NVA Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, directed spearheads toward Quang Tri and Hué in the northern provinces of South Vietnam, Kontum in the central highlands, and An Loc northwest of Saigon. Initially, South Vietnamese resistance failed, but American advisers such as John Paul Vann and Maj. Gen. James Hollingsworth helped stabilize the ground defense, supported by American airpower and naval bombardment.
Still, in early May, Gen. Creighton Abrams, American commander in Vietnam, cabled Washington that Saigon had lost the will to fight and the war might be soon lost. The NVA had taken Quang Tri and had put Hué, Kontum, and An Loc under siege. The situation at An Loc was particularly dangerous. If it fell, there was little standing between Hanoi's forces and Saigon. President Richard M. Nixon authorized a major buildup of American airpower, plus heavy air strikes against Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time since 1968. On 8 May, with Saigon fighting for its life, the U.S. Navy mined Haiphong Harbor to block the flow of Soviet supplies. Ultimately, the South Vietnamese, supported by American airpower, drove the NVA back from the cities and recaptured Quang Tri.
The Easter Offensive cost the NVA dearly. Americans estimated Hanoi lost 100,000 men killed and 400 tanks destroyed. The failure to end the war on the battlefield undoubtedly prodded Hanoi toward the negotiations that led to the Paris Peace Agreements in January 1973. Three years later, forced to fight without American aid, Saigon could not duplicate its defensive victories of 1972.
During the Easter Offensive, American forces for the first time employed sizable numbers of precision‐guided munitions, “smart weapons.” U.S. warplanes used wire‐guided bombs to destroy North Vietnamese bridges that had withstood years of attack by conventional ordnance, and American helicopter gunships and South Vietnamese infantry employed TOW antitank weapons with deadly effect.
[See also Helicopters; Missiles; Vietnam War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
Philip B. Davidson , Vietnam at War: The History 1946–1975, 1988.
Jeffrey Clarke , Advice and Support: The Final Years 1965–73, 1988.
"Easter Offensive." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 13, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/easter-offensive
"Easter Offensive." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved February 13, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/easter-offensive
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.