Annotated Transcript Of Episode 6

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ANNOTATED TRANSCRIPT BURNS EPISODE 6 Things Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968)

Color Coding: Red = False statement; Yellow = Warning; Green = Not yet used; Blue = Interesting, warranting Attention;

Gray = I’ve got to study and verify this item; Pink = Loaded Words?

MINUTES 1-10

1

00:00:01,566 --> 00:00:03,000 ANNOUNCER: MAJOR SUPPORT FOR "THE VIETNAM WAR"

2

00:00:03,000 --> 00:00:06,500 WAS PROVIDED BY MEMBERS OF THE BETTER ANGELS SOCIETY,

3

00:00:06,500 --> 00:00:10,466 INCLUDING JONATHAN AND JEANNIE LAVINE,

4

00:00:10,466 --> 00:00:13,366 DIANE AND HAL BRIERLEY,

5

00:00:13,366 --> 00:00:15,766 AMY AND DAVID ABRAMS,

6

00:00:15,766 --> 00:00:18,266 JOHN AND CATHERINE DEBS,

7

00:00:18,266 --> 00:00:21,166 THE FULLERTON FAMILY CHARITABLE FUND,

8

00:00:21,166 --> 00:00:23,233 THE MONTRONE FAMILY,

9

00:00:23,233 --> 00:00:25,566 LYNDA AND STEWART RESNICK,

10

00:00:25,566 --> 00:00:28,333 THE PERRY AND DONNA GOLKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION,

11

00:00:28,333 --> 00:00:29,333 THE LYNCH FOUNDATION,

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00:00:29,333 --> 00:00:32,200 THE ROGER AND ROSEMARY ENRICO FOUNDATION,

13

00:00:32,200 --> 00:00:35,633 AND BY THESE ADDITIONAL FUNDERS.

14

00:00:35,633 --> 00:00:37,533 MAJOR FUNDING WAS ALSO PROVIDED

15

00:00:37,533 --> 00:00:39,266 BY DAVID H. KOCH...

16

00:00:41,566 --> 00:00:43,766 THE BLAVATNIK FAMILY FOUNDATION...

17

00:00:46,100 --> 00:00:48,533 THE PARK FOUNDATION,

18

00:00:48,533 --> 00:00:50,700 THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES,

19

00:00:50,700 --> 00:00:52,900 THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS,

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00:00:52,900 --> 00:00:55,566 THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION,

21

00:00:55,566 --> 00:00:58,333 THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION,

22

00:00:58,333 --> 00:01:01,000 THE ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATIONS,

23

00:01:01,000 --> 00:01:03,200 THE FORD FOUNDATION JUSTFILMS,

24

00:01:03,200 --> 00:01:04,400 BY THE CORPORATION

25

00:01:04,400 --> 00:01:05,633 FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING,

26

00:01:05,633 --> 00:01:07,600 AND BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

27

00:01:07,600 --> 00:01:08,733 THANK YOU.

28

00:01:13,266 --> 00:01:15,400 ANNOUNCER: BANK OF AMERICA PROUDLY SUPPORTS

29

00:01:15,400 --> 00:01:20,300 KEN BURNS' AND LYNN NOVICK'S FILM "THE VIETNAM WAR"

30

00:01:20,300 --> 00:01:22,700 BECAUSE FOSTERING DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

31

00:01:22,700 --> 00:01:25,300 AND CIVIL DISCOURSE AROUND IMPORTANT ISSUES

32

00:01:25,300 --> 00:01:27,600 FURTHERS PROGRESS, EQUALITY,

33

00:01:27,600 --> 00:01:29,600 AND A MORE CONNECTED SOCIETY.

34

00:01:34,066 --> 00:01:38,100 GO TO BANKOFAMERICA.COM/ BETTERCONNECTED TO LEARN MORE.

35

00:01:41,766 --> 00:01:44,533 (faint voice on radio)

36

00:01:49,033 --> 00:01:50,566 HELICOPTER PILOT: This is 2-3 arriving.

37

00:01:50,566 --> 00:01:53,000 We have them in sight and we're engaging at present time.

38

00:01:53,000 --> 00:01:54,100 MAN: Roger.

