Sun Tzu said, “Keep plans as dark as night.”
The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and Vietcong did this by moving supplies and troops through miles of tunnels built in the 1950 and 60s.
Deception was also one of Sun Tzu’s rules.
To achieve deception, the NVA and Vietcong announced they would honor a cease-fire on January 31, 1968, the Tet New-Year Holiday.
Sun Tzu said, “In battle use a direct attack to engage and an indirect attack to win,” meaning to deceive your enemy so you can win your real objective.
To achieve this goal, the NVA launched a surprise attack on Khe Sanh, a remote US base, one week before the Tet Offensive.
The South Vietnamese and American military are surprised when the NVA launches the Tet Offensive. At first, it looks like the Vietcong will win, but the NVA ignored one of Sun Tzu’s rules—moral influence.
Moral influence means a leader must have the people behind him to win.
During the early days of the Tet, the Vietcong rounded up and brutally assassinated several-thousand South Vietnamese government workers and killed many Catholic nuns losing the support of the people.
However, in America, watching the violence of the Tet Offensive on TV turned more Americans against the war.
Eight years later, in 1975, Saigon falls to the NVA and America loses the war even though the US had military superiority.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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