Viet Cong Recruitment

Why and How Men Join

by J. C. Donnell

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An analysis of the motives and recruitment techniques that induce men to join the Viet Cong. The 261 interviews with Viet Cong prisoners and defectors on which this study is based reflect the conditions of 1961-1964, when the Viet Cong could still be relatively selective and patient in recruiting members. This earlier period is illustrative of the Viet Cong's preferred practice — persuasion rather than threat or force — and of the success of its doctrine in winning adherents. The interviews reflect a diversity of highly refined techniques of persuasion and subtle coercion that present the GVN with the complex task of counter-propaganda and political action — a task that can best be met by a politically cohesive GVN leadership capable of defending the countryside and satisfying the aspirations of the South Vietnamese peasant.

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