39

00:01:59,133 --> 00:02:02,500 RON FERRIZZI: HELICOPTER CREW CHIEF Helicopters are phenomenal machines.

40

00:02:02,500 --> 00:02:04,966 You could float in the air.

41

00:02:04,966 --> 00:02:06,533 You can be like God.

42

00:02:13,766 --> 00:02:16,666 I flew below 500 feet.

43

00:02:16,666 --> 00:02:19,800 Above 500 feet was a kill zone.

44

00:02:19,800 --> 00:02:24,500 You better be below 200 feet, the lower the better.

45

00:02:26,900 --> 00:02:28,500 My job was to get shot at.

46

00:02:28,500 --> 00:02:30,266 My job was to draw enemy fire.

47

00:02:30,266 --> 00:02:31,833 I was a duck, a decoy.

48

00:02:33,033 --> 00:02:34,766 I got shot at a lot.

49

00:02:34,766 --> 00:02:36,933 I engaged the enemy a lot.

50

00:02:36,933 --> 00:02:39,733 (voice on helicopter radio)

51

00:02:39,733 --> 00:02:42,133 (gunfire)

52

00:02:43,733 --> 00:02:47,466 You're screaming as loud as you can to try to cover up the sound

53

00:02:47,466 --> 00:02:49,633 of the incoming bullets

54

00:02:49,633 --> 00:02:51,333 because when they pass by your ear

55

00:02:51,333 --> 00:02:52,866 you could hear the popping sound.

56

00:02:52,866 --> 00:02:55,700 You don't hear the gunshot.

57

00:02:55,700 --> 00:02:57,800 That a 50-caliber just opened up on you,

58

00:02:57,800 --> 00:03:00,466 shooting a half-inch piece of lead flying at you...

59

00:03:00,466 --> 00:03:01,533 And the aircraft was... vroom!

60

00:03:03,633 --> 00:03:06,400 You're flying, you're 90 degrees the other way

61

00:03:06,400 --> 00:03:08,466 and you're-you're shooting yourself down

62

00:03:08,466 --> 00:03:10,400 because the rotor blades are right in front of you

63

00:03:10,400 --> 00:03:12,333 and you're trying to keep the gun from jamming

64

00:03:12,333 --> 00:03:14,800 because you're running around like this.

65

00:03:14,800 --> 00:03:16,966 And if your gun jams, you're done.

66

00:03:23,766 --> 00:03:28,433 NARRATOR: Vietnam was the first real helicopter war.

67

00:03:28,433 --> 00:03:33,733 Helicopter pilots flew more than 36 million sorties.

68

00:03:33,733 --> 00:03:37,633 Their crews scattered propaganda leaflets over the enemy

69

00:03:37,633 --> 00:03:42,033 and poured lethal fire into their positions;

70

00:03:42,033 --> 00:03:46,533 carried troops and supplies and artillery into battle;

71

00:03:46,533 --> 00:03:50,966 and lifted the wounded off the battlefield so swiftly

72

00:03:50,966 --> 00:03:55,300 that most reached a field hospital within 15 minutes.

73

00:04:01,133 --> 00:04:04,433 Ron Ferrizzi, a policeman's son

74

00:04:04,433 --> 00:04:07,733 from the Swampoodle neighborhood of North Philadelphia,

75

00:04:07,733 --> 00:04:11,533 got to Vietnam in November of 1967.

76

00:04:11,533 --> 00:04:14,633 He was a crew chief in a scout helicopter

77

00:04:14,633 --> 00:04:16,600 with the 1st Air Cavalry,

78

00:04:16,600 --> 00:04:21,866 flying out of Landing Zone Two-Bits in the Central Highlands.

79

00:04:21,866 --> 00:04:24,866 One day, after returning from a combat mission,

80

00:04:24,866 --> 00:04:29,066 he was approached by a journalist.

81

00:04:29,066 --> 00:04:30,800 FERRIZZI: And there was this...

82

00:04:30,800 --> 00:04:33,866 there was a beautiful woman.[1]

83

00:04:33,866 --> 00:04:37,066 You know, round eye woman... statuesque, round eye woman

84

00:04:37,066 --> 00:04:41,666 with nice hair and she looked pretty.

