Author: Ted Morgan
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2010-02-23
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Ted Morgan has now written a rich and definitive account of the fateful battle that ended French rule in Indochina—and led inexorably to America’s Vietnam War. Dien Bien Phu was a remote valley on the border of Laos along a simple rural trade route. But it would also be where a great European power fell to an underestimated insurgent army and lost control of a crucial colony. Valley of Death is the untold story of the 1954 battle that, in six weeks, changed the course of history. A veteran of the French Army, Ted Morgan has made use of exclusive firsthand reports to create the most complete and dramatic telling of the conflict ever written. Here is the history of the Vietminh liberation movement’s rebellion against French occupation after World War II and its growth as an adversary, eventually backed by Communist China. Here too is the ill-fated French plan to build a base in Dien Bien Phu and draw the Vietminh into a debilitating defeat—which instead led to the Europeans being encircled in the surrounding hills, besieged by heavy artillery, overrun, and defeated. Making expert use of recently unearthed or released information, Morgan reveals the inner workings of the American effort to aid France, with Eisenhower secretly disdainful of the French effort and prophetically worried that “no military victory was possible in that type of theater.” Morgan paints indelible portraits of all the major players, from Henri Navarre, head of the French Union forces, a rigid professional unprepared for an enemy fortified by rice carried on bicycles, to his commander, General Christian de Castries, a privileged, miscast cavalry officer, and General Vo Nguyen Giap, a master of guerrilla warfare working out of a one-room hut on the side of a hill. Most devastatingly, Morgan sets the stage for the Vietnam quagmire that was to come. Superbly researched and powerfully written, Valley of Death is the crowning achievement of an author whose work has always been as compulsively readable as it is important. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Kevin Boylan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2018-07-26
Struggling to reassert control over their Indochinese colonies after World War II, the French established a huge air-land base in the valley of Dien Bien Phu. But when the opposing Vietnamese People's Army (VPA) began massing its forces against the base in late 1953, French commanders seized the opportunity to draw their elusive enemy into a decisive set-piece battle. Defending a series of fortified positions which were reliant upon a single airstrip – and later, risky and inaccurate airdrops – for reinforcement and resupply, the French troops quickly discovered that they had underestimated their enemy. In 56 days of costly close-quarters fighting, the VPA slowly dislodged the French from one strongpoint after another by developing novel tactics and accomplishing incredible feats of engineering. Drawing upon Vietnamese-language sources never previously employed in Western accounts of the siege, Valley of the Shadow is a dramatic re-telling of the climactic battle of the First Indochina War, the conflict that saw the French expelled from their former colony and set the stage for the “American War” in Vietnam.
Author: Martin Windrow
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Release Date: 2011-12-01
Stalingrad in the jungle: the battle that doomed the French Empire and led America into Vietnam In winter 1953-54 the French army in Vietnam challenged its elusive enemy, General Giap's Viet Minh, to pitched battle. Ten thousand French paras and l?gionnaires, with artillery and tanks, were flown to the remote valley of Dien Bien Phu to build a fortress upon which Giap could smash his inexperienced regiments. The siege which followed became a Stalingrad in the jungle, and its outcome shocked the world.
Author: Dorothy Fall
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Bernard Fall wrote the classics Street Without Joy and Hell in a Very Small Place, which detailed the French experience in Vietnam. One of the first (and the best-informed) Western observers to say that the United States could not win there either, he was killed in Vietnam in 1967 while accompanying a Marine platoon. Written by his widow Dorothy, Bernard Fall: Memories of a Soldier-Scholar tells the story of this courageous and influential Frenchman, who experienced many of the major events of the twentieth century. His mother perished at Auschwitz, his father was killed by the Gestapo, and he himself fought in the Resistance. It focuses, however, on Vietnam and on two love stories. The first details Fall's love for Vietnam and his efforts to save the country from destruction and the United States from disaster. The second shows a husband and father dedicated to a cause that continuously lured him away from those he loved. With a foreword by the late David Halberstam.
Author: Bernard B. Fall
Publisher: Stackpole Books
Release Date: 2000-01
Bernard B. Fall was 40 years old when he was killed by a booby trap in northern South Vietnam on February 21, 1967. By the time of his death he had already authored seven books on Vietnam, most notably Street Without Joy, an indictment of French intrusion into Indochina and a warning to American forces just beginning their involvement. Last Reflections on a War, first published shortly after Dr. Fall's death, is a tribute to his life's work: It contains the only known autobiographical account of his life, several previously unpublished articles, notes for "Street Without Joy Revisited", and transcripts of Dr. Fall's tape recordings, including his last recorded words.
Author: John Robert Nordell
Publisher: Texas A & M University Press
Release Date: 1995
The French Indo-China War of 1946-54 was one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts of the twentieth century. Dien Bien Phu became the site of the decisive battle of the French Indo-China War. Indeed, the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu set the stage for America's own military involvement in Viet-Nam a decade later. Yet despite its historic importance, there is still uncertainty about why the French chose to fight in a location that, in hindsight, involved such risks. In The Undetected Enemy, John Nordell examines that question by telling the full story of the strategic, tactical, logistical, and intelligence considerations that underlay the French decision. This book also gives close attention to the reaction of the Eisenhower administration to the French seizure of Dien Bien Phu, an important part of the story that, until now, has been overlooked. Using war memoirs, press coverage, and archived documents only recently declassified, the author weaves a compelling narrative of rapidly unfolding developments in Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi, Saigon, and Washington, D.C.
Author: Genevieve de Galard
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Release Date: 2013-05-31
As the only French woman among some 11,000 defenders at Dien Bien Phu, Geneviève de Galard had a unique perspective of the siege and fall of the French fortress. This memoir about her years as a flight nurse for the French air force offers previously unknown details about their defeat. De Galard was on the flights that evacuated casualties from the battle, often landing in the midst of Vietminh artillery barrages. After a French air force C-47 with de Galard on board was seriously damaged, she tended to the wounded and dying in a field hospital. Her efforts won her the Knight's Cross and the Croix de Guerre, and from the American press the name Angel of Dien Bien Phu. Following a tickertape parade in New York, President Eisenhower awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1954. Now, Americans can learn the full story.
Author: David J. A. Stone
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2004
Between November 1953 and May 1954, Dien Bien Phu was the scene of fierce struggles between Vietnamese fighters and the colonial French forces. This conflict led to the French withdrawal from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and the author here leads readers through the action.
Author: Martin Windrow
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2013-06-20
The states of Indochina had been French colonies or protectorates since the 19th century. However, in March 1945 the Japanese interned all French troops and officials, and turned over all civil government to local authorities. The power vacuum caused by the Japanese surrender allowed the Viet Minh, a strong revolutionary organisation, to be established throughout Vietnam. When the French returned to the north, incidents between French and VM troops were inevitable, negotiations collapsed and the French opted for a military solution. This book examines the history of the conflict and the forces of both sides.
Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones
Release Date: 2017-08-30
Genre: Political Science
When the world held its breath … It is 25 years since the end of the Cold War, now a generation old. It began over 75 years ago, in 1944—long before the last shots of the Second World War had echoed across the wastelands of Eastern Europe—with the brutal Greek Civil War. The battle lines are no longer drawn, but they linger on, unwittingly or not, in conflict zones such as Iraq, Somalia and Ukraine. In an era of mass-produced AK-47s and ICBMs, one such flashpoint was French Indochina … At the end of the Second World War France sought to reassert its military prestige, but instead suffered humiliating defeat at Dien Bien Phu in French colonial Indochina. The First Indochina war became a textbook example of how not to conduct counterinsurgency warfare against nationalist guerrillas. Anthony Tucker-Jones guides the reader through this decisive conflict with a concise text and contemporary photographs, providing critical insight into the conduct of the war by both sides and its wider ramifications. The Viet Minh, after resisting the Japanese in Indochina, sought independence for Vietnam from France. The French, with limited military resources, moved swiftly to reassert control in 1945, sparking a decade-long conflict. French defense of Hanoi rested on holding the Red River Delta, making it a key battleground. When the Viet Minh invaded neighboring Laos the French deployed to fight a set-piece battle at Dien Bien Phu, in 1954, but instead were trapped. All relief attempts failed and French defenses were slowly overwhelmed. America considered coming to the garrison’s rescue using nuclear weapons, but instead left it to its fate, which set the scene for the Algerian and the Vietnam conflicts.