#1 Ao Dai: The modernized Vietnamese clothing.
#2 Ao Tu Than: A traditional North Vietnamese 4 piece clothing and a flat hat.
#3 Ao Ba ba: A common traditional South Vietnamese clothing with women wearing pants, and a conical hat.
On this day in 1954, the
decisive battle of the First Indochina War at Dien Bien Phu ended with a
resounding victory for the Viet Minh. The war was fought between the
colonial French powers and a group of Vietnamese soldiers led by
communist Ho Chi Minh. The Vietnamese forces had been battling the
colonial French since the aftermath of World War Two, with each side
being funded by the opposing camps of the Cold War - the Vietnamese from
China, and France from the United States. In the Battle of Dien Bien
Phu, the communists were led by General Vo Nguyen Giap, who encircled
the French stronghold with 40,000 men and heavy artillery. After a
fifty-seven day siege, the French defense crumbled and the Viet Minh
were victorious. The decisive battle essentially ended the war, which
led to the Geneva Conference to negotiate peace. The Conference, which
was attended by most of the major world powers, resulted in the division
of Vietnam along the 17th Parallel. It was this division which kept
tensions alive between the communist North and US-backed South, which
ended in war between the two and heavy US involvement to support the
South. In 1975, after the US had mostly retreated, the Southern capital
of Saigon fell to the communists and the nation was once again united.
“The Viets are everywhere. The situation is very grave. The combat is confused and goes on all about. I feel the end is approaching, but we will fight to the finish” - Christian de Castries, French commander at Dien Bien Phu, in the last hours of the siege
As effective as an anti-personnel mine : Légionnaires-paratroopers from 2e BEP (Bataillon Etranger de Parachutistes) presenting a rudimentary trap regularly used by the viêt-minh. A board with a few steel nails hidden in rivers and paddy fields. The nails were specifically designed to avoid easy removal.