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Article published the Friday 04 October 2013 - Latest update : Friday 04 October 2013

Vietnam war leader General Giap dies, aged 102

General Vo Nguyen Giap in 2008
General Vo Nguyen Giap in 2008
Ricardo Stuckert/Wikimedia Commons

By RFI

General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese independence military leader who beat the French at the historic battle of Dien Bien Phu, has died at the age of 102. A communist from an early age, Giap led Vietnamese forces in both the war against French colonialisation and the US-backed South Vietnamese governments.

Giap died in a Hanoi hospital at 6.30pm local time, a government official announced on Friday.

A close collaborator of Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh, Giap was the last leader of the Vietnamese revolutionary generation.

Tributes to the "people's hero" poured in on social networks even before the official announcement of his death.

Giap is considered one of the most important military strategists in history, even though he was self-taught, and played an important role in battles at Lạng Sơn (1950); Hòa Bình (1951–1952); Điện Biên Phủ (1954); the Tết Offensive (1968); the Easter Offensive (1972); and the final Hồ Chí Minh Campaign (1975).

Despite his standing, Giap clashed with the number two of the communist government, Le Duan, and was eased out of positions of power, finally leaving the central committee in 1991.

Vo Nguyen Giap, a life in dates:

1911: Born to farmers, Võ Quang Nghiêm and Nguyen Thi Kien;
1925: Starts work at Haiphong Power Company and joins Tân Việt Cách Mạng Đảng revolutionary youth group;
1927: Enters Quốc Học, a French-run lycée in the former imperial city of Hue;
1929: Expelled for organising students' strike;
1930: Jailed for 13 months;
1931: Joins Communist Party;
1933: Enrols at University of Hanoi, earning degree in politics, economics and law, goes on to work as teacher and journalist;
1939: Marries Nguyễn Thị Quang Thái with whom he has daughter, Hong Anh, flles to China when French ban Communist Party;
1944: Returns to Vietnam, organises resistance to Japanese occupation;
1945: Ho Chi Minh announces formation of of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, French return to claim control of country;
1946-1954: Principal commander of Vietnamese independence forces in First Indochina War against French occupation, winning the decisive battle of Dien Bien Phu;
1960-1975: Principal commander of Viet Minh and Vietnamese People's Army in Vietnam War;
1969: Peace talks between US, US-backed South Vietnam government, North Vietnam government and National Liberation Front start in Paris;
1973: Paris Peace Accord agreed after US bombing campaign;
1974: Last US troops leave Vietnam;
1975: Fall of Saigon, Socialist Republic of Vietnam established;
1976: Vietnam Workers' Party becomes Communist Party of Vietnam, Giap becomes deputy prime minister;
1980: Removed as defence minister and from politburo;
1992: Quits politburo and deputy PM's post;
2010: Criticises bauxite mining in central highlands;
2013: Dies in Hanoi hospital.

tags: Colonialism - Communism - France - France and the world - History - Ho Chi Minh - Obituary - United States - Vietnam - War
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