The Tet Offensive Essay

959 words - 4 pages

The Vietnam War was one of the most prolonged wars in US history. Although there were no exact dates, it is believed that US involvement lasted for around 20 years. The US went into this war hoping they could stop the spread of communism and defeat the northern Vietnamese. The battles were like nothing they had seen before and it was very difficult for the soldiers to differentiate between the enemies and civilians. To make it even more difficult for the soldiers, their “information was based on faulty intelligence”. Võ Nguyên Giáp, a northern Vietnamese general, believed that the US and the southern Vietnamese had an unstable relationship. He hoped that through the Tet Offensive the US ...view middle of the document...

Johnson, in a way, needed to “sell the war” and convince people to support it. The war administration was told to withhold information that might turn people against it. For example, “until 1967, the American military did not release a total count of killed and missing U.S. troops”. Johnson intentionally lied to the public saying things like, “the enemy had been defeated battle after battle” and, “our patience and our perseverance will match our power. Aggression will never prevail”. The truth was only able to be hidden until a news reporter named Walter Cronkite witnessed first hand a few of the battles and was completely shocked at the violence and desperation of the Viet Cong. He exclaimed, “What the hell is going on?—I thought we were winning the war.” When he got back from Vietnam, February 27, he made a news broadcast telling the world of the horrors of the Vietnam War. Americans were shocked by the disturbing images from the press that told a completely different story from the government, people became disillusioned with the government. This new reality overextend the already growing credibility gap to a breaking point. Even the press no longer believed the information that the army and the government were telling them after they received this news. The Tet Offensive horrified all of the american people convincing them that there would never be an end to this war.

Once news of just how widespread this battle was broke, President Johnson was so disappointed in himself and the army that he lost all desire to run for president again and decided to call for a negotiated peace. Things were looking up for the war before the offensive and most Americans believed that the war would be over soon. The NLF (National Liberation Front), or the north Vietnamese government, became...

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