Historical Dictionary



From 1955, a number of veterans of the battle of Dien Bien Phu decided to gather in different parts of France to commemorate every May the traumatic experience they had survived together. Between 1960 and 1967, several such meetings took place each May among veterans, mainly in Pau and sometimes with the participation of Marcel Bigeard or Pierre Langlais. In 1968, the year the French government amnestied officers who had turned against the French Republic in Algeria (Raoul Salan for example), it was decided that future commemorations would be open to civilians and that a large meeting would be held in 1969 at the École des troupes aéroportées de Pau. The association was formalized at this time and was registered as the Amicale des Anciens de Dien Bien Phu. On 7 May 1969, the first official meeting of the association took place, complete with a minute of silence, the playing of the Marseillaise, and the posing of a wreath of flowers in memory of those who had fallen at Dien Bien Phu or during the Indochina War. In 1979, as the Third Indochina War began, 400 French veterans took part in the 25th anniversary of the battle and the Pau chapter of the association launched the organization of a national congress every five years. In 1993, in order to expand the organization, the name was changed to the Association nationale des combatants de Dien Bien Phu. See also ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS D’INDOCHINE ET DU SOUVENIR INDOCHINOIS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS PRISONNIERS ET INTERNÉS D’INDOCHINE; ASSOCIATION OF MOTHERS OF SOLDIERS; EXPERIENCE OF WAR; MYTH OF WAR.