Tet Offensive : In 1968, the National Liberation Front and Vietcong launched a surprise attack against American and South Vietnamese forces on the eve of the lunar New Year’s Day. This surprise attack is known as the Tet Offensive and many people viewed this as a turning point in the Vietnam War.
Militarily, the Tet Offensive showed the significance of Vietcong/Vietminh’s military power and nowhere in South Vietnam was safe. On 31st of January 1968, the simultaneous attack the towns and cities in South Vietnam began and this went on for 3 days. Over 35 towns and cities including 13 provincial capitals were seized and shockingly, the US embassy in Saigon was invaded. The National Liberation Front and Vietcong sent more than 80,000 soldiers for the Tet Offensive and after 3days, more than half of its soldiers killed so they had to move back to North Vietnam to retreat itself. Although, Vietminh failed to remove the US troops out of Vietnam but, they showed their military power and it showed that nowhere in Vietnam was safe including the US embassy in Saigon.
Politically, the Tet Offensive made the Vietnam War more significant in US that it became one of the key issues in US politics during the presidential election year. The US politics were basically divided into two sides, the one for withdrawing troops out of Vietnam and the other for giving more support to the Vietnam War. In March 1968, one month after the Tet Offensive, the president Johnson announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election, which left Robert Kennedy and Humphrey as a candidate for the Democratic side for the presidential election. Then in June 1968, Robert Kennedy was assassinated and McCarthy replaced his place. However, McCarthy failed to deliver his speech for his candidacy that Humphrey became the candidate for Democrats. On the other hand, Nixon was a candidate for the Republican side for the presidential election. Humphrey had an idea of continuing Johnson’s policy of commitment to the war and Nixon had an idea of withdrawing troops out of Vietnam. Nixon won the election in November by a slight difference. The Tet Offensive made the Vietnams War so big issue that it became one of the most important topics in the US politics.
The Tet Offensive was unquestionably the biggest occurrence of the Vietnam War. While the military success of the Viet Cong in mounting a sustained revolt in cities across South Vietnam was virtually non-existent, the psychological impact it had on the American public was quite simply phenomenal. This effect was partially due to the reporting of the war by the media. To completely understand the ...
Socially, many people viewed the Tet Offensive as a sign showing that the US was actually losing the war. The US military have always reported that they were winning the war and in December 1967, Walt Rostow stated, “Their casualties are going up at a rate they cannot sustain … I see light at the end of the tunnel.”, but after the Tet Offensive, the public became skeptic about the reports from the US military because suddenly, it seemed like they were losing the war. So, more and more people were involved in the protest against the Vietnam War in the US.
Economically, the US gave more economic support to the Vietnam War after the Tet Offensive. After the Tet Offensive, the president Johnson raised the income tax to give more support to the Vietnam War. It was used to recover its military and to make its military power stronger. The US’sinvolvement in Vietnam was now costing more than 66 million dollars a day which is a lot of money compared to before. (1960 – 180.3 million 1963 – 186.0 million 1966 – 792.2 million) Since the Tet Offensive increased the income tax, the poverty in the US was exacerbated.