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Tet Offensive, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 378

Essay

The TET offensive was considered to be the pivotal turning point in the Vietnam War. The attack by the North Vietnamese army took place on 31st January 1968 and involved70,000 North Vietnamese troops together with guerrilla fighters from the NLF. During the campaign it was reported that some 58,000 American soldiers were killed in action and a further 304,000 wounded. These figures sharply contrasted to the 1.4 million North & South Vietnamese soldiers killed and an additional 2.1 million wounded.  “The number of bombs dropped over Vietnam in this campaign alone was greater than the total dropped during the entire Second World War: the equivalent of roughly 15 kilograms of bombs for every man, woman and child in Vietnam” (Woods, 2008)

The reason for the large scale TET offensive was because the leaders of the North Vietnamese army believed that they could not sustain a prolonged war with the US Army. In addition their leader Ho Chi Minh was dyeing and they needed a decisive victory before having to deal with leadership issues in their chain of command. Despite the fact that in military terms this proved to be a disaster for the North Vietnamese ( in terms of sheer loss of life), it was nevertheless claimed as a political victory as it proved to the US media that the war was not over and that claims of the war being over were false. “To a growing segment of the American public, Tet demonstrated the resolve of the Vietcong and the tenuous control South Vietnam had over its own territory. It also helped unite those at home in their dissenting opinions of the war” (US History, 2010).

It was the TET offensive that demonstrated the dark side of the Vietnam War to the American Public and “Faced with an unhappy American public and depressing news from his military leaders, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to end the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. “ (Rosenberg, 2010)

Works Cited

Rosenberg, J. (2010). 1968 Tet Offensive. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from about.com: http://history1900s.about.com/od/1960s/qt/tetoffensive.htm

US History. (2010). Wars and Battles, 1968. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from US History: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1862.html

Woods, A. (2008, 1 31). The Tet Offensive: the turning point in the Vietnam War – Part One . Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from International Marxist Tendency: http://www.marxist.com/tet-offensive-part-one.htm

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