Friday, October 04, 2013

Vo Nguyen Giap, 1911-2013

The greatest commanding general of my lifetime has died at age 102.  Vo Nguyen Giap was the military architect of Vietnam's independence from France and victor in what is known in Vietnam as The American War.



Blogger BadTux said...

I don't know if he was the greatest general of the past century in terms of tactical ability. When his troops went straight up against US troops they usually lost. What is clear, however, is that he was likely the greatest military leader of the past century. He took on two Western powers and won, then bloodied the nose of *another* superpower (China) when they decided to invade Vietnam, where he stopped the Chinese using nothing but village militias because the regular army was tied up in Cambodia.

Like Dwight D. Eisenhower his biggest talent was being able to manage the egos and the politicians and logistics of winning wars, not his battlefield leadership skills. So yes, he deserves to be known as the general who won against not one, not two, but *three* superpowers. Which qualifies him, despite his limitations as a tactician, as the greatest general of the past hundred years I suppose. At least, I can't think of any other general who managed to win against *three* superpowers...

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oddly enough I developed my admiration for General Giap during my time as a rear area soldier in the Vietnamese War.

The woman who set up the Army libraries in Vietnam agreed to do it on condition that there was no censorship.

I learned more about the Vietnamese leaders and their programs reading in an American Army library in-country than I learned in two years of protesting against the war.

I went to a "liberal" university in a "liberal" city and I had no access to the literature about the Vietnamese efforts and policies.

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Kate Stewart said...

Anonymous, I'm writing a biography of the librarian I think you're referring to, Ruth Rappaport. If you happen to read this, please contact me at

7:02 AM  

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