Vietnam’s struggle for national independence in the 20th century was associated with General Vo Nguyen Giap, Commander-in-chief of the Vietnam People’s Army. General Giap made many key decisions which changed the balance on the battlefield, leading to the resounding Dien Bien Phu victory.
General Giap commanded 8 major campaigns during the war of resistance against French colonialists, the most important of which was the Dien Bien Phu campaign. His strategy shift from “quick fight, quick victory” to “steady fight and advance” was decisive in the Dien Bien Phu victory. Historian Phan Huy Le says:
“General Giap’s strategy shift was a wise decision. He foresaw the risks of quick fight and decided to shift to a steady fight. His decision was supported by the front’s Party Committee and its Chinese advisors.”
In addition to this strategy shift, General Giap used guerrilla warfare and a people’s war strategy in the Dien Bien Phu campaign and turned barefoot soldiers into an elite Vietnam People’s Army. Editor-in-chief of the French National Defense Journal Jean Dufourcq says: “We all know about General Giap and his role in the historic Dien Bien Phu campaign. He had military talent and a far-reaching vision, particularly in logistics. General Giap established resistance zones from the Vietnam-China border through the northern region. In other words, he established leverage outside the border and a military-logistical belt to pressure and defeat the French troops on all northern fronts. General Giap’s strong national will made him an historic personality and a compatriot that we French people admire.”
General Giap had not had any formal military training but his talent and strong national will were enough to create the Dien Bien Phu victory, which brought independence to Vietnam and accelerated the collapse of colonialism around the world.