50 Years Ago Today – The Tet Offensive

I was seven years old.

In late January, 1968, during the lunar new year (or “Tet”) holiday, North Vietnamese and communist Viet Cong forces launched a coordinated attack against a number of targets in South Vietnam. The U.S. and South Vietnamese militaries sustained heavy losses before finally repelling the communist assault. The Tet Offensive played an important role in weakening U.S. public support for the war in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh and leaders in Hanoi planned the Tet Offensive in the hopes of achieving a decisive victory that would end the grinding conflict that frustrated military leaders on both sides. A successful attack on major cities might force the United States to negotiate or perhaps even to withdraw. At the very least, the North Vietnamese hoped it would serve to stop the ongoing escalation of guerilla attacks and bombing in the North. Hanoi selected the Tet holiday to strike because it was traditionally a time of truce, and because Vietnamese traveling to spend the festival with their relatives provided cover for the movement of South Vietnamese National Liberation Forces (NLF) who supported the communist forces.

The first phase of the assault began on January 30 and 31, when NLF forces simultaneously attacked a number of targets, mostly populated areas and places with heavy U.S. troop presence. The strikes on the major cities of Huế and Saigon had a strong psychological impact, as they showed that the NLF troops were not as weak as the Johnson Administration had previously claimed. The NLF even managed to breach the outer walls of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Although the first phase of the offensive became the most famous, a second phase also launched simultaneous assaults on smaller cities and towns on May 4 and stretched into June. A third phase began in August and lasted six weeks. In the months that followed, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces retook the towns that the NLF had secured over the course of the offensive, but they incurred heavy military and civilian casualties in the process.

At the end of the Tet Offensive, both sides had endured losses, and both sides claimed victory. The U.S. and South Vietnamese military response almost completely eliminated the NLF forces and regained all of the lost territory. At the same time, the Tet Offensive weakened domestic support for the Johnson Administration as the vivid reporting on the Tet Offensive by the U.S. media made clear to the American public that an overall victory in Vietnam was not imminent.

The aftermath of Tet brought public discussions about de-escalation, but not before U.S. generals asked for additional troops for a wide-scale “accelerated pacification program.” Believing that the U.S. was in a position to defeat the North, these military leaders sought to press for a U.S.-South Vietnam offensive. Johnson and others, however, read the situation differently. Johnson announced that the bombing of North Vietnam would cease above the 20th parallel and placed a limit on U.S. troops in South Vietnam. Johnson also attempted to set parameters for peace talks, but it would be several more years before these came to fruition. Within the United States, protests against continued involvement in Vietnam intensified. On March 31, 1968, Johnson announced that he would not seek a second term as president. The job of finding a way out of Vietnam was left to the next U.S. president, Richard Nixon.

1968 was arguably the craziest year in American History. And it all started when hell broke loose during Tet.

In 1978-81 I served with some NCO’s who were there. One guy (an MP Sgt.) said he arrived in Vietnam two weeks before Tet. He had been about scared going to Vietnam but he was relieved when he was assigned to the MP unit in Saigon. He thought he would be safe.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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174 Responses to 50 Years Ago Today – The Tet Offensive

  1. Myiq2xu™ says:

    1968 started with the Tet Offensive and ended with Nixon’s election, and there was a buttload of shit that happened in between.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Your top photo won the Pulitzer, and other things from 1968. What a year……also, I met my future husband in ’68 after his first VN tour, he missed all the Tet action. Good. 🙂


      • lateblum says:

        Several years ago I met a man who was a witness to the brutal photo at the top of the page. He told us a story about the photo that has become a bit muddled (in my memory) but what I do recall is that the general who pulled the trigger did so because his daughter had been assaulted by his *victim*. Whether she was killed or not, I can’t recall. But this shooting was a result of that assault.

        • Cisco says:

          My recollection is that the General had been made aware that a very good friend, a high ranking city official along with his wife and children were found in a shallow grave murdered.
          This fellow was involved or the closest VC that could be found.
          Cést la guerre.

