Following the end of world war ii france attempted to reassert control over its colonies in indochina in vietnam this was resisted by the viet minh leading to the first indochina war by 1954 the french army was on the defensive and determined to force the viet minh into a decisive set piece battle at dien bien phu. Spring 1954 in a final attempt to reassert control over their indochinese colonies the french draw the viet minh into what they hope will be a decisive set piece battle at dien bien phu in 56 days of close quarters fighting the vietnamese slowly dislodge the french from one strongpoint after another. Struggling to reassert control over their indochinese colonies after world war ii the french established a huge air land base in the valley of dien bien phu but when the opposing vietnamese peoples army vpa began massing its forces against th. Drawing upon vietnamese language sources never previously employed in western accounts of the siege valley of the shadow is a dramatic re telling of the climactic battle of the first indochina war the conflict that saw the french expelled from their former colony and set the stage for the american war in vietnam
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