What was the Tet Offensive?
The Tet Offensive was the series of surprise attacks on major cities, towns, and military bases all throughout South Vietnam. These were launched by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops.
General Westmoreland declared that the Tet offensive was a major defeat for the Vietcong. From a military standpoint, he was right. The Vietcong lost about 32,000 soldiers during attacks. The United States and South Vietnam lost only 3,000 soldiers. The Tet offensive shattered America's confidence in the war. The Tet offensive lasted for a month.
The Tet offensive was a major offensive launched by the NVA and the VC. It was a series of simultaneous attacks across South Vietnam during the Lunar New Year of Tet. The U.S. had signed a peace agreement for Tet and the North Vietnamese violated this agreement catching the U.S. off guard. Although the Tet Offensive failed on the North's part, it showed that they were very capable of composing strong attacks against their enemies.
tet offensive The 1968 offensive launched by the South Vietnamese was called the Tet offensive. It was called the Tet Offensive because it began in the early morning of 31 January 1968, which is Tết Nguyên Đán, the first day of the year on a traditional lunar calendar and the most significant Vietnamese holiday.
Tet is the Vietnamese New Year, and until 1968 they celebrated rather than fought. In 1968, the Vietnamese soldiers went on the offensive on Tet taking our soldiers by surprise and in the process, cutting off some of our outlying posts, and killing a large number of our soldiers. In 1968 alone, the U.S. lost nearly 17,000 and the Tet offensive had set the tone for the year.
Militarily, the Tet offensive was a failure - the Viet Cong/North Vietnamese were unable to hold the cities they had attacked. Politically, Tet was a success - as a result of Tet, President Johnson realized that the US could not win the war, even with greatly increased effort, and he began the (very protracted) negotiations to end it.
The main impact of Tet was to harden US civilians' resolve against the war. This is because Tet, on the ground, was an absolute disaster for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. We had been led to believe the Vietnamese couldn't launch an offensive like this, and when it happened it shocked the Americans.