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How did the Tet Offensive affect the course of the Vietnam War?

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pmslas | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 30, 2013 at 10:50 PM via iOS

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How did the Tet Offensive affect the course of the Vietnam War?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 30, 2013 at 10:57 PM (Answer #1)

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The Tet Offensive is generally seen as one of the most important single events in the war.  It affected the course of the war by badly degrading the will of the American people to fight that war.

In 1968, the US had been involved in the war for over a decade.  It had been heavily involved, with hundreds of thousands of personnel in South Vietnam, for about three years.  Americans were becoming restless.  The Johnson administration tried very hard to reassure the American public that all was well.  They argued that the enemy was on its last legs and that the war would be over soon.  When the communists launched the Tet Offensive, they destroyed the credibility of the Johnson administration.  Even though their offensive failed in military terms, it was strategically very successful.  It showed that they were not really all that close to being defeated.  That made it clear that the government had not been truthful with its people.  The American people lost faith in their government and started to push for an end to the war.

In this way, the Tet Offensive played a very important role in changing the course of the war.

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