General Vo Nguyen Giap has died, aged 102

Võ Nguyên Giáp (25 August 1911 - 4 October 2013)[

Võ Nguyên Giáp (25 August 1911 – 4 October 2013)[

North Vietnam’s legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap has died, aged 102. We must honour soldiers, even if they are the enemy.

He was the mastermind behind the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu and he created the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Vo Nguyen Giap, the brilliant and ruthless self-taught general who drove the French out of Vietnam to free it from colonial rule and later forced the Americans to abandon their grueling effort to save the country from communism, has died. At age 102, he was the last of Vietnam’s old-guard revolutionaries.

Giap died Friday evening in a military hospital in the capital of Hanoi where he had spent close to four years growing weaker and suffering from long illnesses, a government official and a person close to Giap said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because his death had not been formally announced.

The was no word of the death in state-controlled media late Friday, but the news had spread widely in Facebook and other social media.  

Giap was a national hero whose legacy was second only to that of his mentor, founding President Ho Chi Minh, who led the country to independence.

The so-called “red Napoleon” stood out as the leader of a ragtag army of guerrillas who wore sandals made of car tires and lugged their artillery piece by piece over mountains to encircle and crush the French army at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The unlikely victory, which is still studied at military schools, led not only to Vietnam’s independence but hastened the collapse of colonialism across Indochina and beyond.

Giap went on to defeat the U.S.-backed South Vietnam government in April 1975, reuniting a country that had been split into communist and noncommunist states.

His most lethal engagement was the Tet Offensive in 1968, where he purposely sent the Viet Cong into battle first in order to clean them out, to save having to deal with them later.

The horrendous losses inflicted on Viet Cong units struck into the heart of the irreplaceable infrastructure that had been built up for over a decade. MACV estimated that 181,149 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops had been killed during 1968.


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