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A Pyrrhic Victory Is Defined, Per Merriam-Webster, As “A

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A pyrrhic victory is defined, per Merriam-Webster, as “A victory that is not worth winning because so much is lost to achieve it.” For much of America in the era of the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive could be defined as such a victory. In this paper I will first define the Tet Offensive in a concise manner, give the arguments supporting an American victory and the reciprocal considering a North Vietnamese victory, and finally make a conclusion supporting the thesis that in the long term, the North Vietnamese defeated the South Vietnamese and by proxy the Americans, peaking at the Tet Offensive. Early in 1968, the North Vietnamese concocted and pursued an attack on an American base near the town of Khe Sanh. The base, originally built in…show more content…
Starting at 3:00 A.M. on the 31st of January, the North Vietnamese regulars and Vietcong (North Vietnamese sympathizers and guerillas in South Vietnam) performed attacks on many provincial capitals and major cities, also attacking U.S. bases. This force of over 80,000 men contributed to the largest offensive action the Americans had seen since the start of the war. The size of the individual attacks varied but followed a rehearsed and well-planned out plan consisting of different waves starting with sappers, main forces, and propaganda forces. It becomes increasingly clear to the ARVN and the U.S. forces that these attacks weren’t just random hit-runs that became the status quo of the enemy, this was a well-thought attack strategy. The military high command was still insisting that Khe Sanh was the real target of the large-scale offensive and had underestimated the North Vietnamese ability to congeal into a major offensive fighting force, while the media was watching it all. The exact ending date can be hard to pin down, and most American accounts place it at the end of March with the lifting of the Siege of Khe Sanh. However, for the North Vietnamese, the fighting that continued late into September was part of the plan starting with the Tet Offensive. After the heavy losses occurred during the earlier fighting, the North Vietnamese sent down replacements of equal size to the original force, but the offensive came at no surprise to the Allies. For the military,
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