Explain why the Tet Offensive could be considered a turning point / changed US policy (12 marks)
Although the Tet Offensive 1968 was a military disaster for the Vietcong who suffered casualties, it had caused major changes within US policy. The North continued attacking the south which meant changing US military and political policies was inevitable. Therefore the Tet Offensive is considered to be a pivotal turning point in the whole Vietnam War as it demonstrated US limits to power. Westmoreland had been fighting using ‘search and destroy’ tactics which he thought would defeat the VC. Unfortunately, Westmorelands policy had not achieved victory by 1968 and after the Offensive he was not granted more troops because it was argued that the US in Vietnam wouldn’t succeed and that the US should continue to equip ARVN. Johnson agreed to this change in tactics which meant changing from ‘search and destroy’ to ‘Vietnamisation’ and replacing Westmoreland. This Vietnamisation slowly withdrew US troops out of Vietnam to prevent a death toll. Therefore the Tet led to a ‘turning point’ in US military strategies. The Offensive had a growing opposition to the war among the American Public. Cronkite influenced the public stating that the US was in a ‘stalemate’. The anti-war movement grew stronger as people were convinced by Cronkite and the newspapers that the US could not win the war. With Johnson feeling the pressure off the public eg Martin Luther King speech, He felt that he needed to change the policies as 1968 was the presidential elections. Clearly the Tet offensive caused a ‘turning point’ in US public opinion. The most important ‘turning point’ of the Offensive was Johnson’s loss of confidence and support of the public as well as suffering a credibility gap. This gap led the public to believe that Johnson was exaggerating the progress of winning the war. This gap led him not to stand for re-elections in 1968. In conclusion, it is valid that the Tet offensive...
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