The Tet Offensive: The Turning Point in the Vietnam War
On the night of January 31, 1968 the North Vietnamese army and the National Liberation Front launched the Tet Offensive. The NLF broke the truce they had made for the New Year festivities and fought its way into more than one hundred cities, including the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. Throughout the country provincial capitals were seized, garrisons simultaneously attacked. Vietnamese irregular soldiers stormed the highland towns of Banmethout, Kontum and Pleiku, they then simultaneously invaded 13 of the 16 provincial capitals of the heavily populated Mekong Delta. The dimension and sweep of the offensive astonished U.S. army generals, one of whom commented that tracking the assault pattern on a map was like a pinball machine, lighting up with each raid. The Tet Offensive was one of the most daring military campaigns in history. It was the real turning point in the Vietnam War. On its 40th anniversary, Alan Woods analyzes the events that led to the Vietnam War and the significance of the Tet Offensive in bringing about the defeat of U.S. imperialism, and draws some parallels with the war in Iraq.
By Alan Woods.
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