          • Not the closest. He was positively identified. He wasn’t a victim but a cold blooded terrorist murderer. Fucking photographer intentionally changed the story to make the good guys the bad guys. Fucking socialist liberals.

  2. swanspirit says:

    It was horrible. So many boys died. I protested against that war. I was in my teens, and I protested.

  3. Dora says:

    I protested too, but not very strongly. Back then it was the thing to do. Like the fad of the times.

    My friends and I enjoyed going to the cafes in Greenwich Village to see people like Phil Ochs, Tom Paxten and Buffy Sainte Marie. I never did see Dylan

    When I look back on those days I feel ashamed that I took it all so lightly. Just the fact that I enjoyed the cafes and the music, show how immature I was.

    And how selfish, I suppose. I had too many exciting things going on in my life at that time to give the war much attention.

    I didn’t know Hubby back then, but whenever we talk about those days, he insists that those protest singers were nothing more than war profiteers. Although I loved them all and collected their records, I now have to agree. They would never have become famous without the war.

    Wow. This is sounding like a confession of sorts. Thanks for listening.

    • Anthony says:

      My first apartment after leaving the nest was at 110 MacDougal St. Bob Dylan also lived in the building. I never saw him either lol. He was more than a little reclusive.

    • Cisco says:

      Thank you for sharing 👍

  4. Anthony says:

    I protested too. I lost more than a few friends in Vietnam and was devastated by the pain their parents endured. I was also 16 in 1968, so I thought I knew everything….

    • elliesmom says:

      I was 17 in 1968 and more into the women’s movement than Vietnam until one of my friends came home in a box. Then I became torn. Lots of time spent on the Boston Commons. When I headed off to college in ’69, I took a job processing draft deferments. That put me in a small office with 4 Army officers recently returned from Vietnam. My admiration for those guys and what they shared about their experiences changed a lot of how I thought about the war. While I wanted it to be over, I didn’t want the sacrifices to be for nothing, I learned more about life the two hours I spent working for them everyday than I did sitting in class.

      • Anthony says:

        I was against the war but not the military, which put me at odds with the majority of others who were groomed by the SDS on protesting 101. I was happy to have those differences. My cousin Joseph (10 years older than I ) was my idol/role model. He was enlisted in the Army back then, and stationed in Germany, so he was safe from harm. He helped me find my voice to express my true feelings without throwing the baby out with the bath water and in the end, I was able to develop an even greater respect for the military. We’re still like brothers today 😊.


        Your mention of the Commons brought back a lot of memories. I attended Emerson College for my freshman year just to get out of the house and lived at 109 Beacon, between the Commons and the Gardens. Many a night, I crawled home along Commonwealth Ave. The Combat Zone was still around back then, and you can imagine the shape I was in staggering back home from there.

        • elliesmom says:

          Chinatown has encroached into the area. The Opera House has been renovated, and Ritz-Carlton has built a hotel. There’s even a branch of the RMV there. Emerson has a lovely new dorm. You wouldn’t recognize it today. In the 90s I was shopping with my mom, who grew up in Somerville, and when I turned down Kneeland Street, she had a conniption. Most of the reclamation was still to come, but even then it wasn’t what she had remembered.

          • Anthony says:

            When I was there, The Prudential building had just been completed. Also, I lived at 191, not 109. Basement apt, Emerson dorms. A real sh!thole but perfect at the time. I could open the window and slide in from the sidewalk if I needed to lol.

            I did visit again right after the Combat Zone disappeared along with many of my favorite haunts on Marlboro St. Tragic loss.

            I also vowed to someday own 9 Revere St, but so far that hasn’t materialized. God, I’m old..,

      • DeniseVB says:

        The oldest Boomers turned 22 that year and I don’t remember a snowflake in the bunch. We dealt with the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK while civil rights and war protests were breaking out all over, especially on college campuses. We may not have been the Greatest Generation, but we were the toughest having to deal with real life coming at us fast. I was also working with the military at the time, young Sailors who joined the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army.

        • Myiq2xu™ says:

          When young people talk about how crazy the last couple years have been I just tell them about 1968. If we survived that we can survive anything, including Obama.

