The echoes of Dien Bien Phu: A continuing legacy in modern nation-building

WVR-The spirit of Dien Bien Phu, the historic military triumph, continues to inspire contemporary efforts to build a prosperous future for the nation.
Chương trình nghệ thuật Điện Biên Phủ-Mốc vàng lịch sử: Sự kiện kết nối quá khứ-hiện tại-tương lai
On May 7, 1954, the flag of "Determined to Fight, Determined to Win'' of the Vietnam People's Army waved over General De Castries's bunker, marking the complete victory of the historic Dien Bien Phu campaign. (Archive photo)

The victory at Dien Bien Phu is a testament to the will and strength of the Vietnamese people.

The end point of a beginning

Internationally, the Dien Bien Phu victory is considered a major event in modern world history. It is no coincidence that politicians, generals, historians, and foreign journalists highly regard this milestone. On the 30th anniversary of the victory, The New York Times on May 7, 1984, featured an article by American journalist Dreen Meddenton, who wrote: “This is one of the 16 battles that marked a turning point in 20th-century modern warfare, influencing the course of war history.”

Before the battle of Dien Bien Phu, no colonized nation had ever defeated a major imperial power in 500 years of colonial history. Jules Roy, a French journalist and historian, remarked in his book 'The Battle of Dien Bien Phu from a French Perspective': “Globally, even Waterloo was less resonant. The fall of Dien Bien Phu caused tremendous shock, representing a significant Western defeat, signaling the dissolution of colonies and the end of a republic. The thunder of Dien Bien Phu still echoes.”

The Dien Bien Phu victory was not only crucial in concluding the successful resistance against French colonialism—a long and arduous fight—but it also marked the beginning of the collapse of the old colonial system. The Vietnamese people's Dien Bien Phu proved that oppressed, invaded nations with a strong will, correct and innovative strategies, and unity in their fight for independence will inevitably triumph.

The 'Thunder of Dien Bien Phu' heralds an approaching storm. In the nearly two decades following Dien Bien Phu, numerous colonies and dependent territories in Asia, Africa, and Latin America achieved independence in various forms and degrees. The victorious struggle of the Algerian people in 1960 exemplifies this trend.

Dien Bien Phu marks the beginning of a strong national liberation movement of the oppressed nations fighting for their independence and freedom. This desire represents a universal value of humanity. "Vietnam - Dien Bien Phu" has become a rallying cry and a symbol of hope for many nations' victories.

For the first time, a colonized, feudal country with a small territory, sparse population, underdeveloped economy, and limited military potential defeated a powerful Western military force with far superior economic and military capabilities.

Vietnam set an example and lesson: A small, weak nation can defeat a powerful one when human factors become the decisive element, surpassing economic potential and military strength. The Dien Bien Phu victory is a strong declaration to the world of the right to national independence, self-determination, and fair treatment in international relations among developing countries, a message that remains relevant today.

Cùng với sự hình thành của cách mạng công nghiệp 4.0 và sự hội nhập kinh tế thế giới, những thành quả nhất định của 40 năm đổi mới kinh tế đã định vị Việt Nam với những vị thế nổi trội trong bối cảnh mới. (Ảnh: Nguyễn Hồng)

The practical and innovative spirit of the Dien Bien Phu campaign is still emphasized as a valuable lesson today. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)

The spirit of Dien Bien Phu shines

The event has made Dien Bien Phu a symbol of Vietnamese strength. The national independence aspiration of all Vietnamese is the source of this great victory. After 70 years, we still need to recall that aspiration, that will, to continue promoting the spirit of Dien Bien Phu in today's practice.

Firstly, the spirit of Dien Bien Phu is the spirit of patriotism and indomitability, the spirit of striving for and maintaining independence and freedom, the spirit of determination to fight and win, and the spirit of creativity and perseverance. The most significant strength behind the Dien Bien Phu victory was the unity of the entire nation, from the front lines to the home front, which was mobilized for the decisive battle to ensure victory.

In today's context, the fundamental strength for building and protecting the homeland is still the internal power of national unity. Today, that spirit and will must be further promoted for even greater success.

The spirit of Dien Bien Phu is reflected in the strategic decisions of the General Command that respect reality. When circumstances change, maintaining strategic attack determination while timely and decisively changing battle tactics to find the most appropriate way to achieve total victory is essential.

The practical and creative spirit in the Dien Bien Phu campaign is emphasized as a profound lesson in leadership and command. It remains highly relevant as we continue to promote the Dien Bien Phu spirit, fostering patriotism, independence, self-reliance, self-strength, and refusing to accept poverty and backwardness. In the new context, the goals of maintaining national independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty, deep integration, and building a wealthy, strong, democratic, fair, and civilized society remain constants that must be steadfastly maintained.

However, when reality changes, it is necessary to timely adjust, supplement, and implement new policies and measures as appropriate. With the spirit of Dien Bien Phu of the past, we must not be subjective, conservative, doctrinaire, or stop at old perceptions and viewpoints. We must always be creative to achieve victory.

Overseas Vietnamese return home to commemorate Hung King - legendary nation founders
Art programme to tell stories to celebrate 70th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Victory
Public screening of documentaries to mark 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory
From Dien Bien Phu to Geneva: The Winner’s pose
Dien Bien Phu Victory from international perspectives: Foreign scholars