What Was the Tet Offensive?

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The Tet Offensive was a major military assault on South Vietnam by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops during the Vietnam War in 1968. Both South Vietnam and U.S. military forces suffered massive casualties, and the assault had severely detrimental effects on civilian support for the war in the United States.

The Tet Offensive was intended to cause a debilitating and decisive blow to U.S. and South Vietnam forces in the hopes that the United States would withdraw from the war. It was also intended to stop or reduce damage caused by guerrilla attacks from South Vietnam forces.

During the offensive, over 70,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops simultaneously attacked highly populated areas in South Vietnam occupied by large numbers of U.S. military forces. The assault lasted through several phases, and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, as the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese pushed into U.S and South Vietnamese territory. Publicity of the attack was widespread, and led to a severe lack of support for the war from the U.S. mainland, due to the rampant violence and high death toll. Despite the United States and South Vietnamese eventually repelling the attacks, anti-war protests continued to rise in popularity.