The Indochina war started in 1945 in total ignorance. Initially conducted in a clandestine way, it carried on ambiguously and was perpetuated as much because of inertia as out of honor. In France, there was no real desire to win, and in Indochina, no real means to do so. "The dirty war," as some used to call it, ended in 1954 at Diên Biên Phû. What was Diên Biên Phû all about? A battle that France lost (I have no masochistic taste for really juicy defeats). But it also represents something else. Diên Biên Phû is a moment in the history of the France of the high seas, the end of an era, a page forever turned. For us, it is a last farewell, one from France to Indochina? Up there, in a faraway valley, everything was lost, except honor.
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