Support thy Neighbor
Successfully prevailing in a nation is not done with superior force, but by connecting with the people through emotional and intellectual appeals. The Viet Cong were more effective than both the Republicans and the Americans by winning the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese through various actions and mentalities. The Viet Cong won the support of the Vietnamese people because of their political, social, military, and financial choices throughout the war. The choice to pick a leader was clear for the Vietnamese people.
The Vietnamese people chose to support the force that had the same goals for the war as they did. America’s goal was to prevent communism from ...view middle of the document...
America understood their disadvantages and had to compensate for their lack of supporters by brining in a larger army that the Vietnamese people loathed. The Republicans were guilty by association and therefore had a bad reputation in regards to goals and beliefs. The Vietnamese people had a place for the Americans and Republicans in their minds and hearts, but it was not in a favorable place.
The two Vietnamese leaders include President Diem of the Republicans and Ho Chi Minh of the Viet Cong. Diem was unpopular with the Vietnamese people because his Catholic religion associated himself with the French and because he was on America’s payroll. Diem’s religion alone was enough to make him suspicious in the predominant Buddhist nation. Minh, on the other had, was referred to as a "trusted family friend…[that loved] our troubled country"(Hayslip, XI). Hayslip said that the only reason they even showed loyalty for President Diem was because it “was more duty to a landlord than love for a founding father”. Minh promised everything that President Diem stood in the way of: freedom of colonial domination, unification of the nation to determine its own destiny, and the ability to live life in accordance to ancient ways.
The Viet Cong never took the loyalty of their supporters for granted. For example, “They [VC] rallied and rewarded and lectured us sternly, as the situation demanded, while the Republicans assumed we would be loyal because we lived south of a line some diplomats had drawn on a map”(Hayslip, XII). The Viet Cong gave lessons about the war and informed prospective supporters about what is going on because the Viet Cong understood that politics held no relevance in the everyday life of an average Vietnamese. It is key for the Viet Cong to inform the Vietnamese people of the war and what their goals are in order to gain their share of support. President Diem, however, expected to have sheep for followers and never truly explained the depth of the situation. The Viet Cong made sure that their supporters knew what their fight was for: independence and cultural preservation. The Viet Cong's actions prove that they had the Vietnamese peoples best interests at heart; politically and culturally.
The Viet Cong deemed favorable towards the Vietnamese people because they did not prioritize funds for military use and did not exploit the villagers. Americans and Republicans came into the village with their excessive American equipment that was calculated for a completely different war. In contrast, the Viet Cong “made do with what they had and seldom wasted their best ammunition – the goodwill of the people”(Hayslip, XIII). The Viet Cong soldiers made every shot count because they were low on ammunition, but also because they cared for the wellbeing of the people and their homes. In a sense, the Viet Cong soldiers had an advantage of being low on military funds because it helped them find alternative fighting techniques that were...