14 March 2022
Desperate French soldiers dug-in at Dien Bien Phu, April 1954
The Road to Dien Bien Phu: Ho Chi Minh and the First Indochina War
with Christopher Goscha
On 7 May 1954, Ho Chi Minh's army defeated the French army in set-piece battle in a Vietnamese valley called Dien Bien Phu. No other national liberation movement in the 20th century ever reproduced such a battlefield victory. There was no Dien Bien Phu during the Algerian War or in Cuba. Nor did the Taliban or ISIS come close to doing what the Vietnamese did in 1954. Why?
In this presentation, Christopher Goscha explores the forces which led the Vietnamese lined up behind Ho Chi Minh to this epic showdown, one which spelled the end of France's Indochinese empire. The focus will be on the Indochina war pitting Ho, his state, and army against the French and theirs; but professor Goscha will also follow Ho Chi Minh as he emerged from colonial Indochina determined to put a new Vietnam on the map in 1945: the Vietnam that against all odds defeated the American Superpower thirty years later.
Christopher Goscha, professor of International Relations at the Université du Québec, Montreal. His book The Road to Dien Bien Phu will appear in March of this year.
Hô Chi Minh in 1954
The year of the battle of Dien Bien Phu
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