Vo Nguyen Giap

(redirected from Võ Nguyên Giáp)
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Vo Nguyen Giap:

see Giap, Vo NguyenGiap, Vo Nguyen
, 1911–2013, Vietnamese military leader and government official whose strategies helped drive the forces of Japan, France, and the United States from Vietnam.
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Giap, Vo Nguyen

(vô nəwē`ĕn zhäp), 1911–2013, Vietnamese military leader and government official whose strategies helped drive the forces of Japan, France, and the United States from Vietnam. A nationalist teacher and journalist with no formal military training, he joined the Vietnamese Communist party in the 1930s, later joining (1940) Ho Chi MinhHo Chi Minh
, 1890–1969, Vietnamese nationalist leader, president of North Vietnam (1954–69), and one of the most influential political leaders of the 20th cent. His given name was Nguyen That Thanh. In 1911 he left Vietnam, working aboard a French liner.
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 in China. Giap subsequently returned to Vietnam and helped to organize the Viet MinhViet Minh
, officially Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh [League for the Independence of Vietnam], a coalition of Communist and nationalist groups that opposed the French and the Japanese during World War II.
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 forces, fighting to oust the Japanese in World War II and the French after the war and becoming commander of the Viet Minh and defense minister. A master of guerrilla warfare, he was credited with the defeat of the French at DienbienphuDienbienphu
or Dien Bien Phu
, former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov.
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 (1954), which essentially ended French colonial rule in Vietnam. After the political division of Vietnam (1954), he directed the strategy of the North in the Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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, notably the costly Tet offensiveTet offensive,
1968, a series of crucial battles in the Vietnam War. On Jan. 31, 1968, the first day of the celebration of the lunar new year, Vietnam's most important holiday, the Vietnamese Communists launched a major offensive throughout South Vietnam. It took weeks for U.S.
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 (1968), leading to a stalemate with the United States, the withdrawal of American troops, and ultimately to the reunification of Vietnam. Removed as commander in chief in 1973, Giap retained the position of minister of defense, overseeing the fall of Saigon (1975) and the defeat of the Khmer RougeKhmer Rouge
, name given to native Cambodian Communists. Khmer Rouge soldiers, aided by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops, began a large-scale insurgency against government forces in 1970, quickly gaining control over more than two thirds of the country.
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 in Cambodia (1979). Deputy prime minister from 1976, Giap was removed as defense minister in 1980 and dropped from the politburo in 1982; he remained deputy prime minister until 1991.

Bibliography

See his Military Art of People's War: Selected Writings, ed. by R. Stetler (1970) and How We Won the War (1976); R. J. O'Neill, General Giap (1969); P. G, Macdonald, Giap: The Victor in Vietnam (1993); C. B. Currey, Victory at Any Cost (1997).

Vo Nguyen Giap

 

Born Jan. 3, 1911, in the province of Quang Binh, North Vietnam. Political and military figure in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Giap was trained as a history teacher. From his youth he participated in the national liberation movement. Beginning in 1930, he was a member of the Vietnamese Workers’ Party (until 1951, the Communist Party of Indochina). He was one of the creators of the People’s Army of Vietnam in 1944. He had an active part in the August Revolution of 1945 in Vietnam, was a member of the National Committee for the Liberation of Vietnam, and was minister of internal affairs in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In 1946 he became minister of national defense, and in 1947 he became commander in chief of the People’s Army of Vietnam. From 1955 on he has simultaneously served as deputy premier. He has been a member of the Central Committee (since 1945) and of the Politburo (since 1951) of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Workers’ Party.