The Influence Of The Tet Offensive In Vietnam

Decent Essays
“We won the Tet Offensive. We decimated the Viet Cong. And our wonderful press made us losers. It was right at that point in time, I think, that the press fully turned on the war in Vietnam and started not necessarily generating news, but generating opinions. Because we decimated the Viet Cong during Tet. We decimated the North Vietnamese Army during Tet. Had we pressed the advantage the turnout would have been different. But when you are fighting a war based on politics, stuff happens.(Pritzker Military 2016)” SGT Allen Lynch was showing a discontent with the way the Vietnam War was perceived by the people back home. The United States and the South Vietnamese were victorious during the Tet Offensive but dissatisfaction in Washington following …show more content…
Giving the media an unprecedented amount of sway in the domestic reactions to the War and led to the falsification of its failures. Media continued to depict events in highly unfavorable and distorted terms. Early reports of smashing enemy victory, like Viet Cong being as high as the 3rd floor of the US Embassy, went largely uncorrected. The fact that the United States and South Vietnam hurled back the attack quickly was lost in the image of chaos and defeat. The immediate reports of Tet gave reporters who opposed the War like Joseph Kraft evidence against it, “The war in Vietnam is unwinnable, and the longer it goes on the more the Americans will be subjected to losses and humiliation (Herring 2014)”. A New York Times story reporting that we were considering sending those 206,000 more troops added to the furor. Setting off a barrage of protests even though the president never accepted the request. Leading to Congress wanting an explanation. The media had successfully shifted the discussion on the War with an untrue story. Nightly showing of the War led to War Weariness from the people of America, and coverage was especially intense during the battles of Tet. Westmoreland and others charged that hostile and all too powerful media snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by turning public against the war and limiting the government’s freedom of action when the US had a battered enemy …show more content…
The media had so much power during the 1970s that their negative view became the countries perspective. In a survey conducted in 1964, 58% US respondents said that they “got most of their news” from television (Hallin 1986). Unlike the wars of the past, the government gave reporters and journalists free reigns during the war to record it at their will. Leading to the public seeing the harsh realities of War from a firsthand prospective. Seeing the horrifying aftermath of the Tet offensive combined with the media exaggerating the success of the Viet Cong led to public support reaching an all-time low. Whether it was the bullet going into the head of an NLF capture on live television or a little girl running through the streets after being bombarded with Napalm that turned the outlook of the War with the American people is unknown. The only thing that is, is that the media impacted the Vietnam War in a way that hasn’t been seen before or since. It first started in the early 60s when the first Americans showed up, and didn’t end until the last Americans were rescued out of Saigon as it fell. Although the peak of the media’s influence was during the Tet offensive, where America won the battle, but lost the

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    One thing that contributes to the dislike would have to be the because it was uncensored war. On the televisions, it showed the American civilians the horror of the battlefield such as death and gore. The media would report thing different from what United States government was saying. A good example is the Tet Offensive, which is as stated before a very famous military surprise attack event of the Vietnam War by National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese army attack cities and military base in South Vietnam. This event of Vietnam War got Americans to think critically about what was going on in the war and start to think getting involved with Vietnam as a bad idea as the media reports on what happens and saying the showing and writing about what was going on in Vietnam.…

    • 1976 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    As the war in Vietnam waged on the American public began to realise that the ideologies they had been told about were actually propaganda vehicles that American used to assert their global hegemony. The Domino Theory (first mentioned by President Eisenhower in 1954), the public slowly learned, was completely untrue and there was no actual basis for it. The theory merely came from a few scared men intent on defending the empire that was America. CONTAINMENT. As the public realised that casualties were caused by containment of communism not communism itself public support began to drop.…

