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Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble» Forums » General

Subject: May 7th, 2014 - 60th Anniversary of the End at DBP rss

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Tim Gordon
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As I type this, the 60th anniversary of the final surrender at Dien Bien Phu is tomorrow. I think this entire campaign and this battle are often sadly overlooked, and strange that is the case, seeing what came after and the effect that then had on modern history.

So tomorrow I'll spare a moment of quiet thought and contemplation for all the protagonists caught up in this maelstrom as a small act of my own for their remembrance.
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Jim Ransom
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I will pull out and thumb through my copy of Hell in a Very Small Place.
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Mark
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Not only was DBP the first time a major power was defeated in a major battle by an insurgency, I think it was the last time. I think it was also the last major battle lost by any major power.
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Cracky McCracken
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jpr755 wrote:
I will pull out and thumb through my copy of Hell in a Very Small Place.


This just reminded me I have "the Last Valley" on reserve at the library.

The grueling nature of the siege and the terrible communist doctrine of endlessly funneling green troops down trenches right into the French gunsights make for a gripping warstory.

How different would the world be if the U.S. had nuked Giap's army out there in the jungle? Maybe heavy bombing to break the siege was the right answer.
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Kim Kanger
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If you wish to read the whole story then go to http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX/.1dd51d86/623. I have been writing each day what happened 60 years ago from the 13th of Mars.
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Mark
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Cracky wrote:
jpr755 wrote:
I will pull out and thumb through my copy of Hell in a Very Small Place.


This just reminded me I have "the Last Valley" on reserve at the library.

The grueling nature of the siege and the terrible communist doctrine of endlessly funneling green troops down trenches right into the French gunsights make for a gripping warstory.

How different would the world be if the U.S. had nuked Giap's army out there in the jungle? Maybe heavy bombing to break the siege was the right answer.


Woodrow points out in The Last Valley that the VM in and around the DNP valley were hidden by 100+ square miles of jungle. Bombing would have been complicated.
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joe mcgrath
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Cracky wrote:
jpr755 wrote:
I will pull out and thumb through my copy of Hell in a Very Small Place.

Maybe heavy bombing to break the siege was the right answer.

Just finished "The Last Valley". Irony of ironies, when the French appealed to the Americans for B-29 strikes the idea was nixed by congressional opposition lead by - wait for it - then Speaker of the House Lyndon B Johnson. Less than a decade later he would lead the US into its own disastrous war in Indochina, bringing about an early and ignominious end to his presidency.
 
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Mark
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To be fair, the Vietnam defeat had many fathers. It was the Eisenhower Administration that laid the groundwork for American involvement in Viet Nam. Kennedy got us more deeply involved. Johnson inherited a war he did not want, and set in motion the massive escalation. Nixon promised to get us out "with honor," and ironically lost the most US casualties in the process.

I admit it's risky history to rely on one source, but Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall is fascinating. It covers the beginning of the war, chronicles the French defeat, and tells how Eisenhower's State Department under Foster Dullas turned a Vietnam civil war into a crusade against "International Communism." My favorite example of how screwed up was the Western involvement in Viet Nam is immediately after WW2 ends, the French and British use the surrendered, but still armed, Japanese army to fight against the Viet Minh.
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