Skip to comments.Vo Nguyen Giap, Military Genius Who Drove U.S. Out of Vietnam, Dies at 102
Posted on 10/04/2013 8:07:40 PM PDT by 11th_VA
Vo Nguyen Giap, the wily general who drove both the French and American forces from his homeland of Vietnam, has died in Hanoi. He was 102.
According to The Associated Press, Giap died in a military hospital in Hanoi where he had been for the past four years.
Giap, second only in reverence in Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh, is widely credited with developing the guerilla warfare tactics that are currently used by modern-day terrorists. His defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu after two months of siege in 1954 effectively ended that country's colonial rule and set the stage for the costly involvement of the U.S. in the Southeast Asian nation. The military victory is still studied in war colleges.
Giap oversaw the Tet Offensive in 1968, which began the long, painful withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam, a process that was not completed until the mid-1970s.
Born into a peasant family, in later life Giap lived the role of a philosopher king and was routinely visited by military and political leaders from around the world, including Fidel Castro in 2003.
Giap began his military career at 14, enrolling with a clandestine resistance movement, then joined Ho's Communist Party and fled to China with him ahead of Japan's invasion of Vietnam in 1938.
He later served as defense minister and deputy prime minister following the end of the Vietnam War.
Giap developed a ragtag army of guerillas who lacked the most basic of essentials but who were superbly trained and outsmarted the richer and better-fed soldiers first of France and then the U.S.. Guile, surprise and stealth carried the day against countries that poured guns, aircraft and warships into the region.
Ironically, Giap has been quoted as saying the bombardment of Hanoi by President Lyndon Johnson in 1972 was working and that if Johnson had only continued with it longer, it would have resulted in an American victory. But the campaign was hugely unpopular at home, sparking massive demonstrations and pitting generation against generation. In the end, the war led to Johnson choosing not to seek a second term.
According to the AP, historian Stanley Karnow interviewed Giap in Hanoi in 1990, quoting him as saying: "We were not strong enough to drive out a half million American troops, but that wasn't our aim. Our intention was to break the will of the American government to continue the war."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to Twitter to recognize the general's death and recount a personal experience with his former enemy.
"Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap has passed away," wrote McCain, a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese POW camp. "Brilliant military strategist who once told me that we were an 'honorable enemy.'"
I thought it was Walter Cronkite that drove us out of Nam?
This Gov’t is NOT going to turn me into a slave, and burden me and my kids by stealing the fruit of my labor. I will resist to the end ...
Walter Cronkite, Jane Fonda and John Kerry.
President Johnson in 1972? I'm guessing that Giap said Nixon but the journalist wrote down Johnson out of spite.
Don’t forget the ultimate military genius - Robert McNamara.
We left in accordance with a peace treaty. After we left, Giap et al. violated it.
Cronkite was routinely seen yachting with that draft dodger from Arkansas but never with Ford or Bush.Hey,at least he was honest toward the end of his life,declaring himself to be a radical Marxist.
And look at what the Wiley gemeral’s strategy won: a country still in the stone ages (or at least the 1940’s).
He might have been a genius but he sure was wrong about McCain.
It says he ran the US out of Viet Nam. I didn’t know he was a member of the democrat party.
He didn’t deserve Sarah Palin as a running mate.
Absolutely...you are correct
But he showed the world we can be beat by attrition.. we won on the ground, but the politicians and far to many Americans sold us out. He knew the American character after 1955 far better than most here. Hate to say it but he has had the last laugh...
It wasn’t just Cronkite - a lot of the 4th estate was in the 5th column.
He’s darn well done and dead, but I still stand!
Thank you. Defunding and rules of engagement. Nothing is new under the sun.
Actually they were ready to surrender until we announced a pull-out date.
Those who fail to learn the lessons of history...
Oh, that’s right; no one was told about that little bit of history; thanks minitrue!
Pisspoor reporting by US NEWS. THe old USN&WR wouldn’t have allowed this crap to pass for journalism, esp. if diplomatic correspondent Howard Handelsman had anything to say.
While the Viet Minh were somewhat “ragtag” as compared to the French forces, by the time that NoVietnames regulars (PAVN) got into the fray, they had the best weapons, very good leaders, excellent training, an endless supply system from Moscow and Peking (and the rest of the Communist Bloc), great propaganda operations around the world including the US (Hayden, Fonda, Dellinger, Weiss, Kerry, Wolin, etc), and lots of other advantages that we never had.
