Viet Cong Motivation and Morale in 1964
A Preliminary Report
Based on interviews with 145 Viet Cong POWs, defectors and suspects, carried out by a Rand team of Americans and Vietnamese between July and December 1964. Whereas older interviewees went into the Viet Minh mainly for nationalist reasons, the younger generation has joined the VC for a mix of motives including protest against social injustice at the village level, lack of educational and career opportunity on the GVN side, and antipathy to being drafted by ARVN. The three-man cells into which the squads are divided are a politicized "buddy system", providing indoctrination and a continuous psychological prophylaxis against anxiety. Most interviewees believed the war would last a long time and would end not in a VC victory, but in a gradual exhaustion of the enemy. The flow of defectors could be increased by improved GVN treatment of its POWs. The VC tells its men that surrender to the GVN will bring torture or execution, and actual GVN practices all to often lend credibility to this allegation.