By U.S. ArmyFebruary 10, 2020
FORT LEAVENWORTH--Dr. Gates Brown, Command and General Staff College history assistant professor, delivered a presentation entitled "The Tet Offensive, 1968: The Turning Point of the Vietnam War" at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, University of Kansas, Feb. 5. This was the second in a series of "Turning Point" lectures instructors from the History Department will present at the University during this year.
The Tet Offensive of 1968 was a dramatic turning point for both the US and the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War. Each had their assumptions shattered in the offensive. The North Vietnamese hoped to prove the validity of their revolutionary ideology.
The success of the counterattack of the US-led coalition destroyed the Communists forces but also laid bare the divisive politics of the war in the United States. Although it was a tactical and operational victory for the US-led coalition, it did not translate into an improved strategic position. For the North Vietnamese, it exposed the ineffectiveness of their strategy of a peoples' revolution.
After the Tet Offensive, the US fought for another five years in South Vietnam while the North Vietnamese continued fighting for another seven years. The offensive was decisive because it forced both sides to confront their false assumptions and each had to attempt to reconcile themselves to a new post-Tet strategic reality.
Brown is an assistant professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. His main research focus is the early Cold War period with a focus on U.S. nuclear and defense policy. He earned his doctorate from the University of Kansas. He served in the U.S. Army and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is co-author of 'Russian Revolution of 1917: The Essential Reference Guide,' published in 2017 by ABC-CLIO.