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1. 2 The Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975. It involved the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (NLF)

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Presentation on theme: "1. 2 The Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975. It involved the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (NLF)"— Presentation transcript:

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2 2 The Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975. It involved the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (NLF) in conflict with United States forces and the South Vietnamese army. Conflict in Vietnam

3 3 The longest military conflict in U.S. history (1965-1973). The hostilities in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. Vietnam War

4 4 Vietnam was divided in half in 1954: –North Communist –South Democracy In 1965 the US sent in troops to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing and turning all of Vietnam Communist. Why US Involvement?

5 5 Leading up to Tet… Between 1965 and 1967, the US increased its military presence dramatically. This policy led to increased anti-war demonstrations in America. The US government claimed progress was being made.

6 6 Monk in South Vietnam lights himself on fire to protest South Vietnamese government. Self-Immolation also in US (1965): –Norman Morrison –Alice Herz –Roger LaPorte Extreme Protest

7 7 In November 1967 General Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support. In a speech before the National Press Club he said that a point in the war had been reached "where the end comes into view." Light at the End of the Tunnel

8 8 Khe Sahn January 21, 1968 - 20,000 NVA troops under the command of Gen. Giap attack the American air base at Khe Sanh. A 77 day siege begins as 5000 U.S. Marines in the isolated outpost are encircled.

9 9 US focus was on the siege of Khe Shahn. General Giap knew Americans were protesting war at home. Media attention was becoming key factor. Giap also wanted to start a people’s uprising in the South against the US. On the Eve of Tet

10 10 Giap’s Overall Goal Giap was aware of the growing US peace movement and of the deep divisions the war was causing in American society. What the General needed was a body-blow that would break Washington's will to carry on. Wanted a quick and decisive victory that would be well in time for the 1968 US Presidential campaign.

11 11 What is Tet? Tet is the most important and popular holiday and festival in Vietnam. It is the Vietnamese New Year which is based on the Lunar calendar. Usually a 3 day holiday; end of January.

12 12 Tet Holiday 1968 Truce was declared so both sides of conflict could celebrate Tet with their families. NVA and Viet Cong began sneaking into cities with smuggled weapons. –Used flower carts, jury rigged coffins and trucks supposedly filled with rice and vegetables. They were disguised as peasants, refugees and workers.

13 13 Tet Offensive Begins January 31, 1968 - 84,000 Viet Cong guerrillas aided by NVA troops launch the Tet Offensive attacking a hundred cities and towns throughout South Vietnam. They used the Tet truce agreement to aid the element of surprise.

14 14 35 of 44 provincial capitals including the ancient city of Hue. Capital of South Vietnam – Saigon. US Embassy in Saigon. Major Targets

15 15 January 31, 1968 19 VC commandos blew their way through the outer walls of the Embassy and overran the five MP's on duty. 2 MP's were killed as the VC tried to blast their way through the main Embassy doors with anti- tank rockets. Attack on US Embassy

16 16 The VC failed and found themselves pinned- down by the Marine guards who kept the VC in an intense firefight. By mid-morning, the battle had turned. All 19 VC were killed, their bodies scattered around the Embassy courtyard. Attack Fails

17 17 January 31- March 2 12,000 NVA and Viet Cong troops storm the lightly defended historical city. South Vietnamese troops and three U.S. Marine battalions counter-attack and engage in the heaviest fighting of the entire Tet Offensive. See pictures on next slide. Battle for Hue

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19 19 Over 3000 "enemies of the people" including South Vietnamese government officials, captured South Vietnamese officers, and Catholic priests were executed by the Viet Cong and NVA in Hue. Massacre in Hue

20 20 Tet Offensive: Success or Failure Much like the Vietnam war itself, deciding whether Tet was a success or a failure is very confusing ! Either way, the Tet Offensive today is seen as the turning point of the war.

21 21 Tet Offensive: Failure Militarily for the NVA and VC, it was a huge failure. All attacks were turned back and the uprisings predicted did not take place. Crippling losses for NVA and VC would make it years before the NVA could launch another big scale attack. The Viet Cong would never recover fully from the losses they sustained during the Tet Offensive.

22 22 Losses during Tet Offensive

23 23 The Tet Offensive was both a big public relations and psychological victory for the communists. There were several reasons Giap was able to claim success after the offensive. Tet Offensive: Success

24 24 Contradiction The optimistic assessments made prior to the Tet offensive by the administration and the Pentagon came under heavy criticism The "credibility gap" that had opened in 1967 widened into a chasm. Many Americans did not believe LBJ or Gen. Westmoreland’s assessment of the war.

25 25 Parts of the Tet Offensive were captured on film. Many Americans saw first hand the assault on the US embassy in Saigon. Brought the war home for many Americans. Next slide is one of the most famous images from the Vietnam War. The “Living Room” War

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27 27 "For it seems now more certain than ever," Cronkite said, "that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." After watching Cronkite's broadcast, LBJ was quoted as saying. "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Respected CBS Anchorman turns against the War in Vietnam Walter Cronkite

28 28 The pressure from Vietnam on President Johnson increased after Tet. On March 31, 1968, Johnson announced that he would not seek another term as President. Political Fallout in US

29 29 American Losses Starting with the Tet Offensive in January; 1968 became the bloodiest and costliest year for US troops in Vietnam. Losses in 1968 made the call to bring the troops home louder.

30 30 Anti-War Movement The Tet Offensive also helped unite those at home in their dissenting opinions of the war. The Anti-War movement really began to strengthen, especially during the election year of 1968.

31 31 Conclusion The Tet Offensive importance lies in the fact that it broke the will of the American government and people to continue the fight. Tet turned many people, especially the US media, against the Vietnam War.

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