How Much Do You Know About the Tet Offensive?

MILITARY

By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: Schulimson

About This Quiz

"No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then and it is misremembered now." - Richard Nixon

The Vietnam War was one of the longest and most difficult struggles in United States history, with support at home rising and crumbling throughout the war. After all, the war was a struggle to stop the spread of communism, and many Americans wanted just that as long as it didn't directly affect them.

By the time the Tet Offensive began in 1968, U.S involvement in the war was at its peak, while support for the war teetered as the anti-war movement gained strength and even the Americans who supported the war watched for any sign showing it would soon be over. The Tet Offensive did little to squash this concern. With the offensive, both sides were able to claim their own victories, one side tactical and the other side psychological. When the Tet Offensive was over, it was clearly a turning point in the war that defined the rest of the conflict.

Are you a Vietnam War expert? Do you know everything there is to know about the war, including all of the elements of the Tet Offensive? If you do, give this quiz a try and put that knowledge to the test!

What is Tet in Vietnam?

Tet is shortened from Tet Nguyen Dan. It means "feast of the first morning of the first day."

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What year was the Tet Offensive?

The Tet Offensive began on January 30, 1968. It occurred in three phases from January through September.

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What was the capital of South Vietnam during the Tet Offensive?

Saigon was the capital in South Vietnam from 1955 until 1975. The city was finally captured in 1975 by the PAVN after the United States withdrew from Vietnam. The city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

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Who was President of the United States during the Tet Offensive?

Lyndon Johnson became president after the death of John F. Kennedy. Johnson wanted out of the Vietnam War, which haunted his administration throughout his presidency.

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Who was in command of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive?

General William Westmoreland led the U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964 until 1968. In 1968, he took over as Chief of Staff of the United States Army and was replaced in Vietnam by General Creighton Abrams.

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Who led North Vietnam into the Tet Offensive?

Ho Chi Minh helped establish North Vietnam, or the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, in 1945. He was selected as the new nation's 1st Prime Minister.

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Which guerilla group in South Vietnam helped North Vietnam during the battle?

The Viet Cong were communist supporters who chose to stay in South Vietnam after the Geneva Conference in 1954 which divided Vietnam. They mainly stationed themselves in mountain villages and rural areas throughout the country.

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Who led South Vietnam during the Tet Offensive?

Nguyen Van Thieu led South Vietnam from 1965 until 1975. He left Vietnam before the fall of Saigon, resigning his position as president.

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Which side proposed a truce for seven days during the Tet holiday?

By 1968, fighting in Vietnam had carried on for years, and the country was worn out from he war. Both sides needed a break, though it wouldn't last.

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Did the United States accept the truce from North Vietnam?

General Westmoreland refused to believe that North Vietnam would stick to the truce, especially considering there was much movement by North Vietnamese troops leading up to the attack. However, South Vietnamese officials thought it would help troop morale to honor the holiday and allowed many of their troops to take leave.

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Where was the U.S. embassy attacked during the battle?

Even though the U.S. expected an attack, they had no idea the amount of force the Viet Cong had put together. Initially, this resulted in several successful attacks at the start of the Tet Offensive.

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Which city did the Viet Cong capture?

The occupation of Hue by the Viet Cong was tragic for the people who lived there. After the battle, thousands of people, citizens and prisoners, were discovered in mass graves, demonstrating the brutality of the conflict.

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Was the Tet Offensive a military triumph for North Vietnam?

The Tet Offensive proved to be a crushing victory for South Vietnam and the United States. They were finally able to draw the Viet Cong into open warfare, which they had been aiming for since the war began.

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What were U.S. citizens promised prior to the Tet Offensive?

U.S. citizens were growing disillusioned with the war by 1968. General Westmoreland promised it would end soon as the numbers of the Viet Cong dwindled.

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What was one of the main reason Americans were discouraged by the Tet Offensive?

Television and news brought the Vietnam War into the homes of Americans. With gory photos and reports, the support for the war hit a crucial low as the Tet Offensive waged.

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Where was the capital of North Vietnam during the Tet Offensive?

Hanoi stands for "city inside rivers." Today, it's the capital of Vietnam.

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Why did the Viet Cong capture the National Radio Station in Saigon?

One of the primary targets for the Viet Cong, when they attacked Saigon, was the National Radio Station, where they hoped to play a recording of Ho Chi Minh calling for an uprising. However, radio lines were cut before they could accomplish their mission.

