Essay on The Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War

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The Tet Offensive

The Tet Offensive was a major assault by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong against South Vietnam and the U.S. forces situated there. It was not only a psychological advance for the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, but also gave the United States a notion that the war wasn’t going to be an easy win, and the chances of winning the war were, in fact, very slim.

The war initially was an attempt to limit the spread of communism throughout
Asia. Similar to Korea, Vietnam was in a civil war divided by political ideologies. (2) The Domino Effect is the idea that when one nation falls to communism, other nations around it in time will fall (2). Under the fear of this happening in Vietnam, the United
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Live coverage of the VC attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon gave the American public a different view on the war (7). Now, not only had attacks been made on the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and U.S. forces, but fire had also been directed at
American diplomatic soil. An even more negative impact came from the public execution of a VC suspect. Without trial, he was sentenced to death, and within minutes was shot in the head by an ARVN regular from point-blank range in the streets of Saigon. (6) The release of this footage, as well as other footage that revealed unjust treatment of
Vietnamese, gave the antiwar effort more strength (4).

Eventually, the media’s coverage was a severe blow to the war effort. In a live
CBS broadcast in 1968, Walter Cronkite gave his own personal opinion of the war. “It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” (3) Though he never actually said it “on the record,” the American public viewed the statement as labeling the war un-winnable (6).

Because of the shift in public opinion, Lyndon Baines Johnson, President of the
United States, decided not to run for Democratic Party nomination in the upcoming election (3). He felt that he was certain to lose. After viewing Cronkite’s broadcast, he turned to his press secretary and said, “If I’ve lost Walter, I’ve lost Mr. Average Citizen.”

As for the U.S. forces and the
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