Tet Offensive Turning Point

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Paper #2 The Tet offensive proved to be the turning point of the war, delivering a fatal blow to political support for the war in the United States. Even though Tet was a disappointing defeat for North Vietnam in strictly military terms, it exposed the bankruptcy of U.S. war policy and aims in Vietnam, and paved the way for America’s eventual humiliation. The most surprising aspect of the Tet offensive was that it was not really a surprise at all. Yet the episode shows how even a superior force can be taken by surprise both militarily and politically when it lacks the initiative in war. Since the North Vietnamese had the initiative instead of the U.S., it was possible for their elaborate campaign of deception to succeed in maintaining the element of surprise, even though the U.S. discovered numerous details of the attack to come. After General Westmoreland took over command in Vietnam, he decided that far more American combat involvement was necessary to enable the struggling South Vietnamese military to resist the more disciplined and organized Communists. The general had gained approval for the buildup of troops because American troops seemed to be winning most of their battles with the North Vietnamese and the Communist guerrillas in South Vietnam. Westmorland’s idea was to use superior American force, supported by overwhelming air bombardment and artillery fire, not to seize or hold territory but to kill enemy soldiers in their jungle…show more content…
American support for the war was at an all time low and Tet does seem to be a key factor, proof was found that the enemy suffered a major military loss from the failed offensive and a major turning point occurred for the U.S. in terms of their position in Vietnam. Bibliography WHITNEY, CRAIG R., and ERIC PACE. "William C. Westmoreland Is Dead at 91; General Led U.S. Troops in Vietnam." The New York Times. N.p., 27 July 2005. Web. 11 Dec.
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