Vietnam War – Tet Offensive Analysis

In a short (4-5 page, double spaced essay), answer the following question. There is no need to consult outside sources for this essay other than the attached document. .

Walter Cronkite (document 32) claimed that the Tet offensive showed that the bloody experience in Vietnam is to end in a stalemate, while historians generally consider the Tet offensive to be a military victory, a political defeat, and the turning point to the Vietnam War. Are these accurate assessments? Use the attached documents to assess US civilian, military, and diplomatic perspectives on the Tet offensive.

Some noteworthy issues that should be addressed at some point:

p. 61-63”Remember that this was an election year. Read these polls carefully (as US leaders certainly did) and check the dates to determine how much of any changes can be attributed to Tet.

General Westmoreland”westy, the US military commander in Vietnam, believed that the entire Tet offensive was a prelude to a major communist assault on the fortified US bases in Khe Sanh. His request for 205,000 troops to defend Khe Sanh was pivotal in the public relations battle in the united states, showing that the war was far from over (if not showing Americans that the war would never be over). Track his thinking throughout the Tet offensive”why does he want the troops and how does his thinking change? What impact did this have on the wise men. His February 12 memo is very important, as is the discussion it aroused later that day. Would 205,000 more troops have allowed him to win the war? The 500,000 the wise men discussed?

What did the communists want from the Tet offensive, according to the US ambassador, intelligence, and ed. Lansdale (an expert in counterinsurgency)? Did they succeed. This ties in with whether or not this was a US military victory.

Did the wise men give up on victory Vietnam on February 27? Did gen. Wheeler on March 8? Compare wheeler s statement on March 8 with Westmoreland s in November. Be specific on these”they are probably the most important aspect of the paper.

Give anything involving Westmoreland a lot of attention. He s critical to all of these issues.

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