What really was the true significance of the Tet Offensive for the Vietnam War?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade January 2006

download word file, 4 pages 3.7

Downloaded 38 times

The Tet Offensive was a major turning point for the Vietnam War, and thus it held a great importance for both the Americans and the Vietnamese. On Jan 31, 1968, the most important holiday to the Vietnamese, also known as Tet, which is the Vietnam New Year, the North Vietnamese Army launched a surprise attack on the South Vietnamese and the American forces. It was an attack on more than 35 major towns and cities in the South, which Saigon, the capital of the South, was included in the targets. The North Vietnamese suffered a heavy casualty, thus it seemed to be a defeat for them, but it kept the soldiers' morale high. On the other hand, the US suffered heavy 'casualty' on the American public view and the soldiers' morale. Therefore, Tet Offensive was the "psychological defeat' for the US.

The US public was taken by surprise by this sudden attack, and the Americans started to question the reasons why the US troops were still staying in Vietnam, the public became so disheartened that it contributed to the withdrawal of the US troops in 1973.

Before the Tet Offensive, 48% of the American public approved LBJ's handling of job as president, but after Tet, it dropped by 12% to 36%; 39% of the public approved LBJ's handling of Vietnam before it, and it decreased by 13% to 26%; 45% of the public believe that Vietnam was a mistake, but after Tet, 49% of the people believed so, it was increased by 4 % . The data above show the demoralizing effect to the American general public, these changes contributed to the later of Anti-war movement and US withdrawal. Because the US was more of a democratic country, the public opinion affects a great deal of how the...