The Battle for Dien Bien Phu
An examination of the battle and its significance to American politics and military tactics
The author of this paper discusses the significance of the battle at Dien Bien Phu as the place where the first Vietnamese revolutionaries found their power and became a force to be reckoned with and argues that had the United States learned from this battle and adopted the successful tactics in this terrain and situation, it might have had a better chance of winning its own conflict in Vietnam.
“The end of World War II brought vast political changes throughout Asia. In previously colonial areas, nationalists used the opportunity present in the Japanese surrender and the temporary weakness of European powers to demand self-determination. The August Revolution brought the Vietminh to power in Vietnam, and the clash between French and Vietminh was inevitable, as neither side was willing to concede sovereignty to the other. A few months after the close of World War II, France sought to re-establish its discredited and unpopular colonial rule in Indochina. Encouraged by words of support from President Truman, the French committed almost a million military men to their effort.”