The French were defeated by the Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954. The Viet Minh's first attack on the French during this battle occurred in March of 1954. The French were ultimately not successful against the 40,000 troops despite receiving immense air support.
On Sept. 2, 1945, the Communist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed that the Republic of Vietnam was independent from France. However, Ho Chi Minh accepted hesitantly a proposal from the French in 1946 that permitted Vietnam to operate as an autonomous state within the French Union. Vietnam consolidated as a communist government after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.