tet offencive.docx - 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1.1...

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1CHAPTER IINTRODUCTION1.1Background of the StudyAs the celebration of the lunar new year, Tet is the most important holiday on theVietnamese calendar. In previous years, the holiday had been the occasion for an informaltruce in theVietnam Warbetween South Vietnam and North Vietnam The Tet Offensivewas a coordinated series of North Vietnamese attacks on more than 100 cities andoutposts in South Vietnam. The offensive was an attempt to foment rebellion among theSouth Vietnamese population and encourage the United States to scale back itsinvolvement in the Vietnam War. Though U.S. and South Vietnamese forces managed tohold off the attacks, news coverage of the massive offensive shocked the American publicand eroded support for the war effort. Despite heavy casualties, North Vietnam achieved astrategic victory with the Tet Offensive, as the attacks marked a turning point in theVietnam War and the beginning of the slow, painful American withdrawal from theregion.On the early morning of January 30, 1968, Viet Cong forces attacked 13 cities in centralSouth Vietnam, just as many families began their observances of the lunar new year.Twenty-four hours later, PAVN and Viet Cong forces struck a number of other targetsthroughout South Vietnam, including cities, towns, government buildings and U.S. orARVN military bases throughout South Vietnam, in a total of more than 120 attacks.In a particularly bold attack on the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, a Viet Cong platoon gotinside the complex’s courtyard before U.S. forces destroyed it. The audacious attack onthe U.S. Embassy, and its initial success, stunned American and international observers,who saw images of the carnage broadcast on television as it occurred.Though Giap hadsucceeded in achieving surprise, his forces were spread too thin in the ambitious
2offensive, and U.S. and ARVN forces managed to successfully counter most of the attacksand inflict heavy Viet Cong losses.Particularly intense fighting took place in the city of Hue, located on the Perfume Riversome 50 miles south of the border between North and South Vietnam.The Battle of Huewould rage for more than three weeks after PAVN and Viet Cong forces burst into the cityon January 31, easily overwhelming the government forces there and taking control of thecity’s ancient citadel. Early in their occupation of Hue, Viet Cong soldiers conductedhouse-to-house searches, arresting civil servants, religious leaders, teachers and othercivilians connected with American forces or with the South Vietnamese regime. Theyexecuted these so-called counter-revolutionaries and buried their bodies in mass graves.U.S. and ARVN forces discovered evidence of the massacre after they regained control ofthe city on February 26. In addition to more than 2,800 bodies, another 3,000 residentswere missing, and the occupying forces had destroyed many of the grand city’s temples,palaces and other monuments.The toughest fighting in Hue occurred at the ancient

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Term
Fall
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Vietnam War, Tet Offensive

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