    • 1049 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    A War that started out as a war to prevent the spread of Communism turned horribly into a war against the media. Unlimited access for reporters and lack of censorship during the war seemed harmless to the War effort however, once the images of the horrific scenes started pouring into the States, support plummeted and the American people started viewing their soldiers as nothing more than murderers. The main issue was stated by a Captain Bishop, “The problem was that the reporters often had little to go on, and events were confusing. But facing the need to give impact to their products, reporters—usually by inference—projected their own concerns,” (Bishop). Bishop said journalists also had tendencies to give false information by quoting the opinions of “officials” or “observers” and often the “observers” would refer to media people themselves and the “observations” were nothing more than speculations.…

    • 1385 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Tet offensive occurred around the same time that the government considered General Westmoreland’s request for 206,000 additional troops. The government was concerned that this would lead to increased draft resistance and unrest in the cities. As a result, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford rejected Westmoreland’s request and urged to seek peace instead. In Washington there was a panic among the politicians and many Congressmen turned on the President. The Tet offensive was a disaster for the Johnson Presidency and led to the end of his Presidency.…

    • 1267 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The first political circumstance that sparked the public hatred towards the troops was the people were not happy with President Johnsons decisions. With President Johnsons decision to bomb North Vietnam along with sending more troops to aid South Vietnam, many of the U.S citizens were not happy with his decision. Since the citizens were upset with Johnsons decisions, the only way they could outwardly show their anger was to the returning troops from Vietnam who were acting under Johnsons orders. The second political reason for the publics hatred of the returning troops was that the United States during that time was in turmoil. With the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in nineteen sixty-three and then the following assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, the United States as a whole was in a huge panic.…

    • 1090 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The twentieth-century Americans waged war not only against Communist Vietnam, but also their government in the fight to end the war. The beginning of the war in Vietnam had Americans proud that their country was fighting for what was right against the Communists, but society 's opinion changed over the course of the war. The American people’s opinions shifted because soldiers were killing civilians, the draft was prejudiced, nothing was being done about equality at home, and the people lost faith in the government. The American people’s opinions shifted by learned about the cruel actions soldiers took against civilians. Barringer tells how “stories of drug trafficking, political assassinations, and indiscriminate bombings led many to believe…

    • 1528 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The people’s involvement in the United States foreign affairs through the media was first brought to light by the Vietnam War. Full freedom of the press was given, allowing people to see the horrific images of the war. Through devastating images of fellow American’s suffering on the battlefield, people became even more disgusted with the war and their support drastically declined. Farber noted that through “television talk shows, the evening news, drive-time radio, and almost every other forum of public conversation,” America was able to keep up to date with the latest news in Iran (Farber, 2). Before the crisis, American’s hardly knew anything about American policy within Iran.…

    • 1041 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The protest movement - Explain the role that the media played in affecting people 's attitudes towards the war. The split screen reality was President Johnson on one side stating they were confident America would win the war. However on the other side, Americans were shown images of body bags and the impact the war was having on the men. This gap between the politicians and the media started turning more and more Americans against the war. - What was the impact of the protest movement on president Johnson personally and on Americas involvement in the war?…

    • 1104 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Antiwar Movement

    • 1545 Words
    • 7 Pages

    A perfect example of the media and the way there coverage changed people 's viewpoints was the Tet Offensive in 1968. “During the Tet Offensive, the Viet Cong launched a surprise attack on several of the southern cities and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Although many Viet Cong soldiers were killed and the Tet Offensive was considered a military victory for the United States, it shocked the American people.” “The Vietcong army was decimated, and they made no significant strategic gains. In the war of public opinion, however, it was a gigantic success” (The Vietnam). Even though the attack was not a success in the long run, U.S. citizens only saw their military being destroyed.…

    • 1545 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Today, people are more skeptical of big corporations, of imperialism, and of capitalism. People involved in the movement expanded their open minded thinking, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist ideas. The movement brought in climate which kept the government’s ruling class from intervening in many future wars such as one in Angola (Montchair). The Vietnam war was arguably the most controversial battle in United States history. U.S. Citizens ' rights, especially the minorities and poor, were taken away in the country 's failed attempt to 'contain ' the spread of Communism and stop the Soviet Union 's influence in the world.…

    • 1011 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays