Dien Bien Phu(redirected from Diên Biên Phu)
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Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien Phu
a district in northwestern Vietnam (capital, Muong Thanh) where the decisive battle of the Indochina War took place from March 13 to May 7, 1954, ending in victory for the Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA). The fortified French camp at Dien Bien Phu was the key to the junction of strategic communications linking the main areas of military operation in North Vietnam and leading to Laos. The camp, occupied by a 16,000-man French garrison under the command of General de Castries, consisted of 49 strongpoints organized into the northern, central, and southern defense sectors. The Vietnamese People’s Army, headed by Vo Nguyen Giap, encircled the French camp with well-developed lines of underground passages and trenches and for 65 days gradually tightened the ring of siege around the fortified area. First the northern sector was captured, and the airlift by which the besieged force had been supplied was eliminated. On May 7, 1954, the VPA took the central for-tress by storm and then took the southern sector. The French troops surrendered.
The victory at Dien Bien Phu threatened a total defeat of the French expeditionary force, and it forced the colonialists to agree to peace talks and to sign the 1954 Geneva Agreement.