Tet Offensive Essay, Research Paper
The Tet Offensive, which occurred on January 31, 1968, proved to be a political
and a psychological triumph for the Vietnamese Communists. And, although it merely lasted
for approximately one month, it was one of America? s most noteworthy conflicts that taught the
Americans and the Vietnamese valuable lessons about life and war. The background of
the Tet-Offensive is really interesting, one hidden within the struggle of the Vietnam War.
While the offense was being planned, there were anti-war presentations taking topographic point in
the U.S. against the Vietnam War. Lyndon B. Johnson, in a close election, won the
primary over McCarthy who happened to be against the war, and so went on to running
the state with few jobs.
In Vietnam, General Vo Nguyen Giap of North Vietnam told his political members
that the chance for a general offense or rebellion was within range. The violative
began in August of 1967, when following Hanoi? s determination to continue with Giap? s
? rebellion, ? Giap began a monolithic buildup of military personnels, equipment, and supplies in South
Vietnam. First, 1000s of guns and weaponries were bought southerly along the Ho
Chi Minh Trail. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was the critical Vietcong ( besides known as the South
Vietnamese ) supply line that twisted through the jungles of North Vietnam in a due south
way ( ? Vietnam? ) . This trail besides served as a transit path for nutrient and
medical supplies being brought to the south portion of Vietnam. Tens of 1000s of military personnels
poured down from the North, infiltrated the countryside, and have oning civilian apparels,
easy blended with the local people. By mid-January, 1968, about 84,000 of the North
Vietnamese Army ( NVA ) , and the Vietcong military personnels were in South Vietnam ( ? Massacre? ) .
And, two hebdomads before the existent onslaught would even take topographic point, Giap? s military personnels were
positioned and ready for an onslaught ( Coteau 2 ) .
The U.S. began to hold intuitions about some kind of originating taking topographic point. So
the violative did, in fact, non take Americans by surprise. American intelligence beginnings
had started bring outing grounds that indicated a displacement in enemy scheme in the late
summer/early autumn of 1967. The 101st Airborne Division, on November 19, seized an
onslaught order stating that the offense was near, and some somewhat elaborate programs of what
was traveling to go on and how it was traveling to go on ( ? Vietnam? ) . The U.S. intelligence
officers took this grounds as propaganda and disregarded it wholly. The found onslaught
order was so published on January 5th, but still attracted really small attending.
As 1968 approached, the U.S. appeared to be winning the war, but in Washington,
on December 18th, General Earle G. Wheeler, joint Chief of Staff, cautioned that? it is
wholly possible that there may be a Communist push similar to the despairing attempt of
the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II? ( Young 27-28 ) . The U.S. ? s
intuitions about a possible rebellion became stronger as the Tet-Offensive grew closer.
In Saigon, on December 20th, General William C. Westmoreland of the U.S.
Army cabled Washington that he expected the North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong
to? set about an intensified countrywide attempt, possibly a maximal attempt over a
comparatively short period? ( 73-74 ) . On the same twenty-four hours, December 20th, the President warned
the universe that? we face dark yearss in front? ( Mueller 3 ) . These events began to bode
the Vietnamese? s coming psychological triumph.
In January of 1968, American forces captured a brace of NVA operation orders
naming for an onslaught on Pleiku before the Tet, and aiming Ban Me Thuot for assault.
Two yearss prior to the Tet, agents of the South Vietnamese Military Service arrested
eleven Vietcong leaders that were caught keeping a secret meeting ( ? More? ) . The 11
had two tapes that had messages about the release of Saigon, Hue, and other metropoliss.
Excessively many warnings of the violative were ignored. One U.S. intelligence functionary stated? If
we? d gotten the whole conflict program, it wouldn? Ts have been believed. It wouldn? Ts have been
believable to us? ( Omicinski 18-19 ) . Intelligence analysts refused to believe that the
Vietcong and the NVA were capable of put to deathing such a big graduated table, coordinated onslaught,
but they were non certain if the Vietcong and NVA were, or if they were non.
The U.S. ? s intuitions on the approaching violative were get downing to be confirmed.
