The Tet Offensive
I just don't understand it. Am I that far off? Am I wrong? Has something happened to me? My wife said, I think so. But she said you don't know what year you are living in. This is '68.
Remarks by President Lyndon Johnson to a congressional delegation in the White House, January 30, 1968.
On January 11, 1968, U.S. intelligence detected a buildup of forces in the Laotian panhandle west of the demilitarized zone, threatening the marine base at Khe Sanh in western Quang Tri Province of South Vietnam. Khe Sanh was located eight miles east of Laos and eighteen miles south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). The base occupied a strategically important location for the purposes of hindering enemy infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh Trail as well as providing a staging post for possible operations into Laos.
The enemy force buildup of two additional North Vietnamese divisions was incontrovertible, but Hanoi's motives were wildly disputed. Prisoner reports and captured documents revealed that a massive winter-spring offensive was being planned. Truck traffic down the Ho Chi Minh Trail had reached massive proportions and major North Vietnamese troop reinforcements were in the border areas. Was Hanoi merely setting the stage for negotiations or was the offensive intended to topple the government of South Vietnam? What was the enemy up to? General William Westmoreland believed a maximum military effort was under way, possibly to improve chances of achieving an end to the war through negotiations which would lead to a coalition government involving the NLF. Hanoi's major