85

00:04:41,666 --> 00:04:44,000 Wow!

86

00:04:44,000 --> 00:04:46,866 She said, "Can I ask you a couple of questions?

87

00:04:46,866 --> 00:04:49,433 "What was it like out there?

88

00:04:49,433 --> 00:04:52,266 "How does it feel that a 50-caliber just opened up

89

00:04:52,266 --> 00:04:54,900 shooting a half-inch piece of lead at you?"

90

00:04:56,833 --> 00:04:59,033 When you... it's hard to describe.

91

00:04:59,033 --> 00:05:02,300 It's ...

92

00:05:02,300 --> 00:05:05,800 I mean, isn't it... isn't it apparent what it's like?

93

00:05:06,800 --> 00:05:08,733 You want to know what it's like?

94

00:05:08,733 --> 00:05:10,033 Go look at it.

95

00:05:10,033 --> 00:05:11,033 Go out there.

96

00:05:11,033 --> 00:05:12,900 Go see the bodies.

97

00:05:12,900 --> 00:05:14,700 I was ready to whack her.

98

00:05:14,700 --> 00:05:16,333 I wanted to blast her.

99

00:05:16,333 --> 00:05:17,466 I was ready to... whoa!

100

00:05:17,466 --> 00:05:18,533 "You want to know what it's like?

101

00:05:18,533 --> 00:05:19,566 "Boom! There it is.

102

00:05:19,566 --> 00:05:20,866 "I'll give it to you right now!

103

00:05:20,866 --> 00:05:22,466 "You want to feel it? You want to see it?

104

00:05:22,466 --> 00:05:24,133 "I'll give it to you if that's what you want.

105

00:05:24,133 --> 00:05:25,933 Is that what you want?"

106

00:05:25,933 --> 00:05:27,633 I don't want to tell you what it's like

107

00:05:27,633 --> 00:05:29,200 because I don't want to remember it.

108

00:05:29,200 --> 00:05:32,600 That's the insanity that it brings out. THE VIETNAM WAR

109

00:05:44,766 --> 00:05:48,533 (Big Brother and the Holding Company playing "Summertime")

110

00:06:02,000 --> 00:06:06,633 LYNDON JOHNSON: The enemy has been defeated in battle after battle.

111

00:06:06,633 --> 00:06:10,966 He continues to hope that America's will to persevere

112

00:06:10,966 --> 00:06:12,466 can be broken.

113

00:06:14,700 --> 00:06:18,400 Well, he is wrong.

114

00:06:18,400 --> 00:06:20,600 JANIS JOPLIN: ♪ Summer...

115

00:06:20,600 --> 00:06:25,100 NARRATOR: 1968 would prove to be a watershed year

116

00:06:25,100 --> 00:06:30,000 in the history of the Vietnam War and the United States.

117

00:06:30,000 --> 00:06:31,966 As the year began,

118

00:06:31,966 --> 00:06:37,100 there were 485,600 American troops in Vietnam

119

00:06:37,100 --> 00:06:39,533 and American leaders promised

120

00:06:39,533 --> 00:06:42,033 that victory was finally in sight,

121

00:06:42,033 --> 00:06:46,033 that there really was "light at the end of the tunnel."

122

00:06:46,033 --> 00:06:50,933 JOPLIN: ♪ Don't you cry...

123

00:06:50,933 --> 00:06:54,966 NARRATOR: But then, North Vietnam would mount a massive offensive

124

00:06:54,966 --> 00:06:58,366 that would result in a terrible defeat for them,

125

00:06:58,366 --> 00:07:01,300 that in the long run would turn out to have been

126

00:07:01,300 --> 00:07:04,700 a still-greater victory.

127

00:07:04,700 --> 00:07:08,566 America itself would be convulsed by assassinations

128

00:07:08,566 --> 00:07:12,700 and battles in the streets over the war and civil rights.

129

00:07:15,000 --> 00:07:16,566 An American president,

130

00:07:16,566 --> 00:07:20,166 a master politician used to getting things done,

131

00:07:20,166 --> 00:07:23,900 would continue to find himself besieged by problems

132

00:07:23,900 --> 00:07:27,033 he could not solve.

