|General Pham Van Tra was speaking to reporters about the 1968 General Offensive and Uprising
The 1968 General Uprising took place amidst US escalation of the war and a new strategy to devastate the north.
On the 30th and 31st of January 1968, Vietnamese soldiers and civilians launched an offensive and uprising throughout the south focusing on Sai Gon – the political and military headquarters of the US force and the Sai Gon regime. Despite losses, the campaign overturned the enemy’s strategies. The US Embassy, the Independence Palace, the General Staff, and the Radio Station of the Sai Gon regime came under attack.
Decisive significance to the anti-US war
Prior to the operation the US army was already bogged down in Vietnam. They could neither completely control southern Vietnam nor withdraw from Vietnam.
The world public and the American public were waging growing protests against the war. To exploit this opportunity, the Politburo decided to launch a general offensive to change the momentum of the war and pressure the US to participate in a peace negotiation.
General Pham Van Tra, former Minister of National Defense, said “As President Ho Chi Minh said, we must gain independence and freedom even if we had to burn the Truong Son range. This decisive battle forced the US to negotiate the Paris Agreement with the administrations of northern Vietnam and southern Vietnam, and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam.”
The 1968 campaign validated Vietnam’s strategy and creative military tactics of attacking the enemy’s headquarters.
Major General Nguyen Van Bao, Director of the Political Academy of the Ministry of National Defense said "The 1968 General Offensive and Uprising proved the Party’s correct leadership and combat tactics. The Party decided to launch a massive offensive throughout the region and focused on the headquarters of the Sai Gon regime and the American command and logistics centers. The offensive significantly discouraged American forces in Vietnam .”
Major General Bao said that the General Offensive’s lessons remain valuable for Vietnam's policy of strengthening self-reliance, boosting international integration, and maintaining national independence.
“It’s necessary to accurately evaluate the situation in the country, region and the world, seize opportunities, and anticipate difficulties to make appropriate strategies for national defense. It’s also important to systematically and comprehensively research traditional and non-traditional security threats to proactively defend the nation and prevent conflicts and war. We need to be resolute and persistent in defending national independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity”, said Major General Bao.
The General Offensive and Uprising 50 years ago was a milestone in the national liberation struggles. It created momentum for Vietnam to achieve national reunification in 1975.