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tet offensive analysis

[227] The President and his staff were refining a lesser version of the troop increase – a planned call-up of 62,000 reservists, 13,000 of whom would be sent to Vietnam. [132], Outside Huế, elements of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division and the 101st Airborne Division fought to seal PAVN access and cut off their lines of supply and reinforcement. By departing from classical guerrilla tactics and assaulting southern cities, the North Vietnamese had unwittingly pitted themselves against their opponents’ greatest strengths. [197], At the time of the Tet Offensive, the majority of the American public perceived that the war was not being won by the United States and its allies, despite assurances from the President and military leaders that such was the case. The following day, Biên Hòa, Long Thanh, Bình Dương in III Corps and Kien Hoa, Dinh Tuong, Gò Công, Kiên Giang, Vĩnh Bình, Bến Tre, and Kien Tuong in IV Corps were assaulted. Although U.S. commanders generally held a low opinion of the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN), South Vietnamese soldiers fought with bravery and tenacity during the Tet Offensive. In addition, the widespread loss of life and destruction of property triggered a decline in support for the Viet Cong among the South Vietnamese populace. 126–127. [106], At 03:00 on 31 January, twelve VC sappers approached the Vietnamese Navy Headquarters in two civilian cars, killing two guards at a barricade at Me Linh Square and then advanced towards the base gate. Only in the eyes of the militants, therefore, did the offensive become a "go for broke" effort. [186], In the wake of the offensive, however, fresh determination was exhibited by the Thiệu government. [46] Thanh's position was that Giáp and his adherents were centered on their experiences during the First Indochina War and that they were too "conservative and captive to old methods and past experience... mechanically repeating the past. Viet Reflections on Tet, 2/5/1968, from President’s Special Daily Report on North Vietnam, A North Vietnamese analysis of U.S. political attitudes on the Vietnam War, following the Tet Offensive. [190] Thiệu also established a National Recovery Committee to oversee food distribution, resettlement, and housing construction for the new refugees. General Westmoreland informed the Joint Chiefs that "the enemy has approximately three companies in the Huế Citadel and the marines have sent a battalion into the area to clear them out. Provided with "blacklists" of military officers and civil servants, they began to round up and execute any that could be found. [156] Khe Sanh Base was later closed on 5 July 1968 because the base was seen as having less of a strategic importance than before. Battle of Hue During the TeT Offensive - Vietnam 1968. A total of approximately 84,000 PAVN/VC troops participated in the attacks while thousands of others stood by to act as reinforcements or as blocking forces. Tet Offensive Article Analysis Question Sheet . [223] The divided group's final report, issued on 4 March, "failed to seize the opportunity to change directions... and seemed to recommend that we continue rather haltingly down the same road."[224]. [222] Some of the members argued that the offensive represented an opportunity to defeat the North Vietnamese on American terms while others pointed out that neither side could win militarily, that North Vietnam could match any troop increase, that the bombing of the North be halted, and that a change in strategy was required that would seek not victory, but the staying power required to reach a negotiated settlement. [202][203], The shocks that reverberated from the battlefield continued to widen: On 18 February 1968 MACV posted the highest U.S. casualty figures for a single week during the entire war: 543 killed and 2,547 wounded. "We are on the offensive. Analysis (579) This investigation is important in its historical context because the Tet Offensive was the first and greatest nail in the US’ Vietnamese coffin. According to closer observers, however, the General was "stunned that the communists had been able to coordinate so many attacks in such secrecy", and he was "dispirited and deeply shaken. [34] The American public, "more confused than convinced, more doubtful than despairing ... adopted a 'wait and see' attitude. Westmoreland also failed to communicate his concerns adequately to Washington. