The Vietnam War

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

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The Tet Offensive, named for the Vietnamese New Year on which the North Vietnamese Army and its Viet Cong guerrilla allies launched a surprise large-scale series of terrorist attacks against the government of South Vietnam and the United States military and diplomatic presence, marked the beginning of the end of the U.S. role in Southeast Asia.  Until that January 30, 1968 offensive, the administration of President Lyndon Johnson and his military commander in South Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, had been able to argue persuasively to the American public that the United States and its South Vietnamese allies were prevailing over their communist enemies.  The Tet Offensive, while an overwhelming military victory for the U.S. and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) -- the Viet Cong and its once-formidable infrastructure was largely eliminated as a major problem and the North Vietnamese Army suffered serious losses in battles like that at the ancient city of Khe San -- the...

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