May 3rd, 2014
Episode 626 of 1417 episodes
After the humiliations of World War Two, France was insistent on reasserting itself as a world power. In their Vietnamese colony the nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh were just as determined to gain independence. The showdown to a seven-year guerrilla war came in 1954 at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Survivors, politicians and historians explain how the horrors of a 56-day siege ended with the French garrison being virtually wiped out. In Paris, desperate politicians even considered using American atomic weapons to try to save Dien Bien Phu. For the other European powers it marked the beginning of the end for their colonies in Africa and the Far East.