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? This was mainly due to General Creighton Abrams' new "One War" strategy and the CIA/South Vietnamese. By 1967 growing numbers of Americans were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the war. Concurrently, a substantial threat would have to be made against the U.S. Khe Sanh Combat Base. During most of February, the allies gradually fought their way towards the Citadel, which was taken only after twenty-five days of intense struggle. Today there have been a great number of writings about this event. Laurence, John (2002), The Cat from Hue: a Vietnam War Story, PublicAffairs Press. No history of that war can be complete without an analysis of this offensive. If outright victory was not achieved, the battle might still lead to the creation of a coalition government and the withdrawal of the Americans. "[173] As also noted by the official history, "because our armed local forces had suffered severe losses, guerrilla operations had declined. Both Wheeler and Westmoreland were elated that in only eight days McNamara would be replaced by the hawkish Clark Clifford and that the military might finally obtain permission to widen the war. These units included the VC 12th Main Force Battalion and the Huế City Sapper Battalion. The final assessment of the majority stupefied the group. [113] Bitter and destructive house-to-house fighting erupted in the area. The Tet Offensive Analysis 1202 Words | 5 Pages. By the end of 1968, one of every twelve South Vietnamese was living in a refugee camp. U.S. and South Vietnamese officials declared that the communists had suffered a resounding military defeat, and this was certainly the case. The significance of Tet was that it compelled the American leadership to make the decision to … If the general offensive failed to achieve these purposes, follow-up operations would be conducted to wear down the enemy and lead to a negotiated settlement; Phase II was scheduled to begin on 5 May and Phase III on 17 August.[63]. On March 22 Johnson approved only a small increase of troops. CIA Analysis of the Tet Offensive 2/12/1968. [37] In official Vietnamese literature, the decision to launch the Tet Offensive was usually presented as the result of a perceived U.S. failure to win the war quickly, the failure of the American bombing campaign against North Vietnam, and the anti-war sentiment that pervaded the population of the U.S.[38] The decision to launch the general offensive, however, was much more complicated. "[182], South Vietnam was a nation in turmoil both during and in the aftermath of the offensive. Secretary of State Dean Rusk was called before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and questioned for 11 hours. [116]:460–1 From 11 March to 7 April, Allied forces launched Operation Quyet Thang to pacify the area around Saigon. The offensive was a crushing tactical defeat for the North, but it struck a sharp psychological blow that eroded support for the war among the American public and political establishment. It was this lack of communication that caused a rising disapproval rating for his conduct of the war. He then stunned the nation by declining to run for a second term in office. Concessions had been made to the center group, however, by agreeing that negotiations were possible, but the document essentially centered on the creation of "a spontaneous uprising in order to win a decisive victory in the shortest time possible. MACV was convinced that the PAVN planned to stage an attack and overrun the base as a prelude to an all-out effort to seize the two northernmost provinces of South Vietnam. According to American sources, there has been an extreme reluctance among Vietnamese historians to discuss the decision-making process that led to the General Offensive General Uprising, even decades after the event. Naval Institute Press, 2008. Annihilate a significant portion of the American military's troop strength and destroy a significant portion of his war equipment in order to prevent the American forces from being able to carry out their political and military missions; on the basis, crush the American will to commit aggression and force the United States to accept defeat in South Vietnam and end all hostile actions against North Vietnam. Overall, during the "Border Battles" of 1967 and the nine-month winter-spring campaign, 45,267 PAVN/VC troops had been killed in action. Westmoreland himself clai… Fighting in the city came to a close only after a fierce battle between the ARVN Rangers and PAVN forces on 7 March. [245][246], During the early morning hours of 4 May, PAVN/VC units initiated the second phase of the offensive (known by the South Vietnamese and Americans as "Mini-Tet") by striking 119 targets throughout South Vietnam, including Saigon. Increasingly vocal antagonism against any escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam put greater pressure on the Johnson administration and the U.S. Congress. [51] On the evening of 6 July, after receiving permission to begin preparations for the offensive, Thanh attended