Tet 1968: The Victory That Wasn’t
Fifty years ago today, Communist authorities in North Vietnam launched an attack – the Tet Offensive of 1968 – designed to turn the tide of the Vietnam War. Conditions were ripe, they thought, to mortally wound the South’s Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN), hit at U.S. forces on the ground, and eat further into waning public support for the war in America.
They were right about the discontent on the American home front but wrong about the ARVN, which fought well, and especially wrong about the resilience of the U.S. military.
Bud Meador, a military historian at the U.S. Army General Command and Staff College, examines a two-month struggle that proved to be an anomaly. The North was dealt a battlefield defeat. But it succeeded in souring public opinion in the U.S., leading to the withdrawal of American forces and South Vietnam’s collapse.