French TV airs documentary on historic battle at Dien Bien Phu

May 8, 2007



A documentary film on the battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 that essentially put an end to 100 years of French colonialism in Vietnam aired on a French TV station Friday night.

France Channel 3 – the second largest French public television network showed the 65-minute-long film “Dien Bien Phu” made by director Patrick Jeudy in 2004, marking the 53rd anniversary of Vietnam’s Dien Bien Phu victory of May 7.

The film introduced a top secret report about the involvement of French military forces in Dien Bien Phu – the battle occurred between March and May 1954, and culminated in a massive French defeat that effectively ended the war.

As a result of blunders in the French decision-making process, the French undertook the creation of an air-supplied base at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the northern hills of Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Vietnamese force (Viet Minh) supply lines into the neighboring French colony of Laos, at the same time drawing the Viet Minh into a battle that would be their doom.

Instead, the Viet Minh, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, surrounded and besieged the French, who were ignorant of the Viet Minh’s possession of heavy artillery (including anti-aircraft guns) and their ability to move such weapons to mountain crests overlooking the French encampment.

The film also incorporated unforgettable memories of the French veterans about the battle, in which the French military ambitiously targeted building the most robust group of fortresses throughout the Indochina region.

It ended with the image of the surrender of the French force headed by General De Castries after only 56 days of the Dien Bien Phu Battle.

On Vietnam’s victory at Dien Bien Phu, Wikipedia website said it marked the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier.

Source: VOV – Compiled by Luu Thi Hong

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