Big Brother of Vietnam wars reaches 100

CREDITED with defeating first the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 then the Americans two decades later, legendary Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap celebrates his 100th birthday today.

Alongside president Ho Chi Minh, he plotted campaigns from jungles and caves to gain victory for Vietnam.

At an exhibition in Hanoi this week marking his birthday, black-and-white photographs show Gen Giap visiting troops during the siege of Dien Bien Phu, a surprise attack that forced French forces to surrender.

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Gen Giap has been in hospital for the past two years but continues to sign cards – including a thank-you note to his “comrades” – and is still briefed every few days, said Colonel Nguyen Huyen.

“He has helped to defeat two major powers,” he added. “He is the big brother of the heroic Vietnamese People’s Army.”