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Historical Dictionary

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BERGOT, ERWAN (1930–1993)

Well-known French veteran of the Indochina War, writer, and supporter of the French military cause in Indochina. In 1951, he volunteered to serve in Indochina, commanding the 1st Foreign Legion Airborne Heavy Mortar Company, until he was taken prisoner at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. No sooner had he regained his liberty than he transferred to Algeria in 1955. Wounded in combat there in 1961, he left the army to begin a career as a writer and journalist. In 1962, he became the first editor in chief of the French Army’s magazine and published the first of many war novels, including his autobiographical one, Deuxième classe à Dien Bien Phu. His novels focused on soldiers, camaraderie, and heroism. He received many literary prizes, including the Prix Claude Farrère and another from the Académie française. Bergot was also instrumental in bringing the plight of the Indochinese veterans to the attention of the French public in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In October 1986, in the French paper, Le Figaro, he published an article on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s (DRV) “death camps” and their heavy toll on the French prisoners. He was also a vocal partisan of the virulent attacks on the French crossover, Georges Boudarel, who worked in one of the DRV’s internment camps for prisoners taken during the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Bergot did much to publicize and politicize the affaire. See also  ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS ET AMIS DE L’INDOCHINE ET DU SOUVENIR INDOCHINOIS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS PRISONNIERS ET INTERNÉS D’INDOCHINE; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES COMBATTANTS DE DIEN BIEN PHU; EXPERIENCE OF WAR; INDOCTRINATION; MYTH OF WAR; RECTIFICATION.