The objective of the Tet Offensive was to destroy an enemy force. We always set up a consolidated objective. And the most important part of this was to destroy enemy forces since this would create impacts behind the enemy's line, in the United States, on the diplomatic front and, consequently, force the United States to de escalate the war. As it turned out, Johnson had to resign and the Paris talks were held. We never had the idea that the Tet Offensive would solve all the problems right away. Not at all.
We recognized at the time that there had to be many offensives and many uprisings before we could mount a Final Offensive and a General Uprising. Hence, the main objective at the time was to destroy enemy forces. But wherever we could hold territories then we should do so. It was important for us to hold on to places whenever we could in order to suck in enemy forces to destroy them. An example was the situation in Hue. We did occupy Hue
, hold on to it and suck in American forces to inflict casualties and damages to them.
And after we had inflicted the necessary damages and had created the necessary impacts on the United States, we withdrew our forces because it was not yet time to occupy territories. The same thing was true for Saigon
. After we had occupied the city, created considerable damage to the enemy and gained the necessary political and diplomatic aims, we decided to withdraw. Of course, at the lower echelons there has been a misunderstanding or an imprecise understanding of the directives of the Central Committee.
Therefore, there have been some people at the lower echelons who understood this as the final battle. But this was not the idea. And in some places the fighting was unnecessarily prolonged in the urban areas. Therefore, there were heavy losses in some places. The mistakes were subsequently corrected with the withdrawal of the troops from the urban areas to prepare for other future offensives.
So that was the crux of the Offensive of Tet 1968. We still regard that offensive as an important landmark marking the changes in the balance of forces of the two sides and the severe blows on the aggressive designs of the United States, forcing the United States to go to the negotiating table in Paris. This offensive also caused Johnson to resign just at about the time when the American election was kicking off.