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A milestone in the history of Vietnam

After the success of the August Revolution, our people were thought to live in peace, freedom and happiness. However, the French Colonialists once again invaded our country. In response to President Ho Chi Minh’s Appeal for National Resistance (December 19th 1946), the entire Party, military and people went to a durable resistance war against the French Colonialists. Following the guidelines on all-people, comprehensive, long-lasting, self-reliant resistance war, with obsolete weapons and the spirit of “sacrificing for the Homeland”, our military and people defeated the French Colonialists’ military strategies one by one. The Viet Bac Campaign in autumn-winter, 1947 dealt a death blow to the enemy’s strategy for quick fight and rapid victory. The 1950 Border Campaign created a basic transformation in our resistance war as we took the initiative on the battlefield and continuously conducted attacks and counter-attacks against the enemy. Our troops were increasingly powerful while the enemy fell into passivity. The liberated areas were enlarged, and the people’s democratic governments were consolidated.

Against that backdrop, in autumn and winter of 1953, the French and the U.S. developed the Navarre Plan in which they increased reinforcements and budgets for the war and plotted to annihilate the majority of Vietnam’s active forces and control its territory and even Southern Indochina. That was the ultimate effort by the French Colonialists to retake the initiative of military decisiveness on the battlefield as the basis for a political solution in their favour. To achieve that objective and deal with their strategic passivity, the French Colonialists parachuted their troops into Dien Bien Phu and built it into their strongest defensive group of fortresses in Indochina, a key point of the Navarre Plan, and an unbreakable stronghold.

Against that backdrop, on December 6th 1953, the Politburo had a meeting on assessing the situation and decided to launch the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. At that meeting, it passed the operational project and established the Campaign Command and the Campaign Party Committee led by General Vo Nguyen Giap. Under the Politburo’s decision, all preparations for the Campaign were made quickly under the spirit of “all for the frontline, all for victory”. Active military units were quickly gathered, day and night crushed mountains and leveled forests to manoeuvre artillery, build the battlefield and combat the enemy; conscripted labourers and youth volunteers flocked to Dien Bien to provide logistics support for the Campaign. It was patriotism that built up our military and people’s spirit of determination to fight and determination to win and gave a great mental impetus to them so that they could overcome enormous difficulties and hardships, particularly when we transformed the operational motto from “quick fight, rapid victory” into “steady fight, steady advancement”. After 56 days and nights of fierce fight and losses, sharply at 5.30 PM, May 7th 1954, our Army’s “determination to fight, determination to win” flag flew on the roof of the enemy command’s bunker; French General De Castries and his entire troops in Dien Bien Phu were forced to surrender.

We could draw many valuable lessons on the reasons for our victory from this significant historic event. However, the determinant to this victory is the sound leadership of our Party and President Ho Chi Minh as well as our sound guidelines on making the people’s armed forces capable of playing the core role in the people’s warfare, closely combining the guerilla warfare with regular warfare, military attacks and enemy agitprop with mass uprisings, and military struggle with political, cultural, diplomatic struggle. Under our Party and Uncle Ho’s appeal, our people from rural, mountainous areas to urban areas, at all ages, promoted patriotism and revolutionary heroism to the utmost, built solid rears, achieved feats of arms, and contributed human, material and mental resources to our cadres and soldiers on the frontline. Our Army made remarkable progress in political ideology, force, organization, operational capacity, military equipment and logistics support, strictly observed the command on the battlefield, and overcame difficulties and challenges to bravely, creatively achieve a lot of feats of arms. At the same time, there were reinforcements and support from the socialist countries and the movement for peace by the progressive people around the world, including those in France. Notably, it was a sense of solidarity and loyalty between the countries on the Indochina Peninsula that created the strength of the times in the Victory of Dien Bien Phu.

Needless to say the Victory of Dien Bien Phu is a miracle of Vietnamese revolution in the era of Ho Chi Minh and a significant milestone in the country’s history of national construction and protection. In our resistance war against the French Colonialists, it was the greatest victory which dealt a death blow to the enemy, marked a turning point in the complexion of the war, and directly led to the signing of the Geneva Accords on ending the war and restoring peace in Indochina. The Victory of Dien Bien Phu also greatly contributed to the human kind’s movement for peace and progress and represented a common victory of all countries on the Indochina Peninsula and the international Communist and working class movement for the sake of national liberation, peace and social progress. That victory marked the collapse of the old-style colonialism on a global scale and signaled the failure of the new-style colonialism’s counter-revolutionary global strategy. It proved that if a nation under oppression had strong will and sound guidelines and knew how to unite in fighting for national independence, that nation would certainly gain victory.

Following the Victory of Dien Bien Phu, our nation achieved landslide victories in the 1972 battle of Dien Bien Phu in the Air and the 1975 Ho Chi Minh Campaign which completely liberated the South and reunified the country, leading the country to the construction of socialism. Our previous generations brought into play revolutionary heroism to the utmost and bravely, creatively defeated all invaders, and gloriously accomplished the cause of national liberation. Today’s generations will be resolved to promote the spirit of battle of Dien Bien Phu, daring to think, daring to do, being active and creative in the cause of national renewal, construction and protection. We will continue to build and consolidate the all-people national defence and the defence-security posture, increase the defence potential, state management of national defence, and quality and effectiveness of providing defence-security education and building solid provincial, municipal defensive zones as well as closely combine defence and security with economy and diplomacy. At the same time, importance will be attached to building economic-defence zones in the border, isolated, remote areas, creating the defence-security posture for the Homeland protection, boosting socio-economic development, improving the people’s life, facilitating hunger alleviation and poverty reduction, and building a strong “posture of people’s hearts and minds” in the strategic areas. Besides, the People’s Army and the People’s Public Security will seriously adjust their organizational structure, making themselves compact, strong, and capable of the task of Homeland defence in the new situation. Significance will be attached to continuing to enhance the synergy and making the People’s Army and the People’s Public Security revolutionary, regular, seasoned, gradually modern, politically strong, absolutely loyal to the Party, Homeland, and people as well as capable of all missions in the new situation.

National Defence Journal

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Promoting the role of the Military in protecting the Party, State, people and socialist regime
For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.