Presentation on theme: "The Tet Offensive The term "Tet offensive" usually refers to the January-February 1968 NLF offensive, but it can also include the so-called "mini-Tet""— Presentation transcript:
1TheTet OffensiveThe term "Tet offensive" usually refers to the January-February 1968 NLF offensive, but it can also include the so-called "mini-Tet" offensives that took place in May and August.
3Conflict in VietnamThe Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from c to 1975.It involved the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (NLF) in conflict with Australian, United States forces, other allies and the South Vietnamese army.
4Vietnam WarThe longest military conflict in Australian and US history ( ). Nailing down a date can be difficult.Australia suffered 521 killed and 2398 wounded, of whom 43 percent were national servicemen.The hostilities in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans.
5Why get Involved? Some Revision Vietnam was divided in half in 1954:North CommunistSouth DemocracyIn 1965 Australia, the US and other allies sent in troops to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing and turning all of Vietnam Communist.
6Leading 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.
7Extreme ProtestThere was tension in Vietnam during the lead up to Tet.At Right a Monk in South Vietnam lights himself on fire to protest South Vietnamese government.
8Light at the End of the Tunnel 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."
9Light at the End of the Tunnel SOURCE CRITICISMIs this source accurate and reliable?What inherent bias may it possess?Light at the End of the TunnelIn 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."
10Khe SahnJanuary 21, ,000 NVA troops under the command of Gen. Giap attack the American air base at Khe Sanh.A 77 day siege begins as 6000 U.S. Marines and ARVN troops in the isolated outpost are encircled.
11The Battle of Khe SahnFind Khe Sahn and see where it lies with respect to the 17th ParallelWhy do you think the US put a base there?Do you think they had learnt anything from Dien Bien Phu?
12On the Eve of Tet 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.
13Giap’s Overall GoalGiap 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.
14What 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.
15Tet Holiday 1968Truce 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, rigged coffins and trucks supposedly filled with rice and vegetables.They were disguised as peasants, refugees and workers.
16Tet Offensive BeginsJanuary 31, ,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.
17Go to page 103 of your text to study the Ho Chi Minh trail Major Goals35 of 44 provincial capitals including the ancient city of Hue.The capital of South Vietnam – Saigon.US Embassy in Saigon.ARVN UnitsShow of StrengthDiversions & False FrontsGo to page 103 of your text to study the Ho Chi Minh trail
18The Ho Chi Minh TrailThe USA tried very hard to interdict or destroy the trail.Looking at the photos of the trail why do you think they were unable to do this?
19Battle for Saigon January 31- March 7 35 NVA and Viet Cong battalions are defeated by 50 battalions of American and Allied troops that had been positioned to protect the city on a hunch by Gen. Fred Weyand.Weyand became known as the “Savior of Saigon” for his actions.
20Attack on US Embassy 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.
21Attack FailsThe 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.
22Battle for Hue 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.
24Massacre in HueOver 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.
26What Happened to Giap’s Goals? Giap’s plan had called for a quick victory. He was overextended, under supplied and without reinforcements. The quick win did not happen.ARVN forces stood their ground.Us Air power was crucialNo uprising resulted
27Tet 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.
28Tet 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.
30Tet Offensive: Success 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.
31ContradictionThe optimistic assessments made prior to the Tet offensive by the administration and the Pentagon came under heavy criticismThe "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.
32The Five O’Clock Follies A Distorted ViewNeil Davis – one of Australia’s greatest war correspondents was one of the most vocal opponents of these eventsBetween 1965 and 1968 US television networks distorted the view of the warThey portrayed it as a romantic, heroic struggleThey uncritically accepted the version of events presented to them by US generals daily at 5pm.The Allied public were lead to believe they were winning the warHow could he know better than the generals and the other journalists?
33Parts of the Tet Offensive were captured on film. The “Living Room” WarParts of the Tet Offensive were captured on film.Many Australians & Americans saw first hand the assault on the US embassy in Saigon.Brought the war home for many.Next slide is one of the most famous images from the Vietnam War.
35Is this source accurate and reliable? SOURCE CRITICISMIs this source accurate and reliable?What inherent bias may it possess?
36Does that make a difference to that photo? 1968: AP PhotoChief of Police of Saigon Nguyen Ngoc Loan, whose execution of a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon became one of the most chilling images of the Vietnam War.Eddie Adams, whose photo of the execution won a Pulitzer Prize for The Associated Press, said:the man Loan shot had been seen killing others and that the execution was justified.Some of those killed were the families of General Loan's deputy and close friend, and six of whom were Loan's godchildren.Does that make a difference to that photo?
37Respected CBS Anchorman turns against the War in Vietnam Walter Cronkite"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
38Walter Cronkite SOURCE CRITICISM Are these sources relevant and representative?What inherent bias may they possess?Walter Cronkite"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
39Political Fallout in the US The pressure from Vietnam on President Johnson increased after Tet.What were the consequences of LBJ’s decision to resign?How might the public interpret this picture?
40American LossesStarting 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.
41Can you Identify any patterns here? Australian LossesAustralian Army casualties in Vietnam by year, 1962–72BC = Battle casualtyNBC = Non-battle casualtyAustralian War memorial12/9/10Can you Identify any patterns here?YearBCNBCTotal19621963119641965115161966567631967708119681021071969959104197054651971281240197241761478
42Overall Cost of the Tet Offensive alone Allied Strength:c. 1,000,000VC & NVA Strength: 400, ,000Total Allied military casualties: Approximately 45,820 casualties:9,078 killed35,212 wounded1,530 missingTotal VC & NVA military casualties:Approximately 111,179 casualties:44,842 killed61,267 wounded5,070 missingCivilian: 14,000 killed, 24,000 wounded
43Anti-War MovementThe 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.
44ConclusionThe Tet Offensive importance lies in the fact that it broke the will of the American people to continue the fight and consequently, the American Government .Tet turned many people, especially the US media, against the Vietnam War.
46A modern equivalent of Tet This is an empathy exercise. Click on the link. It is to a site that may shock you about an event currently going on. How you feel may enable you to imagine how people were shocked by Tet.