  5. Anthony says:

    H/T Denise for bringing back some scandalous memories a few threads back


  6. Dora says:

    The moon will be putting on a big show tomorrow night. Keep looking up.


    NASA will stream Wednesday’s rare blue moon lunar eclipse

    On Wednesday, parts of the US will get to view a very special lunar eclipse. While typical lunar eclipses aren’t terribly rare — the next full one viewable from North America will occur in January 2019 — this one combines a total eclipse with a supermoon and a blue moon, making it a sort of moon event triple threat. While not all of the US will get to see the entire eclipse, NASA will be televising it online and giving views from California and Arizona.


  7. Dora says:

    It’s getting more and more difficult to know when the media is telling the truth.


    The Tet Offensive Revisited: Media’s Big Lie


    • lateblum says:

      “It’s getting more and more difficult to know when the media is telling the truth.”
      I completely agree. I barely believe anything I read or hear in the news or see any more.
      It is shameful. And it leaves us all worse off.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Meanwhile, CNN’s still fighting the fake news war……and keep losing bigly……..

  9. Dora says:

    Just reading this makes my blood boil. Thank goodness Crooked didn’t win.

    Stretching or breaking the law on her behalf would have been rewarded by a President Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton herself was not worried about even the appearance of scandal caused by transmitting classified documents over a private home-brewed server, or enabling her husband to shake down foreign donations to their shared foundation, or destroying some 30,000 emails. Evidently, she instead reasoned that she was within months of becoming President Hillary Clinton and therefore, in her Clintonesque view of the presidency, exempt from all further criminal exposure.


    • DeniseVB says:

      Too bad National Review tried to help get her elected by being so hard on Trump with their constant #NeverTrump spew. NOW, they realize what we already knew, Hillary would have been Obama’s 3rd term, warts and all.

  10. DeniseVB says:

    Did anyone watch this? The thread is brutal.

  11. mothy says:

    “Did anyone watch this? ”
    —– are you drunk already?

  12. helenk3 says:

    In 1968 I had my son. I was working in downtown Phila when MLK was shot, The bldg I worked in was between 2 Bell Telephone bldgs that did not lower their flags to half mast. We got out of work early and I had to walk in the middle of Arch st to get to the train station to go home. This was to get away from protesters marching to the Bell Telephone bldgs.
    My husband and I went to see a friend that was moonlighting as a bartender. No I was not drinking. There was a domestic dispute in the apt upstairs. The woman came downstairs screaming for help. Our friend called the cops. While he was on the phone the husband tried to get in the door that my husband and another friend were holding closed. My husband and our friend told us he has a gun get down. Believe me hitting the floor 7 months pregnant ain’t easy He shot through the door. The bullet hit our friend in the throat. Since his regular job was a Phila fireman and he worked next to the police station, cops came from all over.the shooter got off with a dollar bail and our friend lost his job as a fireman because his 2nd job was considered unsuitable for a fireman.
    I will never forget 1968.

    We had friends and family in Viet Nam so I was not too happy about the protestors and thought how they treated the men coming home was disgraceful.

    • mothy says:

      Ugh didn’t mean to post that. Meant to post a tweet. I had copied the pic for an email. That is chelsea clinton’s former sister-in-law. She died in 2014. Was adopted from Vietnam. Post made me think of her.

    • Cisco says:

      “And that’s what no one in D.C. is talking about: the tendency of officials to over-classify information as a mechanism to conceal the abuse of power by government officials.”
      I never thought of that happening.
      I’m glad you posted it, I just learned something today, and it’s only 7:45 am⏰

  13. helenk3 says:


    what is going on today in many schools is a legacy from the Viet Nam war. Many went to college and became teachers to avoid the draft.

    • Constance says:

      I’m surprised that Berkshire is going in to this as I’m pretty sure they are profiting of the current system.

