chapter  16
Holding On
Pages 32

Between the invasion of Cambodia in April 1970 and the Spring “Easter Offensive” of April 1972 the revolution in My Tho and other provinces in the Mekong Delta faced the most difficult challenges of the entire post-1959 conflict. The serious decline in the revolu­ tionary movement which started in 1969 reached its nadir in 1971. This chapter contends that the success of pacification in 1970-71 was temporary and largely the result of the depopulation of large areas once controlled by the revolution, as a consequence of inces­ sant bombing and shelling. To the extent that the “pacification” of My Tho’s rural areas was accompanied by programs such as the much-ballyhoocd new land reform of the gov­ ernment of the Republic of Vietnam (GVN), initiated in 1970, these programs were a consequence rather than a cause of the Saigon government’s security gains in the country­ side. Most peasants who temporarily or permanently deserted the revolution were not in­ fluenced primarily by economic incentives or appeals from the GVN, nor did they transfer their allegiance to Saigon even if they ultimately rejected the revolutionary side.