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Vietnam War Dictionary

Tet Offensive

On 30th January 1968, during the Tet New Year holiday and with the siege of Khe Sanh raging, the North Vietnamese launched surprise attacks on all the major cities in South Vietnam in the hope that they would trigger a popular uprising. Viet Cong troops raided the U.S. embassy in Saigon whilst Communist soldiers seized the ancient city of Hue. However, the population failed to rise up in support and the advantage of surprise was quickly overcome, with allied forces inflicting heavy losses on the NVA and crippling the Viet Cong. Though the North Vietnamese were defeated militarily, the potency and scale of their attacks shattered the American public’s confidence in their government’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.

See Drew Dix, Easter Offensive, Pacification, William Westmoreland