  14. helenk3 says:


    as usual VDH nails it. they thought they could get away with it because hillary was going to win

  15. helenk3 says:


    I hope this man can bring back some respect for the FBI. He is going to have a hard row to hoe

  16. helenk3 says:


    what do you think about this? not really a bad idea

  17. Old Jules says:

    As a veteran who entered the service in during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 when they were putting up the Berlin Wall, I was surprised to narrowly miss the ‘big war’ of my age group. Came home from Korea in 1964 just when East IndoChina was becoming Vietnam and people were beginning to find it on a map.
    So while I attended the University on the GI Bill they were drafting more every year and the war seemed never-ending. I spent most of that war demonstrating, rioting, throwing rocks at cops, and delaying my degrees as a consequence.
    But today all those old Vietnam Vets are wearing caps bragging to have had a part in the war that never should have happened. Strange world we’re living in.

    • Cisco says:

      Imho, all wars, just about, “never should have happened”, but they do.
      Here’s some friends and neighbors that never had a chance to brag.
      I do because I had the distinct privilege of knowing them.

      • Cisco says:

        A better try.

        • DeniseVB says:

          Always a beautiful tribute. My hubby and the men from E-2-7 raised money for a monument at Quantico, paying tribute to the 86 men (including one medal of honor) lost over the 5 years that unit was in VN. What a brotherhood, old war farts never forget ❤

    • DeniseVB says:

      As a child of the 60’s…..it was the best of times and the worst of times. When I protested “Bush’s War” I asked my husband (a combat vet) what he thought about it. He told me, sure, why not, that’s why we go to war, to protect idiots’ free speech. Those protests never did end Bush’s War, but I had fun trying. Big difference from the 60’s, the 2000’s peace marches were always about …. support the troops, oppose the war.

      • lateblum says:

        Yes. The 2001-2004 protests were about supporting the troops and protesting the war. Yet in Chicago, these demonstrations were reminders of the demos of ’68. And the people who carried those memories around with them, made certain we who were marching in 2001 and forward, paid something of a price. I remember standing at the bottom of the Metra platform stairs and having people support my protest and others who threatened my life. Chicago was the only place where we had to call for police assistance. It was nothing like the Dems convention of ’68. I missed the riots by only a couple of hours. I was in Grant Park earlier during the day, but left before the turmoil began.

  18. DeniseVB says:

    Union was misspelled on the SOTU tickets as Uniom. I’m surprised I haven’t seen more lib meltdowns over it. Hope they’re serving covfefe after the speech 😀

  19. foxyladi14 says:

    I would start here! 😆

  20. helenk3 says:


    the control of what is told to the public by the “news” outlets has been shrinking for years. Not too many independent newspapers any more. A few own most of the tv “news” channels. Control the information, control the people

  21. Dora says:

  22. driguana says:

    This just brings back literal gushes of memories!! I was in my senior year of college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1968 and you couldn’t help but be caught up in everything that was going on. We had riots almost every night in Athens. The SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Weathermen were everywhere. Mario Savio was speaking and agitating all over the country. I had an English professor who just up and left one day to join one of those medical ship groups headed to Hanoi. The incredible music of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez surrounded us. Many of us were working for Bobby Kennedy’s campaign before he was assassinated. What a different time.

    One of the things that stands out most for me now, though, in retrospect, was the military draft. You had to register and everyone got a lottery number. The higher the number you got, the less likely you were to be drafted. We had friends being drafted almost immediately heading off to Vietnam. I drew #352 and was pretty certain that I would not be drafted. My partner and I at that time, got married in August and joined the US Peace Corps and went off to Liberia, West Africa for 4 years. Changed my life!!

    And then there was the Tet Offensive and all those amazing and terrifying stories and photographs.
    Wow…it’s almost hard to comprehend the differences between now and then. Being a staunch Democrat and protester then…and a fierce Independent now. Hard to comprehend sometimes.

    Great post and very thoughtful and reflective comments. Thanks.

  23. votermom says:

    ack! I cut doggeh’s nail too close and it bled!
    I feel like a criminal

  24. foxyladi14 says:


  25. Myiq2xu™ says:

  26. Dora says:

    Who’ll be joining Melania at the SOTU? Guest list is a big middle finger to ‘the resistance’

    The White House released the full list of guests on Monday set to sit in First Lady Melania Trump’s box during the president’s State of the Union speech tonight, and indeed, a more impressive cross-section of Americans would be tough to find.


