Myth: The determination of the North to carry the war on was never affected by any military setbacks or US actions

Fact: Morale of the troops was an increasing problem over time, especially after the Tet offensive

  • Morale began to deteriorate when troops had to endure the rigors of travel on the Ho Chi Minh trail while infiltrating
  • Many NVA troops had a tattoo "Born in the North To Die in the South" indicating their pessimism about surviving
  • As the war dragged on, loss of food, ammunition and medical supplies affected morale and caused problems with recruiting
  • The 1970 entry of US and ARVN troops into Cambodia seriously affected NVA morale, because they had been told that Cambodia was a safe haven
  • Although communist documents are routinely bombastic and full of exaggerations, there are hints of problems revealed in them
  • The Linebacker II bombing campaign terrified NVA troops and almost broke the will of the North to continue
  • NVA Commander Giap admitted in his memoirs that the NVA was defeated in Tet and during the Linebacker II bombing campaign

Confirming Evidence

Study, Research and Analysis Studies - VC/NVA Morale - Record of MACV Part 2

Summary Report Viet Cong Prisoners Captured in the Republic of Vietnam During the Allied Cambodian Operations: May-June 1970

Parks, W. Hays. “The Bombing of North Vietnam and the Law of War.” The Vietnam Debates: A Fresh Look at the Arguments. New York: U of America, 1990. 179. Print.

Study, Research and Analysis Studies - Update: The NVA Soldier in South Vietnam - Record of MACV Part 2


Resolution Concerning Security Tasks to be Performed from October 1970 to June 1971

"Born in the North to Die in the South." Nguyen Son Remembers the War in Vietnam

Directive - Standing Committee of Lam Son - Vietnam Documents and Research Notes Series

Report - Responsibility of Branches on the Security Task - Vietnam Documents and Research Notes Series

Letter from Ed Moffitt to Walter Cronkite- re: media influence on military decisions

Report: " Friction Between NVA and VC Troops"

The sixth resolution, central office of south vietnam