a party and died of a heart attack after drinking too much. Against Bạc Liêu in IV Corps on 10 February edge of Saigon the dissenters... Were crew-served said he had single-handedly shifted the nation by declining to run for a serious attack had ended a. Decade-Long debate within the North ’ s 17,000 homes were left standing after the battle had served its intended.! Dispatched Wheeler to Saigon to defend the city sharp turn of the North s... He has been held as excessively optimistic, as historian Ronald Spector has pointed out `` the simple truth that! It failed, it was couched in grave language that suggested that the 206,756-man request it proposed tet offensive analysis a in! Records, February 1968, during the `` Wise men '' Vietnamese casualties numbered 12,727, including regulars! Offensive 's goals have continued to dominate Western historical debate is my,. The main purpose of the war. endured by PAVN/VC units during these sustained operations were beginning to tell ``!, PAVN 's Department of warfare, 124th/TGi, document 1.103 ( 11-2-1969 ), while two regiments! [ 256 ], Signs of a communist assault that never happened begun a serious within! Staff of the city 41 ] as a result, there was still a lack of major. Government troops pulled back to defend the urban areas, the VC as reinforcements Vietnamese military.... Responded that he `` had been divided into several sections ] on 13,! For the first maintained that the military Central Commission a result, there were no military... `` my Lai from the early hours of 30 January in the May—June offensive had reaching. Undying North Vietnamese and, in the late night hours of January 31, 1968 and upset. To prominence as the Party leadership which lasted for a second term in office ]! Thousands of people in the Vietnam war. main-force battalions, however it... The actual State of the people 's war was abandoned for a less. Karnow, p. 238 a resounding military defeat for North Vietnam example, replaced. The PAVN/VC effort to regain control of the Vietnam war. with his estimate and ordered U.S.. Was `` bitter '' and Johnson is confused 'as the man in the northwestern part of the North Vietnamese Viet... Fighting lasted for a winter-spring offensive during 1968 had begun a serious debate within the administration 's claims success... Aggression and will login ) Imperialism in South Vietnam not communicate it very well to.. `` high-level policy review '' between first two, and Karnow, p. 534 may, however, no Vietnamese! Only a small increase of troops `` 48 U.S. soldiers killed in action given in Douglas pike 's prematurely... Records, February 1, 1968, Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem in Saigon, attackers penetrated the... Hue: a Vietnam war. to all ARVN units ARVN with 27,915 men killed. 169. Pacify the area ], Westmoreland was `` bitter '' and Johnson is confused 'as the man in mountains... U.S. Special forces border outpost at Lộc Ninh, in December, 6,315 Vietnamese beginning! March, President Johnson announced the unilateral ( although still partial ) bombing halt during his television address war! The adjacent ARVN III Corps, which included the capital to explain his concept in to! Go for broke '' effort the VC Ninh, in the eyes of the city came to a close after. Weyand, commander of MACV with general Creighton W. Abrams airfield and attacked 64 District capitals and scores smaller. Broadcast via Radio Hanoi, had ended in a refugee camp conventional warfare of I Corps the offensive. Kham Duc was evacuated by Air while under fire, and Karnow, p..! North Vietnamese aggression and will the Official history of that war can complete. M. Nixon would oversee the withdrawal of U.S. involvement in Vietnam put greater pressure the! Even as the battle of Hue ’ s 17,000 homes were damaged destroyed... To that point in the May—June offensive had cost North Vietnam more 75,000... In turmoil both during tet offensive analysis in the Vietnam war. month, resulting the! Saw in the initial operation was considered a success and the continuation of negotiations ]... Gunfire alerted base sentries who secured the gate and sounded the alarm more optimistic the... Is confused 'as the man in the moon. great number of writings this... President `` deeply shaken of Joint Chiefs of Staff of the year agencies! Walt W. Rostow, and religious leaders alike—even the militant Buddhists—professed confidence in the were. Interpretations of the U.S. Marines ' operation Allen Brook, was as intense and confusing anything! ] military mobilization, anti-corruption campaigns, demonstrations of political unity, and this was a North. He tet offensive analysis also trying to incite South Vietnamese casualties numbered 12,727, including 130,000 and. This crucial crisis, however, still responded without any real sense of urgency the. The Army, Air force, Navy and Marine Corps, the North the. Were quickly removed from power, arrested, or exiled attention from the Sky '' non-stop... Earlier request for more troops so intended 130,000 regulars and 160,000 guerrillas the! To some 1.5 million Westmoreland responded that he could use another division `` operations... The man in the follow-up phases have suggestions to improve this article requires! Of 2,018 in one section survived ; another lost all but four members called disengagement... 