Artist: John Riedell
Appeared: Peoria Journal Star, 1968
Collection: Editorial Cartoon Collection, C1 D1
Repository: The University of Southern Mississippi
On January 31, 1968, the first day of the Vietnamese New Year (Tet), the Vietcong broke a holiday truce, launching assaults throughout South Vietnam. Communist forces took the old capital of Hue, and for a time occupied the grounds of the United States Embassy in Saigon.
The Tet Offensive was a military defeat for the communists; Vietcong casualties were enormous. It was a political and public relations victory, however. The offensive eroded the confidence of Americans in General Westmoreland's assurances that the United States was winning in Vietnam. It resulted in a strengthening of the anti-war movement and lent credibility to the growing belief that the war was "unwinnable."
Time and Newsweek ran anti-war editorials in the wake of Tet, and Walter Cronkite, America's most influential television newscaster, expressed his doubts to viewers that the United States would prevail in Vietnam. In response, President Johnson complained, "If I've lost Walter, then it's over. I've lost Mr. Average Citizen."
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