Conversations with Enemy Soldiers in Late 1968/Early 1969

A Study of Motivation and Morale

by Konrad Kellen

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A study of the views of prisoners of war undertaken as an aid to military and civilian decisionmakers now trying to assess what concessions can reasonably be expected from the enemy in the future course of the war. Based on post-Tet interviews of 22 enemy soldiers in 1968-69, the study attempts to determine what elements of cohesion in the VC/NVA forces make it possible for the enemy to retain effective control throughout many years of warfare. Allied military pounding and psychological warfare efforts have had little effect on enemy morale, even the 1968 Tet offensive. Most VC and NVA soldiers seem to expect an ultimate win, are not discouraged by U.S. weapon superiority, and appear determined to fight on indefinitely. In short, enemy morale is high, chances of rooting out the insurgency by force look slim, and areas of compromise by negotiation appear narrow.

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