  27. Myiq2xu™ says:

    It is my goal to get blocked by Kamala Harris.

  28. Dora says:

    • SHV says:

      Looks like “Meggs” makes shit up to get clicks:
      “Adam Schiff was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, son of Edward and Sherrill Ann (Glovsky) Schiff”

      “Melissa Robin Schiff, the daughter of Marlene S. Schiff of New York and the late Dr. Haskel Schiff,”

    • taw46 says:

      I can’t find anywhere that Adam and Melissa are related. Definitely not brother and sister as some are saying on Twitter, different parents. Guess they could be cousins. Maybe just have the same last names.

  29. Myiq2xu™ says:

  30. John Denney says:

    Reflecting on the recent revelation that Obama had to have known Hillary was running a private email server because he had email exchanges with her at that email address, and surely the “smartest man in the world” would notice that the email address was not a “.gov” address, it occurred to me that if the president knew, then surely those who sent classified emails also knew.

    Under what circumstances would an honest government agent send classified emails to an insecure email address? Are all those who sent classified emails to that email address felons? criminally negligent?

  31. Myiq2xu™ says:

  32. Somebody says:

    AYFKM? Salon article claims Melania Trump is jet setter on taxpayer dime. They say she cost taxpayers $350,000 for flights on airforce planes while living in NYC the 1st six months.
    Using creative math apparently, they claim that figure is half of what the entire Obama family spent during O’s 8 year term.

  33. Myiq2xu™ says:


    atmikapai, on January 30, 2018 at 8:57 am said:
    can you please explain the similarities between the watergate incident and Russia-America affair? Thanks

    riverdaughter, on January 30, 2018 at 12:50 pm said:

    Watergate started with a break in at the watergate hotel. The target of the break in was the democratic national committee (DNC). Do you need me to explain what that is? The purpose of the break in had to do with bugging the DNC for information about the Democrats strategy for the presidential campaign that year.

    Russia gate started, well, we’re not really sure when Trump got on Putin’s radar but Russia has a habit of interfering with elections around the world and the Trump campaign was cooperative. Russia told the campaign that it had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The Trump campaign wanted to use it. The “dirt” was really the emails that were hacked from John Podesta and the DNC. The target is the same. The purpose is the same.

    There is speculation that Vladimir Putin helped trump with the understanding that there would be a quid pro quo. Also, there are investigative documents that indicate that Trump had the power to be blackmailed by Putin. We have to wait for the evidence of this but let’s remember that Trump never released his tax returns so we really have no idea of the extent of his financial ties to Russia. This is ancillary to the infraction tho it does indicate what may be motivating trump. Basically, the similarity to watergate starts with illegal actions to steal information from the DNC with the purpose of helping one candidate at the other candidate’s expense.

    The second part has to do with the coverup. Nixon pulled out all the stops to pay his burglars and other actors in order to shut them up. Then when the investigation got serious, he said in one of his speeches that he thought the public had had enough of watergate. Then he asked his attorney general to fire the special prosecutor investigating him. When Elliot Richardson refused to do it, he was fired/resigned and so did a number of his subordinates also resigned until he got to Robert Bork who finally fired the special prosecutor. It was known as The Saturday Night Massacre.

    A similar thing is happening here. It’s unknown at this point whether Trump paid anyone to keep quiet but he is known to compel his employees to sign NDAs (non disclosure agreements). Presumably, his lawyers see that they are enforced. Then he started interviewing US Attorneys for pledges of loyalty to him. And where he has met an obstacle, he has fired them. Sally Yates was one of the first. Then James Comey who as head of the FBI was in charge of the investigation into whether Trump had colluded with the Russians. Btw, you should read some of Comey’s tweets. They’re very interesting.