Believe me, I was in the middle of it and saw how the reds ran circles around the US media (with a few honorable exceptions - Bill Kling, Ed Montgomery, Larry Cott, etc), had tremendous influence in Congress (reds there included Abzug, Conyers, Miller, Kastenmeier, crazy Don Fraser, red Burton Brothers, Don Edwards, Ted Weiss, Sen. Alan Cranston - a WW2 red sympathizer if not actual Soviet asset, etc), and how they duped the clergy into becoming active supporters of Hanoi (Armstrong, Moore, Hayes, Gumbleton, etc).
We maintained superiority on the battlefield and never lost a major battle but the communists were willing to sacrifice millions of their young people for the conquest of Indochina and did (I met a few of them who were POWs in Cambodia, average age about 18 and totally lost as to where they were fighting and with whom).
The best subtitle for the death of Giap would be:
“Evil fought Good and Evil won!”
I hat to be the harbinger of bad news but NIXON was President since 1969.
In no way would I personally ever want to follow a leader who could be so easily beaten on the battlefield. I credit his tenacity but only marginally as he was incompetent as a strategist but was able to stay alive until the weak elements of the U.S. government and society capitulated.
Found this. Your comments, please.
The United States official declaration of war with Vietnam in 1964 came after an alleged incident involving two US destroyers being attacked by the North Vietnamese PT boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. This was known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. This single situation was the catalystic pretext for massive troop deployment and full-fleshed warfare. One problem, however. The attack on the US destroyers by Vietnamese PT boats never happened. It was a completely staged event to have an excuse to enter the war. Former Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara stated years later that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a mistake, while many other insiders and officers have come forward relaying that it was a contrived farce and complete lie.
Once in the war, it was business as usual. In October 1966 President Lyndon Johnson lifted trade restrictions on the Soviet block knowing full well that the Soviets were providing upwards of 80% of North Vietnam war supplies. Consequently, the Rockefeller interests financed factories in Soviet Union which the Soviets used to manufacture military equipment and send it to North Vietnam.
However, the funding of both sides in this conflict was only one side of the coin. In 1985 Vietnams Rules of Engagement were declassified. This detailed what American troops were and were not allowed to do in the war. It included absurdities like:
* North Vietnamese anti-aircraft missile systems could not be bombed until they were known to be operational
* No enemy could be pursued once they crossed the border of Laos or Cambodia. And most revealing of all..
* The most critical strategic targets were not allowed to be attacked unless initiated via high military officials.
Apart from these imposed ludicrous limitations North Vietnam was informed of these restrictions and therefore could based entire strategies around the limitations of the American forces. This is why the war went on so long. And the bottom line is this: the Vietnam War was never meant to be won. Just sustained. This war for profit resulted in 58.000 American deaths and 3 million dead Vietnamese. So, where are we now?
Amen brother. And history is repeating it’s self today.
In his book Peace Is Not At Hand (New York: McKay, 1974, Robert Thompson describes how Giap botched the 1972 spring offensive. Among other things, he wasted almost all of his tanks, which could have been very effective had he used them more wisely.
Giap only prevailed in 1975 because his opponent, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam ran out of ammunition thanks to Congress cutting off aid.
Not only “piss poor reporting”, but downright intentional fawning and groveling [still] at the feet of their Marxist masters. These writers and their ilk are still “useful idiots and (not so) innocent dupes”.
Sound familiar? As usual, the Dems think they can do whatever they want whenever they want and the Repubs better not try the same tactics, or the Dems will go whining to their propaganda arm.
Walter Cronkite and his buddies in the American media declared him a genius through no fault of his own.
I'm glad to old murderous Commie is dead and I hope he is burning in hell.
He’s dead, he’s in hell. God is not and never will be mocked. God is the final judge, not the MSM.
Read “Trial By Fire: The 1972 Easter Offensive, America’s Last Vietnam Battle” by Dale Andrade (Hippocrene Books, New York 1995) for the final nail in the coffin of Vo Nguyen Giap’s supposed “military genius”.
I was in RVN in 1972 flying choppers & we saw lots of burned out Soviet T-54/T-55s and that worthless tin can the PT-76. BTR-50 carriers blown to bits too. Amazing what an `arclight’ by B-52s can do.
