Historical Dictionary



Born in Hanoi to a science teacher, he became involved in nationalist politics during the 1920s. He joined the Vietnamese Nationalist Party (Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, VNQDD) in the late 1920s and fled to China following the French crackdown on this party in early 1930. Vuong Thua Vu learned Chinese fast before entering a Chinese nationalist military academy in Yunnan, from which he graduated as an officer sometime in the late 1930s. He returned to Vietnam in the early 1940s and was arrested by the French in late 1941. It was during his time in prison in Thai Nguyen that he defected to the Indochinese Communist Party in 1943. Following his liberation in March 1945, he put his military talents in the service of what became the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He joined the army in August 1945. In 1946, he was in charge of training and commanding the troops protecting Hanoi. He did this as the head of Zone XI (Hanoi). He answered directly to Vo Nguyen Giap during the stormy days leading up to the outbreak of full-scale war on 19 December 1946 and commanded the battle for Hanoi from 19 December 1946 to 17 February 1947. Between 1947 and 1948, he was deputy commander of Inter-Zone IV (Lien Khu IV) in upper central Vietnam before taking over as head of the Binh Tri Thien zone. Between 1949 and 1954, he led the 308th Division and served simultaneously as its political commissar between 1949 and 1951. He was named major general in 1950. He led the 308th into the battle of Dien Bien Phu.