In early 1968, January 30th, the day before the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, General Vo Nguyen Giap, the leader of North Vietnam's army, believed it was a good idea for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops to make a major surprise attack on South Vietnam and the United States.It is referred to as the "Tet Offensive". It was a huge series of surprise attacks on major cities, towns, and military bases all throughout South Vietnam. The offensive was the largest operation by either side up to that point in the war. It suprised the South and the Americans, but they still fought back. In some town the North troops were beaten pretty quickly. It took about two weeks for U.S. troops and South Vietnamese forces to regain control of Saigon and it took them nearly a month to regain power over the city of Hue.The Tet Offensive convinced many Americans that government statements about the war being close to ending were all false. And after intense bombing and killing of soldiers, the Viet Cong proved that they could keep this war going, and that the end was not close. And lack of public support made the troop morale decline, which lead to troops doing marijuana and drinking alchohol and even doing heroin.
From a military standpoint, the North were beaten, considering they lost tens of thousands of soldiers compared to the amount of american soldiers. But that wasn't what mattered in this case. Because their plan, was to create a bunch of small disasters that would make it appear to be a major defeat, and it worked, just how they wanted it to. It was more of a moral blow to the US than defeat, and a propaganda victory for the North. Mainly thanks to Americas own media. The Tet Offensive was one of the bloodiest wars in history leaving fewer han 8 million casualties, three million of these were Viatnemese civilians and around 1.4 million different soldiers from North/South Vietnam. The number of American casualties is actually a big difference compared to the number of Viatemese Casualties. After the Tet Offensive, peace talks began in Paris as well as the beginning of withdrawal of U.S. military forces from South Vietnam.