Tet Offensive

The Tet Offensive by the North Vietnam Army and Viet Cong; the largest military campaign of the Vietnam War, began the evening of January 30, 1968, when units of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam attacked bases and government facilities of the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States Armed Forces, and allied forces in South Vietnam. During the late summer and fall of 1967 U.S. intelligence agencies had noticed a build-up of forces in South Vietnam, but had not released that intelligence because Gen. Westmoreland, the senior U.S. officer in Vietnam, wanted to appear to be “winning”. However, by mid-December 1967, mounting evidence that something “big” was underway, could not be ignored in Washington or Saigon. On 20 December, Gen. Westmoreland cabled the White House that he expected the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese “to undertake an intensified countrywide effort, perhaps a maximum effort, over a relatively short period of time.” Despite the intelligence of a significant build-up of forces and supplies throughout South Vietnam, the allies were still surprised by the scale and scope of the North Vietnamese offensive. The American people, fed a steady diet of positive news about U.S. efforts to contain the Viet Cong in 1967, were shocked. Support for President Johnson’s re-election campaign slipped. His approval rating fell dramatically. The president announced to the nation that he would not seek re-election in March 1968 , undercutting any chance of a Democrat Party victory in the November election. The Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, won the 1968 election. Republicans would go to win five out of the next six presidential elections.

The assignment is to write an essay about the political effects of the Tet Offensive to America and American influence around the world after 1968. Focus on the overall effect in the United States and abroad instead of specific details. The essay will be in the 5-paragraph format. You must support your opinions with facts you find in your research.

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