On February 1, 1968--during the Tet Offensive--General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, director of South Vietnam's national police force, executed a Viet Cong prisoner on the streets of Saigon.

The Tet Offensive saw the North Vietnamese change their tactics in their war against the SVA and America. The Tet Offensive witnessed a huge conventional attack by the North. Every year on the last day of January, the Vietnamese pay tribute to their ancestors. The Tet New Year is a very important day for the Vietnamese and nearly all-normal day-to-day activities stop to allow those who can the opportunity to celebrate the lives of their ancestors.

In January 1968, the NLF had brought forward Tet by two days. On January 31st 70,000 NLF soldiers attacked over 100 targets, including the capital in the South, Saigon.

The Americans had been fighting classic guerrilla tactics since 1965. Though the US had faced a number of conventional attacks in late 1967, most US military thinking was still oriented around the concept of guerrilla warfare. Therefore the Tet Offensive took them by surprise, especially the sheer scale of it.

The US Embassy in Saigon was attacked and a few members of the NLF got into the embassy compound. Five US Marines were killed but the attack was repulsed. The NLF also captured the main radio station in Saigon, which acted as a major shock to US morale. Though the station was only occupied for a few hours, it showed to the US military that they were not just dealing with a ramshackle army of amateurs.

However, in military terms, the US could claim victory in the Tet Offensive. The North Vietnamese could not afford major losses in terms of manpower. During the Tet Offensive the NLF lost 37,000 soldiers while the US lost 2,500 men. Yet the Tet Offensive was a major blow to US military pride. In late 1967 the US had been told by General Westmoreland that the NLF had taken such heavy losses in open combat that they would be incapable of maintaining any military momentum in 1968. Yet during the Tet Offensive the NLF had entered the US Embassy and occupied the main radio station for three hours before being repulsed.

The impact of the Tet Offensive is difficult to gauge. The NLF and the government in North Vietnam would have played heavily on their successes in Saigon – the very heart of US influence. Yet their losses would have had a major impact of their ability to fight. The impact of the Tet Offensive on America was stark. President Johnson was told by his advisors that the war could not be won and he was advised to negotiate a withdrawal from the region. In late 1968, Johnson announced to the US people that he intended to seek a negotiated peace settlement in Vietnam.
Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This

Popular Articles On This Site

Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito