Tags: Polls | Presidential History | vietnam | johnson | kennedy | king

50 Years Ago Today, Tet Offensive Began

Image: 50 Years Ago Today, Tet Offensive Began
In February of 1968, a unit of the U.S. Marines rested along a wall of Hue's imperial palace after a battle during the Tet Offensive. Early on the morning of Jan. 31, 1968, as Vietnamese celebrated the Lunar New Year, or Tet, Communist forces launched a wave of surprise attacks in South Vietnam. Heavy casualties ensued in cities and towns across the South. (AP)

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018 05:34 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On Jan. 30, 1968, North Vietnamese troops launched attacks on 13 cities in central South Vietnam. A day later, they expanded the assault and even attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.[1]

The political impact was so staggering that just two months later, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not run for re-election. These events were just the beginning of a tumultuous year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, battles between protesters and police at the Democratic National Convention, and a race-driven third party presidential campaign by Alabama Governor George Wallace that won 46 Electoral College votes in five Southern states.

At the other extreme, 1968 was to produce an amazing milestone for the human race. For the first time ever, men orbited the moon.

Ironically, the Tet Offensive failed in its primary purpose. The North Vietnamese forces hoped to create a rebellion in South Vietnam. While that objective was not achieved, the Tet Offensive had a major impact on U.S. perceptions of the war.

Prior to these unexpected attacks, military leaders had been predicting that victory was close. After the offensive, President Johnson announced he would halt bombing in most of North Vietnam and called for peace talks. From that moment on, the U.S. focused on how to get out of the war rather than on how to win it.

Footnotes:

  1. History, "Tet Offensive," accessed January 29, 2018

Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.

Scott Rasmussen is founder and president of the Rasmussen Media Group. He is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," "In Search of Self-Governance," and "The People’s Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt." Read more reports from Scott Rasmussen — Click Here Now.


 

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After the offensive, President Johnson announced he would halt bombing in most of North Vietnam and called for peace talks. From that moment on, the U.S. focused on how to get out.
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Tuesday, 30 January 2018 05:34 PM
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