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Vo Nguyen Giap

By Jay Elwes  

The military commander who gave the Communist Viet Minh victory over France in 1954, over the US in 1975 and China in 1979, has died, aged 102. He was the figurehead of the army that defeated three permanent members of the UN security council—no other modern military figure can claim any similar standing.

It was the Battle of Dien Bien Phu that secured Giap’s status. His Viet Minh forces defeated the French in that remote north-western province of Vietnam, in which enemy forces had constructed a “base aéroterrestre”. The French, commanded by an aristocract called De Castries, intended to flush…

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