133

00:07:27,033 --> 00:07:29,000 JOPLIN: ♪ You're gonna rise...

134

00:07:29,000 --> 00:07:31,966 NARRATOR: Robert Kennedy, the brother of the slain president

135

00:07:31,966 --> 00:07:35,633 who had escalated American presence in Vietnam,

136

00:07:35,633 --> 00:07:40,600 wrote an editorial that year that seemed to speak for many.

137

00:07:40,600 --> 00:07:44,433 "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," he said,

138

00:07:44,433 --> 00:07:48,266 quoting the poet William Butler Yeats.

139

00:07:48,266 --> 00:07:52,300 "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold." EPISODE SIX - THINGS FALL APART (JANUARY-JULY 1968)


140

00:07:52,300 --> 00:07:55,966 JOPLIN: ♪ No, no, no, don't you cry

141

00:07:59,433 --> 00:08:05,300 ♪ Cry.

142

00:08:09,933 --> 00:08:11,133 WARREN ROGERS: LOOK MAGAZINE General Westmoreland, when you said

143

00:08:11,133 --> 00:08:12,866 that you'd never been more encouraged

144

00:08:12,866 --> 00:08:15,933 in the four years that you have been in Vietnam,

145

00:08:15,933 --> 00:08:17,466 some critics, on the other hand,

146

00:08:17,466 --> 00:08:19,700 have never been more discouraged.

147

00:08:19,700 --> 00:08:22,333 I wonder if you could detail one or two or three things

148

00:08:22,333 --> 00:08:25,100 that cause you to be so encouraged.

149

00:08:25,100 --> 00:08:28,366 GEN WESTMORELAND: I could quote a number of meaningful statistics

150

00:08:28,366 --> 00:08:31,466 such as the roads that are being opened,

151

00:08:31,466 --> 00:08:34,900 increasing number of enemy that have been killed

152

00:08:34,900 --> 00:08:38,333 and other statistical information,

153

00:08:38,333 --> 00:08:39,933 which suggests that we are making progress

154

00:08:39,933 --> 00:08:41,333 and we are winning.

155

00:08:41,333 --> 00:08:47,033 And I find an attitude of confidence and growing optimism.

156

00:08:47,033 --> 00:08:49,400 It prevails all over the country.

157

00:08:49,400 --> 00:08:52,033 And, to me, this is the most significant evidence

158

00:08:52,033 --> 00:08:57,533 I can give you that constant, real progress is being made.

159

00:09:01,466 --> 00:09:04,900 (man speaking Vietnamese)

160

00:09:06,566 --> 00:09:09,666 NARRATOR: On the evening of January 1, 1968,

161

00:09:09,666 --> 00:09:13,900 Ho Chi Minh broadcast a poem over Radio Hanoi.

162

00:09:15,000 --> 00:09:19,200 HO CHI MINH: Let North and South emulate each other in fighting the U.S. invaders. Forward! Total victory will be ours.

163

00:09:23,000 --> 00:09:25,166 NARRATOR: Communist commanders took this to mean

164

00:09:25,166 --> 00:09:27,166 that the ultimate battle,

165

00:09:27,166 --> 00:09:29,933 the General Offensive and General Uprising

166

00:09:29,933 --> 00:09:34,566 they had been planning for months, was imminent.

167

00:09:34,566 --> 00:09:37,266 Party First Secretary Le Duan,

168

00:09:37,266 --> 00:09:39,933 who had insisted on the offensive

169

00:09:39,933 --> 00:09:42,433 and had purged those opposed,

170

00:09:42,433 --> 00:09:46,266 believed it would finally bring about an end to the war.

171

00:09:46,266 --> 00:09:50,733 Viet Cong units supported by North Vietnamese troops

172

00:09:50,733 --> 00:09:54,200 were to simultaneously attack cities and bases

173

00:09:54,200 --> 00:09:56,133 all over the South.

174

00:09:56,133 --> 00:10:00,000 Le Duan promised those troops that when the fighting started,

175

00:10:00,000 --> 00:10:03,333 the people of South Vietnam would rise up

176

00:10:03,333 --> 00:10:05,833 and overthrow the Saigon government,

177

00:10:05,833 --> 00:10:09,233 just as the Vietnamese had risen up against the Japanese

178

00:10:09,233 --> 00:10:12,566 in August of 1945.

