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1 The term "Tet offensive" usually refers to the January-February 1968 NLF offensive, but it can also include the so- called "mini-Tet" offensives that.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The term "Tet offensive" usually refers to the January-February 1968 NLF offensive, but it can also include the so- called "mini-Tet" offensives that."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The 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.

2 Part I The Military Battle 2

3  The Vietnam War was a military struggle fought in Vietnam from c to  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. 3

4  The 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. 4

5  Vietnam was divided in half in 1954:  North Communist  South Democracy  In 1965 Australia, the US and other allies sent in troops to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing and turning all of Vietnam Communist. 5

6  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

7  There 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. 7

8  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." 8

9  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." 9 SOURCE CRITICISM Is this source accurate and reliable? What inherent bias may it possess?

10  January 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. 10

11  Find Khe Sahn and see where it lies with respect to the 17 th Parallel  Why do you think the US put a base there?  Do you think they had learnt anything from Dien Bien Phu? 11

12  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. 12

13  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. 13

14  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. 14

15 15  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, rigged coffins and trucks supposedly filled with rice and vegetables.  They were disguised as peasants, refugees and workers.

16  January 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. 16

17  35 of 44 provincial capitals including the ancient city of Hue.  The capital of South Vietnam – Saigon.  US Embassy in Saigon.  ARVN Units  Show of Strength  Diversions & False Fronts Go to page 103 of your text to study the Ho Chi Minh trail 17

18  The 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? 18

19  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. 19

20  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. 20

21  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. 21

22  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. 22

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24  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. 24

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26  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 crucial  No uprising resulted 26

27  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. 27

28  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. 28

29 Part II The Propaganda Battle Revision 29

30  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. 30

31  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. 31

32 A DISTORTED VIEW NEIL DAVIS – ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S GREATEST WAR CORRESPONDENTS WAS ONE OF THE MOST VOCAL OPPONENTS OF THESE EVENTS  Between 1965 and 1968 US television networks distorted the view of the war  They portrayed it as a romantic, heroic struggle  They 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 war 32 How could he know better than the generals and the other journalists?

33  Parts 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. 33

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35 35 SOURCE CRITICISM Is this source accurate and reliable? What inherent bias may it possess?

36  Chief 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? 36

37  "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." 37 Respected CBS Anchorman turns against the War in Vietnam

38  "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." 38 Respected CBS Anchorman turns against the War in Vietnam SOURCE CRITICISM Are these sources relevant and representative? What inherent bias may they possess?

39  The pressure from Vietnam on President Johnson increased after Tet.  What were the consequences of LBJ’s decision to resign? 39 How might the public interpret this picture?

40  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. 40

41 Australian Army casualties in Vietnam by year, 1962–72 BC = Battle casualty NBC = Non-battle casualty Australian War memorial 12/9/10 Can you Identify any patterns here? YearBCNBCTotal Total

42 ALLIED STRENGTH: C. 1,000,000 VC & NVA STRENGTH: 400, ,000  Total Allied military casualties : Approximately 45,820 casualties:  9,078 killed  35,212 wounded  1,530 missing  Total VC & NVA military casualties : Approximately 111,179 casualties:  44,842 killed  61,267 wounded  5,070 missing 42 Civilian: 14,000 killed, 24,000 wounded

43  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

44  The 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. 44

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46 A 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. 46


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