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Which battle was a distraction for the Tet Offensive?

The Battle of Khe Sanh began a few days before the Tet Offensive. At first, this was viewed as a minor offensive by North Vietnam which would have followed suit with other minor attacks along the border region between North and South Vietnam where Khe Sanh was located.

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What was Operation Niagara?

During the Battle of Khe Sanh, the United States tried to defend the Khe Sanh Combat Base with two regiments of U.S. Marines and a series of air assaults. Over 100,000 bombs were dropped trying to defend the base.

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What was the name of the evacuation from Khe Sanh by American forces?

Eventually, reinforcements for the U.S. Marines cleared the area around the military base at Khe Sanh. However, the base was viewed as vulnerable because of its vicinity to North Vietnam, and it was abandoned by mid-July.

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What was North Vietnam trying to capture in Da Nang during the Battle of Lo Giang?

The Battle of Lo Giang included both the 2nd Division of the PAVN and a large force from the Viet Cong. The United States lost 14 Marines as they repelled the attack.

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Who commanded the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Lo Giang?

Donn Robertson was given command of the 1st Marine Division in 1967. Under his command, the Division took part in many important battles leading up to the Tet Offensive, and when he left Vietnam in June 1968, Roberton was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

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What was phase II of the Tet Offensive called by the Americans?

Phase II was officially another victory for the United States and South Vietnam. They lost around 5,000 soldiers but killed nearly 25,000 between North Vietnam and the Viet Cong.

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How did North Vietnam supply troops in the South?

The Ho Chi Minh Trail was a critical supply line between North and South Vietnam. The trail ran through neighboring countries Laos and Cambodia.

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Which major defeat occurred for the United States during phase II of the Tet Offensive?

Not long into the attack, U.S. forces knew they had lost Kham Duc. Rather than waiting it out and having the battle turn into Dien Bien Phu, where French forces were completely annihilated by the PAVN in 1954, General Westmoreland decided to abandon the area.

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Which PAVN unit was involved in the Battle of Kham Duc?

After the PAVN 2nd Division was defeated at the Battle of Lo Giang, the U.S. believed they were weakened and couldn't be immediately reinforced. However, that proved false as there were still enough soldiers to engage in the Battle of Kham Duc.

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What month did phase II of the Tet Offensive end?

Phase II of the Tet Offensive saw the end of the McNamara Line. This was a key part of the strategy to keep North Vietnam out of the south as the U.S. tried to build up the Army of South Vietnam.

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Who unknowingly allowed PAVN Battalions to secretly build bunkers around Dai Do?

The PAVN soldiers operated in the region around Dai Do for weeks without being noticed. On April 30th, they finally launched an attack which wasn't repelled until May 3rd.

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What month did phase III of the Tet Offensive begin?

Even as their numbers dwindled, the PAVN and Viet Cong tried to keep the offensive going well into 1968. The attacks would become more sporadic​ and less coordinated as the offensive continued.

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Who became the commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam on June 10, 1968?

General Creighton Abrams served in this position until 1972. At that time, he was appointed Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army under the Nixon administration.

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Who was Secretary of the Central Military Commission for North Vietnam during the Tet Offensive?

Vo Nguyen Giap served as Secretary of the Central Military Commission for North Vietnam from 1946 until 1977. He was a trusted advisor to Ho Chi Minh and a brilliant military strategist, proven by his effectiveness during the Vietnam War.

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Which general for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam commanded the I Corps throughout the Tet Offensive?

The strategy for the United States throughout the war was to build up the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. In turn, the Army would defend South Vietnam from communist aggression, and the United States could withdraw its forces.

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When did the Tet Offensive end?

The Tet Offensive destroyed the Army of North Vietnam, but even more so, the Army of the Viet Cong. The total loses during the offensive are unknown, but they reached in the six figures.

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Which country helped North Vietnam throughout the Tet Offensive?

China, which was having its own communist revolution, influenced North Vietnam significantly throughout the war. They also supplied North Vietnam with weapons and advisors.

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The Tet Offensive proved that the Republic of South Vietnam could NOT protect what?

The Tet Offensive obliterated the number of soldiers in the Viet Cong, which would later be filled by soldiers from North Vietnam. However, it also had a deep psychological effect​ across South Vietnam, where citizens were losing faith in the government.

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