Vo Nguyen Giap

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Giap, Vo Nguyen

Giap, Vo Nguyen (vô nəwēˈĕn 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 Minh in China. Giap subsequently returned to Vietnam and helped to organize the Viet Minh 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 Dienbienphu (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 War, notably the costly Tet offensive (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 Rouge 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.


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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Once the Viet Minh forces, under the leadership of the legendary general Vo Nguyen Giap, had dealt a death blow to the French colonial forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Eisenhower administration in Washington effectively decided to take on the white man's burden.
Le clou des relations d'amitie et de solidarite algero-vietnamiennes etait d'une part la lutte pour l'independance nationale des Vietnamiens representee aussi par les noms Ho Chi Minh et Vo Nguyen Giap connus de tous que par ceux de localite Vietnam et Dien Bien Phu et, d'autre part la similitude de la situation des deux pays.
The military mastermind behind Vietnam's victories against the French and the Americans, General Vo Nguyen Giap, labelled China's 1979 invasion as "dirty" and "cowardly" and a betrayal of socialist internationalism.
It was to the credit of Marshall easily among the greatest military minds since Clausewitz and Vo Nguyen Giap that he listened very carefully to the arguments made, summarizing it as a call for the US military to leave Iraq altogether, although US tactics changed not a whit thereafter.
On the other side was General Vo Nguyen Giap. He had fought against the Japanese Army which surrendered in 1945.
Vo Nguyen Giap rather than from some feeble cub politicians.
The man was General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese military genius who had led his country to victory, first against France's attempt to reimpose colonial rule in the aftermath of the Second World War, then against the unparalleled might of the United States when it subsequently sought to permanently divide Vietnam and install a client state in Saigon.
(There were eyewitnesses and photographs; a Vietnamese 12.7 mm machine-gun round lodged in Maddox's superstructure; and in 1984 General Vo Nguyen Giap told former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara the attack was deliberate.) The lesson for all of us is that, in professional ethics, theories are interesting but facts matter, usually decisively.
Viet Minh sources are limited to contemporary documents captured by the French, prisoner of war interrogations, and the writings of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. Maps, tables, figures, and photographs abound to support the text.
On March 13, 1954 General Vo Nguyen Giap launched his counter-attack, seizing position after position and pushing the French until they occupied only a small area of Dien Bien Phu.
Boot also covers insurgent invaders, like Mongols and Turks, who occupied Europe and the Middle East, the home-grown irregulars who supported the American Revolution, the Spanish guerrillas who fought Napoleon's best, as well as the methods of South Africa's Boers, the IRA, Mao Zedong, and Vo Nguyen Giap.
They were not aware that in April 1973, Le Duan and General Vo Nguyen Giap had formed a secret committee to plan the conquest of South Vietnam within a two-year period.