By David F. Schmitz
A compact exam of the Tet Offensive, arguably an important occasion within the Vietnam clash. Schmitz situates the Tet Offensive within the context of yankee international coverage and the kingdom of the conflict as much as 1968 whereas contemplating the effect of the media on American public opinion.
This booklet is a part of the sequence “Vietnam: the United States within the warfare Years” edited by means of David L. Anderson.
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Additional resources for The Tet Offensive: Politics, War, and Public Opinion (Vietnam: America in the War Years)
America in Vietnam, 90–92. 21. FRUS: 1949, VII:29–30. 22. FRUS: 1950, VI:711–15. 38 T HE A MERICAN R OAD TO V IETNAM 23. Public Papers of the Presidents: Truman, 1951 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1965), 223–27. 24. Public Papers of the Presidents: Truman, 1951, 223–27. 25. , 389. 26. FRUS: 1950, VI:878–79. 27. United States, Congress: Senate, Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1953 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office), V:139–40 (hereafter Executive Sessions followed by the year and volume).
A war of attrition rather than one of conquest. The United States did not seek to destroy or capture North Vietnam, but to preserve the anticommunist government in Saigon, uphold containment, and demonstrate American credibility to its allies and adversaries. To accomplish these goals, the United States escalated both the air and ground wars to crush the enemy’s capacity and will for fighting. The operating assumption behind American strategy was straightforward. As the United States raised the costs of the war, the North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front (NLF) would realize that Ho Chi Minh’s policy of aggression, as Washington understood it, could not succeed, and that the costs outweighed any gains.
President Truman, invoking his doctrine, declared that the “Communists in the Kremlin are engaged in a monstrous conspiracy to stamp out freedom all over the world. ” The United States, he stated, could not “sit idly by and await foreign conquest. . ” The lesson of the past was that “aggression anywhere in the world is a threat to peace everywhere in the world. When that aggression is supported by the cruel and selfish rulers of a powerful nation who are bent on conquest,” it presented a clear danger to the United States.