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Week 2 – The Tet Offensive

Hey guys, and welcome back to another weekly post. In class this week we were focusing on different adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. One of these adaptations was a 1968 version by Franco Zeffirelli. So Ms. Willemse had us learn all the major events that occurred in 1968. One of these was the Tet Offensive. Now I didn’t know exactly what this was before, so when Mr. Hughes brought it up with me, he was very disappointed I didn’t know. This post is all about telling you why he was disappointed in me, and making sure you aren’t a disappointment either. Its time to learn about Tet!

Tet, or Tet Nguyen Dan, is a Vietnamese Lunar New Year holiday, which occurs from 7 to 9 days. It marks the first day of the Lunar new year, February 12th. It is the most popular Vietnamese festival of the year, and often cities will take to the streets for days to celebrate Tet. Another reason why Tet is so big is that the Vietnamese celebrate major holidays like Tet, Christmas, and Easter very extravagantly. These holidays are very important, and birthdays are less important than these. Mr. Hughes was disappointed in me because not only am I Vietnamese, but my family was most definitely impacted by the Tet offensive. But why was this Tet offensive so brutal and important in the Vietnam War?

Tet celebration in San Jose

Think back to when you celebrate a holiday. It is generally very peaceful, you are happy and content with (hopefully) some vacation from work or school. It is most definitely not the time you would expect your neighbour busting your door down and attacking you. Well the Tet offensive was essentially that. On January 30th, 1968, just days before Tet, the Viet COng launched a series of surprise attacks on the South Vietnamese and American forces. Initially, the attack was a success, and the North Vietnamese captured a number of South Vietnamese cities. The South Vietnamese and the Americans were initially stunned, but soon recaptured many cities. This was not without casualties, as the South lost over 45,000 soldiers. 

The North Vietnamese has launched the attack hoping that it would spark an uprising. This never came. This would eventually lead to the Battle of Hue, which resulted in the destruction of the city and a massacre of thousands by the Viet Cong.

The Tet Offensive opened the eyes of the American public that this wasn’t a war to be involved in

 

Why was the Tet Offensive so important for Americans? It resulted in a victory for them, but back home, the American population was shocked at the brutality of the war. Reserves had to be mobilized, and many people began to doubt the effectiveness of joining such a war. As we all know, this led to anti-war protests and veterans from Vietnam being treated horribly by the American public, so this Tet offensive really changed the view Americans had on war. They were no longer the invulnerable powerhouse. For the first time ever, USA was losing a war.

Works Cited:

“Tet Offensive” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tet_Offensive, Accessed 18 Jan, 2021

Sullivan, M. “The civil rights and Vietnam protests changed America. Today, they might be illegal.” The Washington Post, 24 Sep, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-civil-rights-and-vietnam-protests-changed-america-today-they-might-be-illegal/2017/09/22/ae57f778-9ed9-11e7-8ea1-ed975285475e_story.html, Accessed 18 Jan, 2021

Carroll, J. “The regrets of a Former Anti-War Protester” The Nation, 29 May, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/tom-dispatch-trump-iran-anti-war-protest-vietnam/, accessed 18 Jan, 2021

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