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Vietnam War- Tet Offensive

1968-- The Year of Culmination

Overview of the Vietnam War
Tet Offensive 1968
Vietnam War Quotes
Post-Quiz
Works Cited

- By the year of 1967, the Vietnam War became a stalemate. North Vietnamese and Communists were hesitated to take any actions on the South because of American force.
- By the year of 1968, after careful planning of the Communist, they launched a surprising attack in South Vietnam during the Tet ( Vietnamese New Year- using the Lunar Calendar).


- The year of 1968 saw
--> one of the most decisive battles in American society.
--> An American military triumph transformed into a political and psychological defeat for the United States.
---> The manifest bankruptcy of the ground strategies which both adversaries in Vietnam had been pursuing,, and the subsequent adoption of new strategies both sides.
----> the demise of Rolling of Thunder
-----> the beginning of serious negotiations to end the war.

THE TET OFFENSIVE

What is it?

Tet Offensive was an attack launched by North Vietnamese and Viet Congs. North Vietnamese and Viet Cong positioned their man around the main cities of South Vietnam, like Saigon and Khe Sanh. They took the advanatage of Tet ( New Year) and sent in spies to station around important buildings.

Who's idea was the Tet Offensive?

-->During the stagnation of the war, General Giap of North Vietnam was longed for a change, thus, he prepared a bold thrust on two fronts, in hope to distract the forces of United States and South Vietnam. With the experience at Dien Bien Phu and the defeat of the French troops, he planned an attack on the US Marines’ firebase at Khe Sanh, and at the same time, the NVA and NLF planned coordinated attacks on major cities and provincial capitals in South Vietnam .
-->Giap only left two options for the force of United States and South Vietnam, either to defend Khe Sanh and let the battles erupted else where, or to defend else where and let the U-ARVN forces suffer that would lead to the defeat of Khe Sanh, which would eventually lead to the defeat of the United States forces

Violation of Truce

It had been a customary during the war to observe a cease-fire during Tet-holiday, a celebration of the lunar New Year in Vietnam. Bot sides agreed to allow soldiers to spend peaceful time during the first three days. Yet, the North launched the attack right as the year began.

The Attack on Saigon

--> At 2:30 a.m. January 30 1968, a Viet Cong suicide squad of 19-man blasted in the United States Embassy in Saigon.
--->A section of the embassy building was captive by the guerillas until they were routed by an assault force of U.S paratroopers.
--->84,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces moved toward South Vietnam’s seven largest cities and attacked 30 provincial capitals, from Mekong Delta to the DMZ.
---> This attacked set the stage for the Tet Offensive, known to be the largest and best coordinated assault of the war.
---> The communist made an assault on Saigon from the north, the west, adn the south.
----> Four to five thousands local troops had infiltrated the city in teh days just prior to Tet. Outside of Saigon, the communists formed a ring of fire.
---> The Vietcong hoped to seize the station and broadcast tapes announcing the "Gerneral Uprising" and procalaiming the liberation of Saigon.
----> Their attempt failed. Rocket and mortar fire thundered into Tan Son Nhut air base and other areas that were invaded in Saigon.
----> By Feb. 10, 1968, the Communist group in Saigon was elimenated.

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Saigon Street during Tet 1968

The Battle for Hue

--> At 3:40 a.m. on January 31, 1968, a barrange of rockets slammed into teh Imperial Citadel, signaling the attack of Communist toops.
--> The Communist raged through the city of Hue and gained control of the city. They hang their flag in the Citadel as a symbol of their victory.
---> While the Communists were in the city of Hue, the people of Hue suffered tremendously, man were beaten and women were raped.
----> The victory of the Communist did not last long. Three months later, troops of United States and South Vietnam fought vigorously and gained back the City of Hue.
---> The communists were defeated to a great extent.

hue.gif
Plan of the Communist to attack Hue

The Siege at Khe Sanh

khesanh.gif
A map of Khe Sanh

-->Khe Sanh is a village in the northwest area of South Vietnam, it is below the DMZ and close to the Laotian border. The French garrisoned the village during the first Indochina war, and it became important US Special Forces base during the Vietnam War. It is proximity to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which allowed the US artillery to shell the trail and allowed spies to observe the NVA traffic moving southwards.
-->Toward the end of January 1968, 6,000 U.S marines had flown in to reinforce the Khe Sanh garrison.
-->The NVA continued to build up their forces; 20,000 North Vietnamese ultimately moved in around Khe Sanh.
-->The Viet Congs and North Vietnamese wanted to attack Khe Sanh to draw the attentions of the United States away from major cities in South Vietnam.

khesanh1.gif
The Base of South Vietnam and United States Army

Why did the Tet Offensive 1968 considered the turning point of the Vietnam War?

The Tet Offensive proved to be the turning point in the war for the Communist. The first attack by the Communist on Saigon shifted the war, for the first time, from its rural base into the South Vietnam’s invincible urban areas. It was a campaign of enormous breadth, speed, and scope. It proved to the United States the force and power of the Viet Cong, but most importantly, it created a lasting effect on the United States public opinion. Statistically, the United States and South Vietnam won the Tet Offensive, but due the new technology of televisions and scenes of the war were broadcasted directly to the eyes of the people, the morale of the public declined . The tragic scenes of deaths and the great number of soldiers died created fear in the hearts of the people and declined the support for war. An estimated 37,000 NLF soldiers were killed and only 2,500 American were killed, but the morale of the American declined while the support of the Communist remained high. In March 1968, President Johnson was told by the Secretary of Defense about the withdrawal of American forces in South Vietnam because there was a feel of not wining the war .