The Tet Offensive – 50 Years Later
Few will recall that pivotal period in the Vietnam War, much less will it come to mind this month. Half of the United States population was not born yet, and many of those who experienced the turbulent era have passed on. For survivors and the veterans who served, there is no forgetting that year, or the aftermath.
What’s it all about? Why is it such a big deal?
My new fictional historical narrative , RECALL, could serve as a primer for younger generations and as a reminder to the older ones that we continue to fail to learn the lessons of history, especially when it comes to war. It also may explain why our country is so deeply divided politically fifty years later…
The Chinese New Year, Tet, was ushered in by a massive North Vietnamese/ Viet Cong offensive in January 1968 with major attacks throughout South Vietnam. This was a departure from their usual guerrilla tactics and the escalated conflict went on for the year. The enemy lost 58,000 during the offensive, as many as the U.S. forces lost over a decade. No major cities were lost and the United States suffered 4,000 casualties.
Most would consider those statistics a military victory, but public opinion had turned sour on the war led by the Cronkite press and the anti-war activists’ protests. The tide turned. Ironically, the first domino to fall was America, not Southeast Asia. Despite winning the war militarily, it was being lost geopolitically. The civic discord and anarchy resulted in deep divisions in political mindsets that has persisted for five decades, a scar on America’s psyche. Passions and resentments die hard.
The aftermath of the Vietnam War is the “big deal” – its negative reaction and the effect on American society constituted collateral damage that is difficult to quantify.
Interested in reading my new novel RECALL? Here is the link on Amazon.