Van Tien Dung

The protege of General Vo Nguyen Giap, Van Tien Dung led the final assault on South Vietnam in 1975. He was born on May 1, 1917, in Ha Deng Province, Tonkin, of peasant ancestry. Dung joined the revolutionary movement in the mid-1930s, fought against the French before and during World War II, as well as against the Japanese occupation forces of Indochina after 1940. Vo Nguyen Giap took notice of the peasant soldier and moved him up through the army ranks, appointing him chief of staff in 1953 and giving him logistical command of the attack against French forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Dung was second in command to Giap throughout the 1960s, and early in the 1970s became the youngest member of the politburo in North Vietnam. Giap named Dung commanding officer of the campaign against South Vietnam in 1975. Dung's book Our Great Spring Victory depicts the assault on and end of the South Vietnam government. Dung replaced Giap as minister of national defense in February 1980.