The following year (1954), the important Battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought between the Việt Minh (led by Vo Nguyen Giap and backed by China), and the United States-backed French Union (led by General Navarre, successor to General Raoul Salan). The siege of the French garrison lasted fifty-seven days, from 5:30PM March 13th to 5:30PM May 7th, 1954. The southern outpost or firebase of the camp, Isabelle, did not follow the cease-fire order and fought until the next day at 01:00AM; a few hours before the long-scheduled Geneva Meeting's Indochina conference involving the United States, the United Kingdom, the French Union and the Soviet Union.
The battle was significant beyond the valleys of Dien Bien Phu. Vo Nguyen Giap's victory ended major French involvement in Indochina and led to the accords which partitioned Vietnam into North and South. Eventually, these conditions inspired American involvement in the Vietnam War. The battle of Điện Biên Phủ is described by historians as "the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier in pitched battle."
The Western fear of a Communist extension in Southeast Asia, named the Domino Theory by Dwight D. Eisenhower during the Dien Bien Phu siege and the departure of the French from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, was a factor leading to the direct American intervention in South Vietnam.
· 1 decade ago