Saigon, Battle for
At about 3:00 A.M., just as the last volley of Tet celebratory fireworks was set off, a variety of targets were attacked in and around Saigon: air bases, southern military and police headquarters, U.S. military command and billeting facilities, and television and radio studios. Although Communist forces had tipped their hand by mistakenly attacking Hué and others cities to the north of Saigon on 30 January, Americans were shocked by the realization that about 4,000 VC could infiltrate the capital and launch vicious attacks.
The most spectacular engagement in Saigon occurred when the VC C‐10 Sapper Battalion penetrated the U.S. Embassy compound, prompting a desperate shootout with security guards and embassy staff. The VC were cleared from the embassy grounds by 9:00 A.M., but American reporters, who had witnessed the fight, were shocked by Gen. William Westmoreland's assertion that this was a VC publicity stunt and militarily meaningless. The American public was also shocked by television, film, and still photographs of the summary street execution of a suspected VC commando by Nguyen Ngoc Loan, the South Vietnamese chief of Saigon's security forces.
Westmoreland's prediction was accurate militarily; within forty‐eight hours, allied forces in Saigon were hunting down the VC, and by 16 February, the battle for Saigon was over. But politically the Tet attacks, especially the VC success in turning Saigon into a battlefield and the false news reports that the VC had actually penetrated the embassy building itself, produced a political uproar in the United States, particularly because they seemed to clash with previous government and military assurance that the VC had been crushed. The summary street execution also revolted many Americans. The credibility gap resulting in part from the Tet Offensive and the Battle for Saigon ultimately prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson not to run for reelection and American officials to reduce U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia.
[See also Vietnam War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
Don Oberdofer , Tet!, 1971.
James J. Wirtz , The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War, 1991.
James J. Wirtz
"Saigon, Battle for." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 17, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/saigon-battle
"Saigon, Battle for." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved November 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/saigon-battle
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.