Military History

The Tet Offensive is amongst the most daring and dreariest military campaigns launched by the North Vietnamese soldiers, together with NLF guerilla fighters, against the United States. According to General Vo Nguyen Giap, the North Vietnamese had to take a decisive step and surprise South Vietnam with a massive attack. Millett (1994) notes that the Communists moved their troops and supplies into position, and after coordinating with the Viet Cong, attacked the American base at the Khe Sanh on the 21st of January, 1968. They undermined the cease-fire called for the Tet holiday and attacked more than 100 towns and cities in the South of the country. However, they met heavy resistance from both the Americans and South Vietnamese.

The Tet Offensive affected the US imperialism as it changed the attitude of the American citizens to the Vietnam War. Both sides lost many lives, but the North suffered more losses than their Southern counterparts did. The number of death and causalities in the whole war estimated at millions. According to Millett (1994), the North Vietnamese forces succeeded in occupying some towns in the South, including Saigon where the US embassy was situated. It took eight hours for the US soldiers to regain control over their embassy. The truth is that the US troops were not ready for such an attack.

While the United States appeared to be victorious and superior in terms of military actions, the operation demonstrated Americans that they could lose in the war. They underestimated the North, and, as a result, came under a surprise attack they never had anticipated before. Karnow (1991) observes that the offensive dented the image of the American involvement in Vietnam, and as a result, President Lyndon B. Johnson withdraw the US troops from Vietnam. The American public began to criticize the war because of the causalities they suffered. Anti-war movement was getting stronger. Despite the US military strength, they did not manage to win the war completely, and it became a continuous stalemate.