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Vietnam War and the Tet Offensive Vietcong guerrilla fighters violated the temporary truce they had pledged to observe around the lunar new year celebrations and surged into more than one hundred towns and cities including Saigon Shifting the war for the first time from its rural base into the new arena of South Vietnams supposedly impregnable urban areas it was a campaign of enormous breadth speed and scope It shook US imperialism to its roots and had a dramatic and lasting effect on US public opinion It was a campaign that had been in preparation since a study carried out by General Giap in September 1967 had concluded that the war had reached a stalemate situation and that something needed to be done Out of this report arose the plans for the Tet offensive Vietcong leaders had carried out a vigorous propaganda campaign in order to prepare their forces Ho Chi Minh urged the troops on to ever greater feats of battle in 1968 Giap had set the campaigns minimum and maximum objectives As a minimum the Tet outbreak would force the halting of the ariel bombardment of North Vietnam and force the Americans into negotiations As a maximum the offensive could drive the Americans out of Vietnam all together opening up the path to liberation and unification Although not meeting its major objectives the Tet offensive did have a lasting effect on the course of the war It was a turning point According to US secretary of state Henry Kissinger Henceforth no matter how effective our action the prevalent strategy could no longer achieve its objectives within a period or within force levels politically acceptable to the American people Vietcong soldiers stormed the highland towns of Banmethout Kontum and Pleiku they then simultaneously invaded 13 of the 16 provincial capitals of the heavily populated Mekong Delta In an attack that took the Americans off guard a small group of commandos seized the US embassy
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