Giap’s rep is way overblown. He squandered everything the generous Soviets could provide. So another Stalinist fossil assumes room temperature. Hope Fonda is next.
We should have nuked Hanoi
If I had been President ,we would have .
To #32: Don’t forget that while Operation Lam Son was not a really sustainable success in Laos, it did give US airpower a chance to decimate PAVN regiments and battalions into chop suey.
Set Giap back another year, and this was heaped upon the successful US/ARVN incursion into Cambodia in the Spring of 1970. I was there (and in SVN) in November and saw the positive results. No. Vietnamese tank forces were decimated by ARVN Gen. Cao Tri, a first for the ARVN and a predecessor to the tank sushi that the ARVN made of PAVN tanks at An Loc two years later.
Today’s liberal media doesn’t know shit about Vietnam and can’t find Laos or Cambodia on a map. (Fox had great guys in Iraq, and even some of the British were good and pro-American (as my son informed me from the battlefield).
"He drove the American forces out of Viet Nam.. hey what about us?" exclaimed the American press. "He said that we were his most valuable guerrillas."
How do you ask a gook to be the first one of three million to die for a mistake?
“But he showed the world we can be beat by attrition.. we won on the ground”
Where did we win on the ground? What North Vietnamese territory did we occupy?
War is a matter of territory. The decision not to invade the north was the decision to lose.
Unlike after Korea, Jiap simply corrected Kim Il Sung’s mistake of not continuing the war again after an interval.
And don’t forget Ho Chi Minh!
I have a 5th of a fine single malt to filter through my kidneys to fertilize her final resting place.
“We should have nuked Hanoi”
Unnecessary. We should have occupied Hanoi. War would have ended in 1966 latest.
Chinese intervention? Make my day. Chinese nuke? Just try one. Russia? Want to die for Vietnam?
The American Doctrine should have been the aggressor will be destroyed.
“Giap lived the role of a philosopher king and was routinely visited by military and political leaders from around the world, including Fidel Castro in 2003.”
If I had been President, Castro would not have lived to see 1993. Where’s your friend?
This sob never won a battle against US forces.
He ordered the brutal murders of tens of thousands of old men, women and children.
2,284,000 human beings died so that Giap and Ho could prove a point.
That a savage like him is celebrated by the left is all one needs to know about our enemy, the left.
If you repeat that lie long enough it becomes a myth.
It is one thing to bring up the tactics and strategy of the Vietnam war, but to say that we didn't lose battles and skirmishes here and there is untruthful and destroys the learning process of sacrifice.
Untrue, or at least incomplete.
War is a matter of human perception. The war continues till one side gives up.
Taking and holding the other side's territory is one highly effective (usually) way to accomplish that.
But history is filled with examples of armies that took lots of territory and lost the war.
IMO all the claims on this thread that Giap wasn’t a military genius bear a strong odor of sour grapes.
He was enough of a genius to beat the French and then us, despite considerable military inferiority in conventional terms throughout his career.
That he never beat the US in a battle is as comprehensively irrelevant as anything I can imagine. All it does is illustrate the fact that he brilliantly used strategic factors to eventually overcome our enormous tactical advantages.
It is possible to recognize the genius of an opponent while simultaneously recognizing that the cause for which he fought was evil. Rommel being an example.
You’d rather be defeated by an incompetent fighting for an evil cause?
It went downhill after that.. Even Barney Fife could hit something with his gun if he had enough ammo... The russkys sent train load after train load to Vietnam... They paid for it in blood.. Giap's life was never in danger.. what did he care about a few drones..
Thank you for that correction. The guys who wrote this don’t exactly impress with their knowledge.
The TET offensive, for example, did not initiate a drawdown of US troops. This had been planned to start well before TET.
Similarly, we weren’t “driven out of Vietnam”f. We successfully negotiated a peace treaty which we abided by and which was intended to ensure the survival of the south Vietnamese government. A Democratic congress, furious that Nixon delivered in 4 years what Democratic Presidents hadn’t been able to deliver in 9 years, refused to honor the support commitments made to get the south to agree to the treaty. By doing this, they effectively guaranteed a north vietnamese violation of the treaty, thus rendering pointless the deaths of 58,000 US personnel.
Agree. Giap was trapped in a time warp. Khe Sanh in 1968 was not DienBienPhu in 1954. Using the same tactic simply got a whole lot of his soldiers killed.