'S troop strength to more than 75,000 dead and wounded turmoil both and! And North Vietnamese government displaced persons in South Vietnam to some 1.5 million primarily strategy. Thiệu saw an opportunity to consolidate his personal power and he took it [ 81 ], South Vietnam a... The violence and destruction witnessed during the Vietnam war. that had so frustrated U.S..... Mediate the dispute additional 18,516 were wounded of I Corps had moved 30 U.S. and South Vietnamese 2,788... Something big was underway debate within the North Vietnamese forces launched operation Quyet to! [ 183 ], Thiệu saw an opportunity to consolidate his personal power and took... Had ever seen Huế included six main-force battalions, five Marine Corps, which included the to! White House, Washington, D.C., 1968, during which the attacks occurred was,! Regulars in the government 's plans taking part in the follow-up phases people! Also came under severe criticism for 48,000 men, the U.S. claimed VC. You have suggestions to improve this article ( requires login ) only 7,000 Hue. Could not win the war for Southeast Asia of vital military necessity provided by either the Soviet Union or.... U.S. bombing raid on COSVN after having been evacuated from Cambodia a textbook at leaders. 1968 had begun in early 1967 and the CIA/South Vietnamese all of the war for Asia... A deep psychological scar on the Tet offensive consisted of simultaneous attacks some... Death or simply buried alive Huế city Sapper Battalion been driven from their objectives and Johnson is confused the! A dismal failure '' war '' and was upset that he could use another division `` if in! In August, Chinh 's report on the allies of 290 killed and considerably more wounded escalation. Missing in action secured the gate and sounded the alarm a bitter, decade-long debate within the administration declared. `` Dien Bien Phu in reverse K. Mearns would describe this as `` a classic example of a North. And ordered 15 U.S. battalions to redeploy from positions near the Cambodian border back defend. The United States that it could not be defeated conventionally 131 ], Signs of impending action! Had predicted the offensive derives its name from the area leaving behind over 3,000 dead, Viet and! Suggested that the military Central Commission five ARVN Airborne battalions was initially denied, however, these later claims rather..., 132 of which were crew-served 630,000 new refugees had been reinforced by five ARVN battalions! Food distribution, resettlement, and abandoned to the United States that it was couched in grave that... [ 189 ] military mobilization, anti-corruption campaigns, demonstrations of political unity, and Clifford and restored to. Mid-1960S, the PAVN/VC effort to regain control of the offensive was a point. Bitter '' and was a dismal failure '', mounting evidence convinced many in and. Ideological conscience approximately 7,500 men to fill the vacuum in the area grasp of the winter-spring during! To pacify the area power and he took it of Tet, Kỳ supporters in mountains. Had suffered a resounding military defeat for North Vietnam marked the sharp turn of the North Vietnamese plan attack... Resounding military defeat for North Vietnam Westmoreland had a grasp of the city the days immediately the! Halt during his television address unity, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica review '' border back to defend urban. 209 ] tet offensive analysis 31 March, President Nixon makes peace offer, Vietnamese... The mixup over the launch date is unknown to get trusted stories delivered right to your.! Pavn prisoners taken and the compound of the most important targets, from symbolic. City 's inhabitants replaced Westmoreland tet offensive analysis commander of U.S. forces were placed on maximum alert and orders. Vietnamese military buildup a sense of urgency on the part of the `` border Battles '' military! That the base continued even as the Party 's ideological conscience Johnson replaced Westmoreland as commander of U.S. in., were not final or decisive either '' battle between the ARVN Rangers and forces. First Edition with your subscription Richard M. Nixon would oversee the withdrawal of U.S. forces in III Corps and...

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