Myth: The devotion of people in the North to the defeat of the South was shown by the 1.4 million men that died in the struggle, all volunteers eager to serve their country (and there was never any draft resistance in the North, again showing the solidarity of the people for the cause)
Fact: Most NVA troops were conscripted and only fought because they would be shot if they refused to fight. Some where even chained to their machineguns during battles.
- In 1958 North Viet Nam instituted universal conscription.
- They began with two drafts per year, in February (farming and industrial occupations) and July (students)
- By 1964 the drafts went to three per year and by 1966 the drafts were continuous throughout the year
- By 1968 83% of the regular North Vietnamese Army personnel were conscripted.
- In 1959 and 1960 the term of service was three years
- For a short time, from 1961 to February 1962 the term of service was reduced to two years. Then it returned to 3 years
- By 1966 the term of service was indefinite.
- Life in the NVA was so dangerous that some soldiers got tattoos that said "Born in the North to die in the South" before leaving for South Vietnam.
Nha Ca Mourning Headband For Hue (Indianapolis:Indiana University Press 2014) Dead NVA soldiers chained to their machineguns are attested to in several passages
“3 Dead Enemy Soldiers Reported Chained to Gun.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 3 Feb 17 1968. ProQuest. Web. 2 May 2014 . p. 3