Sunday, May 06, 2007

1954: French defeated at Dien Bien Phu

On this day, Dien Bien Phu, a major French stronghold in northwest Vietnam, falls to the Vietnamese Communists after 57 days of siege. In 1949, Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh launched a guerrilla war against the French, who were struggling to retain their colonial interest in the country. In 1953, the French, weary of jungle warfare, occupied Dien Bien Phu, hoping to draw the Viet Minh out into the open. The Viet Minh attacked the fortified French position, and by March of 1954, roughly 50,000 communist troops had encircled Dien Bien Phu. On May 7, the French positions collapsed. Although the defeat brought an end to French colonial efforts in Indochina, the United States soon stepped up to fill the vacuum, increasing military aid to South Vietnam and sending the first U.S. military advisers to the country in 1959.
Scottish football team Glasgow Rangers win their 9th successive Scottish League title - to equal the record held by their closest rivals,Glasgow Celtic.
American newspaper The Washington Post wins the Pulitzer Prize for the work of its reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in exposing the Watergate scandal during the Presidency of Richard M.Nixon.
The city of Dien Bien Phu falls to the Communist Vietnamese.
World War II: The German High Command agrees to an unconditional surrender bringing an end to the war in Europe.
The qualifying age for women voters in Britain is lowered from 30 to 21.
World War I: the Cunard liner Lusitania is torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland with the loss of almost 1,200 lives.
American George Eastman patents the Kodak box camera with a name he feels will be easy to remember.
Greece becomes an independent kingdom.
HMS Victory, the ship which becomes the flagship of British Admiral Horatio Nelson, is launched at Chatham. The ship is now preserved at Portsmouth, England.
Opening of the first Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London.


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