    He has tried to fire Bob Mueller himself. He asked his lawyer don McGahn to tell Christopher Wray, head of the FBI, to fire him. But Wray indicated that he would resign if he was asked to do that. So McGahn told Trump that if he wanted to fire Mueller, he’d have to do it himself. That seems to have temporarily halted another Saturday Night Massacre. But Trump is forcing other bulwarks to his take over it the justice system one by one. Andrew McCabe was forced out. Now the target is Ron Rosenstein, deputy attorney general who is the acting head of the justice department with respect to this investigation. Jeff Sessions had yo recuse himself because he was involved with the Trump Campaign and may be compromised and have a conflict of interest to protect the president.

    So, yeah, watergate and Russia gate are uncannily similar.

    I can’t even.

  34. John Denney says:

    “He [The President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; ” – U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 3.

    Back in the day, that may have just been a letter to Congress when events warranted.

    Now, because of technology, the President can address all citizens in real time, not just their representatives, and it has become tradition to do it once a year, in January, as a speech.

  35. Myiq2xu™ says:

    • Cisco says:

      “Great messenger” ?
      Here’s his latest message, from the family coat of arms.
      Non fugabit bibendum.

  36. Myiq2xu™ says:

  37. Myiq2xu™ says:

    The entire US Women’s Gymnastics program should be suspended until a thorough housecleaning takes place and safeguards are put in place to protect those girls in the future.

  38. Dora says:

  39. lyn says:

    Saw that the FBI has another Russian dossier. Looks like the dossiers are cooked.

  40. Myiq2xu™ says:

  41. Myiq2xu™ says:

    It was all Kabuki.

  42. Myiq2xu™ says:

  43. DeniseVB says:

    Don’t forget 😀

  44. Myiq2xu™ says:

    • SHV says:

      “If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. ”
      Church Commission ’75….

      FBI/Hoover CIA/Dulles…..different times, same problems….The abuse potential is alway there…the real danger is accentuated when a corrupt sociopath is in charge.

  45. Myiq2xu™ says:

    They never considered what would happen if Hillary lost.

    • Lulu says:

      They rigged the polls, created a fake marketing campaign of inevitability, believed their own publicity (lies), created their own reality to the exclusion of the rest of the country, and then shat the bed. It is very much a Molière farce set in Versailles.

  46. Myiq2xu™ says:

  47. taw46 says:

  48. taw46 says:

    MSNBC has gone from collusion, to obstruction of justice, and now today “a constitutional crisis”. They are saying Trump is getting rid of the DOJ and the FBI. I saw a comment on twitter that the left spent weeks insisting Trump had dementia, now he is mastermind of this operation. Can’t have it both ways, guys.

    • Cisco says:

      And Trump is overweight. Probably from eating all those well done steaks w/ ketchup.

    • SHV says:

      The more the Dems attack the memo the better….Trump controls all of the documents that are the basis for the Nunes memo. The more the Dems say the memo is an inaccurate political fraud, the more reason to declassify the smoking guns.

  49. Myiq2xu™ says:

  50. taw46 says:

    Just had a peek at MSNBC. Scrolling across bottom of the screen: “Melania Trump to make first appearance since the Stormy Daniels story broke”.

    • lyn says:

      Would love to see Melania and Stormy hug. That would blow all the lefty perverts to threads.

      • lyn says:

        I meant shreds. 😦

        I’m dealing with medical and Adult Protective Services people about my father. My dad who has dementia has been walking to a bank and demanding free food. I’ve had two calls from the bank and one from the police. My brother who lives with him may finally realize he can’t care for Papa.

        • taw46 says:

          {{ hugs }} for you and your brother. My mother had Alzheimer’s, I know what you are going through. She lived with me for years, then my sister and I switched off for a few months at a time. She wandered at the end, didn’t sleep, etc, and we reluctantly placed her in a facility. Sad, hard times. It broke my heart to watch what was happening to her.

          • lyn says:

            Thanks, taw46. Family dynamics are at work too. I’m the middle child and was the family black sheep and scapegoat. My papa beat me more than my sister, but our brother was never touched. I’m sad how families end up.

        • lateblum says:

          Your brother likely already knows he’s limited and is stepping away waiting for you – or someone – to take over and rescue them both. Still sending hugs so you can get through this successfully. Family stuff can be so dismal at times.

  51. Myiq2xu™ says:

  52. Myiq2xu™ says:

Comments are closed.