistance bases, cut off traffic, and attacked and destroyed more of the enemy’s bases. Navarre wasbankrupt.

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On the northwest front, from November 1953, the French command in Indochina decided khổng lồ send troops to build Điện Biên Phủinto a strong military base. In General Navarre"s mind, Điện Biên Phủheld an important strategic position.

By early March 1954, enemy troops numbering more than 16,000 had gathered in Điện Biên Phủ, including themost elite military units in Indochina. They had 49 basesdivided into threezones. Both France and the United States regarded Điện Biên lấp as an "unbreakable fort".

On the Vietnameseside, the Central các buổi party Committee và the Supreme Command were determined lớn launch a campaign to attack Điện Biên che - a decisive strategy lớn successfully end the resistance war against the French colonialists. General VõNguyên gần kề was assigned lớn command the campaign.

Over 55,000 soldiers were sent into battle, & 260,000 labourers and 27,400 tons of rice were put on standby. Tens of thousands of young people volunteered khổng lồ work with the armyto mở cửa aroad lớn the battlefield despite enemy shelling.

In justa short time, thousands of kilometres of roads were built orrepaired.

On March 13, Vietnamesetroops launched theiroffensive on Điện Biên Phủ, which lasted for55 daysuntil the complete destruction of the entrenched camp on May 7, 1954. It was an historic victory.

A soldier waves a Vietnamese flag on vị trí cao nhất of General Christian de Castries"s bunker on May 7, 1954. VNA/VNS file Photo

Historical significance

The Điện Biên lấp Victory of 1954 crushed the French colonialists & the United States, forcing the French government to lớn sign the Geneva Agreement in July 1954, recognising independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the three Indochinese countries, ending ViệtNam’s long-lasting resistance war. At the same time, it ended the domination of French colonialism that lasted for centuries, và opened a new development step for the revolution of Việt Nam, Laos và Cambodia.

The 1954 Điện Biên đậy Victory smashed colonialism and opened a new era for the human race - the era of ending the rule of colonialism around the world.

French historian Jules Roy later said that “The Điện Biên đậy defeat was one of the greatest failures of the West, heralding the collapse of colonial empires.”

This victory also had a pervasive effect, encouraging other oppressed countries lớn fight against imperial regimes. At the same time, it contributedto lightening the truth of Marxism-Leninism today: A weak and small nation and a people"s army, once resolved lớn stand up, lớn unite together và to fight for independence and peace, will have the full power lớn defeat all aggressive forces."

The victory at Điện Biên che was the result of many factors: creative political guidelines & military policies; patriotism andVietnamese military strength; solidarity among the three peoples on the Indochinese peninsula;the important help of China, the Soviet Union and tư vấn from international friends, including the French people. But the most important factor was alove forthe homeland, the burning desire for independence, và freedom forallVietnamese people. VNS

*Colonel trằn Tiến Hoạt is the former Deputy Head of the Department of the History of the Resistance War against the US, Vietnam Military History Institute.