179

00:10:12,566 --> 00:10:17,166 With Saigon defeated, the Americans would have no choice

180

00:10:17,166 --> 00:10:20,200 but to withdraw from Vietnam.

181

00:10:20,200 --> 00:10:23,466 The surprise attacks would begin at the end of the month,

182

00:10:23,466 --> 00:10:29,666 at the start of the Lunar New Year celebration called Tet.

MINUTES 10-20

183

00:10:30,666 --> 00:10:33,500 HO HUU LAN: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY We listened to Uncle Ho's Poem. "Advance! We will achieve total victory." We felt this would be the end.

184

00:10:41,633 --> 00:10:44,666 NARRATOR: The Viet Cong were already infiltrating

185

00:10:44,666 --> 00:10:47,566 scores of cities and towns.

186

00:10:47,566 --> 00:10:50,733 Tens of thousands of North Vietnamese troops

187

00:10:50,733 --> 00:10:54,133 were now in place in South Vietnam.

188

00:10:54,133 --> 00:10:58,566 Tons of smuggled Chinese and Soviet-made weapons

189

00:10:58,566 --> 00:11:02,800 had been spirited towards intended targets in sampans

190

00:11:02,800 --> 00:11:05,833 and flower carts and false-bottomed trucks,

191

00:11:05,833 --> 00:11:11,300 and then buried in paddy fields and garbage dumps and cemeteries

192

00:11:11,300 --> 00:11:14,200 until the moment came for them to be retrieved.

193

00:11:15,300 --> 00:11:18,800 LE VAN CHO: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY To operate in the daytime, we had to look like civilians. So we pretended to be farmers or puppet officials. We were ordered to dress as women and put our AKs under our dresses.[2]

194

00:11:44,800 --> 00:11:47,433 NARRATOR: More than 10,000 American military

195

00:11:47,433 --> 00:11:50,000 and civilian intelligence officers were at work

196

00:11:50,000 --> 00:11:52,333 in South Vietnam,

197

00:11:52,333 --> 00:11:56,000 and here and there, hints of what was to come

198

00:11:56,000 --> 00:11:58,600 filtered up the chain of command.

199

00:11:58,600 --> 00:12:02,600 Enemy units were moving around in inexplicable ways;

200

00:12:02,600 --> 00:12:05,900 captured enemy reports described coming attacks

201

00:12:05,900 --> 00:12:07,166 on different cities;

202

00:12:07,166 --> 00:12:11,100 11 agents were caught in the city of Qui Nhon

203

00:12:11,100 --> 00:12:15,166 carrying prerecorded tapes calling on the local people

204

00:12:15,166 --> 00:12:18,400 to rise up against the Saigon government.

205

00:12:18,400 --> 00:12:20,733 PHILIP BRADY: U.S.A.I.D. All of these things were saying to us,

206

00:12:20,733 --> 00:12:22,333 "Something's going to happen."

207

00:12:22,333 --> 00:12:24,766 But we don't know exactly what.

208

00:12:24,766 --> 00:12:28,766 NARRATOR: General Westmoreland thought he knew.

209

00:12:28,766 --> 00:12:30,766 "I believe that the enemy will attempt

210

00:12:30,766 --> 00:12:34,566 a country-wide show of strength just prior to Tet,"

211

00:12:34,566 --> 00:12:39,066 he cabled Washington, "with Khe Sanh being the main event."

212

00:12:39,066 --> 00:12:40,900 ("Voodoo Chile" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience playing)

213

00:12:40,900 --> 00:12:43,533 Some 30,000 North Vietnamese troops had gathered

214

00:12:43,533 --> 00:12:48,066 near Khe Sanh, the westernmost strongpoint below the DMZ

215

00:12:48,066 --> 00:12:51,933 that was being held by just 6,000 Marines.

216

00:12:51,933 --> 00:12:55,200 Westmoreland believed North Vietnam wanted to isolate

217

00:12:55,200 --> 00:12:58,300 and annihilate the U.S. forces there,

218

00:12:58,300 --> 00:13:02,733 just as the Viet Minh had done to the French at Dien Bien Phu

219

00:13:02,733 --> 00:13:04,933 14 years earlier.

