The Tet Offensive was a series of battles which took place during the Vietnam War. It was a major offensive by the North Vietnamese Army, and the Viet Cong, beginning on the night of January 30-31, of 1968, which was the Chinese New year. The objective of the 1968 Tet Offensive was to take the Nationalist and the US armies by surprise since North Vietnam’s government proposed a ceasefire for the celebration of the Lunar New Year. There were three major battles of the offensive, which we discussed in class. The battle of Hue City was one of these major attacks. The city of Hue was attacked by ten NVA battalions and almost completely overrun.
Thousands of civilians believed to be potentially hostile to Communist control, including government officials, religious figures, and expatriate residents, were executed in what became known as the Massacre at Hue. The city was not recaptured by the US and ARVN forces until the end of February. The US and ARVN lost 482 men and the NVA around 7, 500. The second major battle of the offensive was the battle of Khe San. The fighting began on January 29 as a number of Vietnamese units began their attacks prematurely.
The rest of the NLF/NVA attacks began on the night of 30-31 st. It was in Huế , the ancient capital, and Saigon that the NVA had significant success. The morale of the ARVN was being badly eroded. The third major battle of the Tet Offensive took place in and around the city of Saigon. Around five battalions of NLF had infiltrated the city. The headquarters of the ARVN was attacked by around 700 men and there was heavy fighting but only 110 American casualties.
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The Vietnamese casualties in this assault and other actions in Saigon were over 1, 100 men but aided in their gained control of large parts of the city. Fighting lasted almost a week and some sections of the city were in ruins due to US airstrikes and artillery. General Giap’s plan was divided into three phases. In the first phase, the PAIN would launch attacks on the border regions of South Vietnam to draw American forces away from South Vietnamese cities.
Giap knew this could be a risky move, but reasoned that it would be worth the cost. Phase two saw widespread attacks by the Viet Cong all over South Vietnam’s cities, which would prod the civilians into full fledged revolt against the ‘hated’ Americans and the South Vietnamese government. With the South Vietnamese government overthrown, the Americans would have no choice but to head to the coast and evacuate. Phase three would then begin as the Viet Cong and NVA would defeat the evacuating Americans. After the end of the Tet Offensive, the North Vietnamese had around 35, 000 men killed, 60, 000 wounded and 6, 000 POWs.
The US and Southern Vietnamese dead totalled around 3, 900 (1, 100 US).
US media reports of the battles shocked both the American public and its politicians. The media was a great cause for a change in feelings over the war which they were fighting. The Anti War movement gained a lot of strength through this battle. The United States was greatly affected by this offensive.
Politically it changed the way the US was run at the time. After this battle, Lyndon B. Johnson startled the world by withdrawing as a candidate for re-election, so that he might devote his full efforts, unimpeded by politics, to the quest for peace. Social it caused a great change among opinions of Americans.
Before this battle people were told a very different war, one in which Americans were winning and all was good in the world. Through the Offensive people were shown the true war. The media also had a large negative affect. They showed much more of what the American Army was doing that was illegal, and a lot less of what the North Vietnamese were doing.
... complete control of the air since the beginning of the war. As American forces pushed on, the North Korean and Chinese forces ... the Pusan Perimeter. A key city for the Southern forces in the next several battles was the city of Taegu which was the ... conflicts between communists and anticommunists. At the same time, the South refused to sign an armistice because they thought it would ...