North Viet Nam: The Respite

While the South Vietnamese braced themselves to bear heavier burdens in the war, the North Vietnamese felt, at least temporarily, a great weight lifted from their shoulders. In the three weeks since President Johnson announced his partial bombing pause, life north of the 20th parallel—where 90% of the North Vietnamese live and where the U.S. has ceased attacking—has taken on a new and freer rhythm. After three years of fairly steady air strikes by U.S. planes, the North Vietnamese, though still basically too cautious to change the mode of life that they have devised to counter the air raids,...