The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Dien Bien Phu - hubris worse than Bush?
I've tried once or twice to get into the battle, but without much success.
To this very lay man, General Navarre's plan - relying for the success of such a heavily resourced and high prestige operation on air drops - seems like the definition of hubris.
One has, in understanding how the plan was ever implemented, to take into account the parlous state of French state institutions under the Fourth Republic - with which I was once more familiar than I am now!
On February 11 2003, I looked at how Eisenhower was saved from himself: he wanted to commit US air forces to supporting the French defenders, but a combination of Congressional leaders' caution and the niet of Winston Churchill's Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden nixed the idea .
It's the 50th anniversary of the fall of Dien Bien Phu on Friday - and General Giap (who, with Robert McNamara, is, I think, the only surviving principal of the Indo-China wars) has been putting himself about: an NPR audio, AP interview. French radio are making a day of it on Friday 
From the most cursory of searches, I get the sense that there is not that much online about the battle: in addition to links in the February 11 piece mentioned earlier, a 1991 paper An Analysis Of The French Defeat At Dien Bien Phu; a 1997 paper New Perspectives on Dien Bien Phu.
There have been 50th anniversaries of Indo-China War events since 1995, and precious little coverage, that I've been aware of. Now, the anniversary train moves onto Algeria, where the war starts up in November 1954. Rich pickings, history-wise.
As ever, Mr Google produces OT URLs that look promising enough not to let go unrecorded (most or all are PDF):
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