& lt ;< p>By mid-January, Westmoreland was about certain that the violative would be get downing merely
before or merely after the Tet. The U.S. and its functionaries had strongly doubted that the
Vietcong and the NVA would strike during the vacation. The Tet is a really of import and
spiritual vacation in the Chinese and Vietnamese civilizations which is another ground why the
Vietnamese? s triumph was psychological. Some smaller conflicts started to interrupt out in
Vietnam before the existent Tet-Offensive did. In the autumn of 1967, Vietcong and the NVA
units suffered heavy losingss during several turns with the U.S. and the Army of the
Republic of South Vietnam ( ARVN ) forces. Get downing on October 27th, and go oning for
22 yearss, the American and South Vietnamese military personnels killed over 1,600 more enemy
soldiers, about destructing the 4 NVA regiments ( ? Vietnam? ) . When the ineluctable
Tet-Offensive came, someplace between 15,000 and 20,000 military personnels launched an all-out
onslaught on the Mariness at Khe Sanh on January 21, 1968 ( Porter 5 ) . The inquiry that
started to be asked by American military personnels and its citizens was: ? Is this the violative or non? ?
The reply to that inquiry was yes, the conflict ended up being called? the most of import
conflict of the universe? ( Anzalone 4 ) .
The first onslaught was non the Tet-Offensive. This larger conflict was composed of
many smaller conflicts. On January 21st, 1968, at 12:30 ante meridiem, the North Vietnamese 325
division launched an assault against Hill 861, a Marine outstation Northwest of the chief
combat base ( ? Massacre? ) . Following that conflict, there were many other conflicts, until
mid/late February. And stop to the Tet-Offensive eventually came into position. On February
20th, there were 47 Mariness killed, 240 severely wounded, and 60 wounded, but still contending
( ? More? ) . The Americans had really killed more than four times the figure of dead on
their side. They started contending the Platoon Task Force, which included a sniper squad.
They had two edifices to procure before they could take over the tower. Amazingly, there
was no opposition in the two edifices of the tower itself. On February 21st, the nor’-east
wall of the Citadel fell to Major Thompson? s 1st Battalion Mariness. The Mariness so
hoisted an American flag over the liberated South Vietnamese dirt ( more specifically, the
Citadel ) . The Tet-Offensive eventually came to an terminal. The Black Panther Company of the
1st ARVN Division? s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, secured the chief range pole at the
Midday Gate of the Imperial Palace. At 5:00 ante meridiem, they hauled down the NLF ( National
Liberation Front ) flag, that ran up the yellow and ruddy criterion of the Republic of Vietnam
( ? Vietnam? ) . Although the conflict was so officially over, there were still many losingss.
There were 5,113 NVA/VC dead in Hue, and 89 captured ( Young 65 ) . The ARVN had
384 casualties, and 1,830 wounded ( 73 ) . Among the civilians of Hue, there were 5,800
listed as dead or losing, most of whom had been killed by communist decease squads and
buried in mass Gravess in the interior metropolis ( 98 ) . The U.S. Army had 74 dead and 507
earnestly wounded ( 15 ) . And, the Marine Corps had 147 dead, and 857 earnestly
wounded ( Anzalone 2 ) .
From the experience of the Tet-Offensive, the American? s learned to ne’er
undervalue the abilities of their enemies. In this conflict, each side proved something to
the other. The Vietnamese Communists proved that they were able to draw off a
large-scale rebellion and besides still fight with a batch of power. The Americans proved that
they excessively could keep up their side of the battle, but they besides learned that sometimes there
are no true victors in a conflict, each side has its casualties and failures.
Young, Marilyn B. The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990. New York: HarperCollins,
Slaughter at Hue. 25 November 1999. Excerpt from the Viet Cong Strategy of
Panic. 6 Apr. 2000.
Couteau, Robert. Home Page. New Insights Into the Spirit of Place. 6 Apr.
Anzalone, Tom. Home Page. Tet 1968. 6 Apr. 2000. .
Porter, D. Gareth. Home Page. University of Texas. The 1968 Hue Massacre. 6
Apr. 2000. .
Vietnam. 17 Feb. 1998. The History Net. 8 Apr. 2000. .
Mueller, James M. Tet in Hue. 6 Apr. 2000. .
More About the 1968 Tet Offensive. 19 Mar. 1998. Fortune City. 10 Apr.
Omicinski, John. ? Tet Offensive Marked Turn in War. ? Gannett News Service 30
Jan. 1998, nat. erectile dysfunction.