Dien Bien Phu

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Dien Bien Phu The battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 marked the end of French colonisation in Vietnam, forming a legacy in colonial history. The role of the battle in decolonisation of Indochina is evident through an examination of the tactics of both sides, the poor choices made by the French and the strategies used by the Vietminh. The impact is demonstrated through the discussion of Geneva and subsequent world colonisation. As stated by historian Martin Windrow it was "the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organised and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier in pitched battle" . Prior to discussing the role and impact of Dien Bien Phu, background information is necessary in displaying the context. After the departure of the Japanese in 1945, Ho Chi Minh used the short period of freedom to declare Vietnam an independent country, (Source A). Thus when the French came back to Vietnam to reclaim power, the Vietnamese believed their nation was now independent, hence free from obliging with the French repression. Therefore negotiations occurred with the French. On March 6 1946 the Franco/Vietminh accords were signed, recognising that Vietnam, to the limit of Tonkin, was a member of the Indochinese Federation. Negotiations concerning Cochinchina and Annam continued throughout April yet agreements were not reached. Between August and October such agreements between the French and Ho Chi Minh broke down. It was then that resistance began, marking the beginning of the First Indochina War. Throughout the next nine years the French and the Vietminh, also known as the Peoples Army, fought many battles using significantly different tactics with defeats on both sides. These tactics are important to examine, as their differences are what allowed the
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