Was The Tet Offensive A Significant Turning Point?

846 words - 3 pages

"The Tet Offensive was a significant turning point in the Vietnam War" How far do you agree with this view?1,200-500 WORDSIntroductionDefinition. The Tet Offensive was a surprise attack by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong on the Americans. The Americans prevailed, however the public was deeply affected by this event.Two sides to the debateAnswer the question - which side is stronger?Paragraph OnePublic support for the Vietnam War dramatically dropped after the Tet Offensive, largely due to negative media 39% -> 26% approved of Johnsons handling of Vietnam48% -> 36% approved of Johnsons handling as a president Poll EvidenceHawks began to change their viewsWalter Cronkite said "to say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as honourable people who lived to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could".In response to Walter Cronkite's change in attitude President Johnson stated 'If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America'. (How far do I agree with this point?).Walter Cronkite was an extremely influential and famous news presenter. His words affected most of America, and many Americans admitted to psychological defeat of Vietnam. (Tet may have been a military victory, however due to the media's portrayal of the occurrence it proved to be a psychological defeat). Tet opened the American's eyes to the real horrors of the war and they were terrified by what they saw. It therefore caused increased numbers of people to put pressure on the government to withdraw from Vietnam, and restore peace in America.The Mai-Lai massacre took place in response to Tet (also caused public support to drop)Many pictures of the massacre were shown to Americans, who were horrified by what was really happening in Vietnam and they couldn't believe that their revered General had performed this crime. No American had been shot at during the massacre.The Mai-Lai massacre was a turning point in itself, however without the Tet Offensive having taken place this massacre may have not occurred. The Americans became more strategic in their rooting out of the Viet Cong after the Tet Offensive, and regularly went on 'search and destroy' missions. This was a 'search and destroy' mission; however this was clearly an excuse for Americans to kill a large amount of people, as no Americans were shot at during the procedure. This caused public support to drop even...

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