The passing of this Vietnamese communist revolutionary should be noted. Giap was a scion of a family of the landholding class in Tonkin. He grew up in comfortable circumstances and was educated in public institutions created by the French colonial administration of Indochina. He was a student at Hanoi University from 1933 to 1938. He became a provincial schoolteacher on graduation. There is a great irony in this since many of the French paratroop officers he waged war against had been provincial school teachers and reservists before World War Two.
Giap displayed a taste for revolutionary politics from an early age. He took an active role in organizing Vietnamese guerrillas against Japanese occupying forces during WW2.
The French decision to re-occupy Indochina at war's end put Giap and other Vietnamese revolutionaries on the path to creation of a socialist state with the help of the communist countries of Europe and Asia and with the sympathy of leftists across the world. Communist China began to provide large amounts of materiel aid as well as training at all levels after 1948.
Giap was not a field commander on the model of many who could be named. He was a military theorist and organizer of victory. He was more like Fox Connor or George Marshall than he was like Patton, Guderian or Rommel.
His writings are significant in the context of the literary patrimony of the military art. "People's War, People's Army," is, in my opinion, the best theoretical work on insurgency that emerged in the post WW2 era. It is much better than the writings of Guevara or Mao.
A North Vietnamese Colonel supposedly told Harry Summers that although the US won all the battles in the VN war, the communists won the war. In that context it can be fairly said that Giap won both the French War and the US War. He won both wars because his forces and strategy exhausted political support for these wars among the populace of his adversaries. pl