220

00:13:04,933 --> 00:13:09,200 Enemy attacks elsewhere, Westmoreland was sure,

221

00:13:09,200 --> 00:13:11,533 would only be a diversion.

222

00:13:11,533 --> 00:13:16,300 One American general, Frederick C. Weyand, was not so sure.

223

00:13:16,300 --> 00:13:20,166 He was able to persuade Westmoreland to let him pull

224

00:13:20,166 --> 00:13:23,166 half his troops back from the Cambodian border

225

00:13:23,166 --> 00:13:29,266 to take up defensive positions outside Saigon just in case.

226

00:13:29,266 --> 00:13:31,766 ROBERT GORALSKI: This is an underground bunker at Khe Sanh,

227

00:13:31,766 --> 00:13:33,666 one of two cement havens left

228

00:13:33,666 --> 00:13:35,133 from the earlier days of the war

229

00:13:35,133 --> 00:13:36,900 when the Special Forces held this base.

230

00:13:36,900 --> 00:13:39,700 It is dark, dank, dreary.

231

00:13:39,700 --> 00:13:45,700 MARINE: You feel something in the air, about the buildup.

232

00:13:45,700 --> 00:13:47,166 I don't know, you could...

233

00:13:47,166 --> 00:13:50,100 you could almost feel them working around you at night.

234

00:13:50,100 --> 00:13:51,500 Who?

235

00:13:51,500 --> 00:13:53,300 Uh, the NVA.

236

00:13:55,133 --> 00:13:57,033 NARRATOR: On January 21,

237

00:13:57,033 --> 00:14:00,200 the North Vietnamese began shelling Khe Sanh.

238

00:14:00,200 --> 00:14:02,100 (mortar shrieks)

239

00:14:02,100 --> 00:14:04,333 (explosions, shouting)

240

00:14:08,666 --> 00:14:11,733 CAO XUAN DAI: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY The American Marines were in a very tough situation, under pressure and surrounded. Westmoreland said it would be the American Dien Bien Phu. He said it would be the decisive battle. But we had already moved most of our forces elsewhere.[3]

241

00:14:42,466 --> 00:14:49,833 ("You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Vanilla Fudge playing)

242

00:14:58,500 --> 00:15:01,966 (song continues, gunfire, men shouting)

243

00:15:06,033 --> 00:15:09,700 NARRATOR: When he learned of the attack on Khe Sanh,

244

00:15:09,700 --> 00:15:12,833 Lyndon Johnson made the Joint Chiefs sign a pledge

245

00:15:12,833 --> 00:15:14,933 that the base would never fall.

246

00:15:14,933 --> 00:15:19,233 "I don't want any damn 'Dinbinphoo,'" he said.

247

00:15:19,233 --> 00:15:23,566 The president had a scale-model of the battlefield installed

248

00:15:23,566 --> 00:15:26,966 in the White House so that he could follow the fighting there

249

00:15:26,966 --> 00:15:29,300 hour by hour.

250

00:15:29,300 --> 00:15:31,333 ("You Keep Me Hangin' On" continues)

251

00:15:31,333 --> 00:15:37,000 NARRATOR: But Westmoreland's and Johnson's basic assumption was wrong.

252

00:15:37,000 --> 00:15:39,766 Khe Sanh was the sideshow;

253

00:15:39,766 --> 00:15:43,800 the attacks on cities and towns that were about to begin

254

00:15:43,800 --> 00:15:47,800 throughout South Vietnam would be the main event.

255

00:15:53,566 --> 00:15:56,866 But First Secretary Le Duan's basic assumptions

256

00:15:56,866 --> 00:16:00,100 were about to be tested, too.

257

00:16:00,100 --> 00:16:02,533 For the coming offensive to succeed,

258

00:16:02,533 --> 00:16:07,033 the South Vietnamese Army, the ARVN, would have to collapse,

259

00:16:07,033 --> 00:16:09,100 and the people of the South

260

00:16:09,100 --> 00:16:11,766 would have to join the revolution.

261

00:16:13,466 --> 00:16:16,700 LE CONG HUAN: VIET CONG The slogan was, "An opportunity like this comes once every thousand years." We were confident. We were told to bring only our newest uniform to wear when we seized Saigon.

262

00:16:35,133 --> 00:16:39,133 NARRATOR: "All our thinking was focused on finishing off the enemy,"

263

00:16:39,133 --> 00:16:41,833 one North Vietnamese general remembered.

264

00:16:41,833 --> 00:16:46,366 "We were intoxicated by that thought."

265

00:16:47,366 --> 00:16:49,600 HUY DUC: NORTH VIETNAM Preparations were so thorough that in many places before leaving their jungle bases, soldiers destroyed their cooking equipment and burned their huts. They believed they would never have to go back.

266

00:17:13,033 --> 00:17:16,066 MORTON DEAN: Okay, we've got our three wounded GIs on board.

267

00:17:16,066 --> 00:17:19,266 At least one of them is hit pretty bad.

268

00:17:19,266 --> 00:17:22,933 Medic's got a busy, busy few minutes ahead of him

269

00:17:22,933 --> 00:17:24,666 before we get back.

270

00:17:24,666 --> 00:17:28,500 NARRATOR: As the date for the Tet Offensive approached,

271

00:17:28,500 --> 00:17:31,300 the war continued for the hundreds of thousands

272

00:17:31,300 --> 00:17:34,466 of Americans in country.

273

00:17:36,300 --> 00:17:39,133 HAL KUSHNER: ARMY DOCTOR I did see the reality of war,

274

00:17:39,133 --> 00:17:42,800 a real education for a young doctor.

275

00:17:45,033 --> 00:17:49,200 The war seemed to be going very well from our point of view.

276

00:17:51,366 --> 00:17:56,000 The war seemed to be going just fine, thank you.

277

00:17:56,000 --> 00:18:00,833 NARRATOR: Captain Hal Kushner was a 26-year-old recent graduate

278

00:18:00,833 --> 00:18:04,500 of medical school from Danville, Virginia.

279

00:18:04,500 --> 00:18:06,500 The father of a three-year-old girl,

280

00:18:06,500 --> 00:18:08,800 with another baby on the way,

281

00:18:08,800 --> 00:18:11,233 he had volunteered to serve in Vietnam

282

00:18:11,233 --> 00:18:16,466 and became a flight surgeon with the 1st Air Cavalry.

283

00:18:16,466 --> 00:18:18,266 KUSHNER: And I was supposed to give

284

00:18:18,266 --> 00:18:21,233 a lecture on the dangers of night flying, ironically.

285

00:18:21,233 --> 00:18:22,266 And I did.

286

00:18:22,266 --> 00:18:25,900 We had terrible weather that night.

287

00:18:25,900 --> 00:18:29,800 And it was dark and it was rainy and it was windy.

288

00:18:29,800 --> 00:18:31,133 As we were flying

289

00:18:31,133 --> 00:18:34,566 I saw that we had drifted west of the highway.

290

00:18:34,566 --> 00:18:37,866 And I knew that was wrong.

291

00:18:37,866 --> 00:18:39,900 NARRATOR: In the fog and rain,

292

00:18:39,900 --> 00:18:43,700 Kushner's helicopter slammed into a mountain.

293

00:18:46,466 --> 00:18:48,500 KUSHNER: And the next thing I knew

294

00:18:48,500 --> 00:18:51,566 I was hanging upside down in a burning helicopter.

295

00:18:51,566 --> 00:18:54,500 Major Porcella was dead.

296

00:18:54,500 --> 00:18:57,200 I just jumped away from the helicopter,

297

00:18:57,200 --> 00:19:01,533 and it just went whoosh, and it just burned up.

298

00:19:01,533 --> 00:19:04,500 There was an M60 machine gun on the helicopter

299

00:19:04,500 --> 00:19:08,733 and the rounds had... cooking off and it was exploding.

300

00:19:08,733 --> 00:19:12,666 And one or several of the rounds went through my shoulder,

301

00:19:12,666 --> 00:19:13,800 my left shoulder.

302

00:19:15,800 --> 00:19:19,233 On the ground I saw Warrant Officer Bedworth.

303

00:19:19,233 --> 00:19:22,400 And he was hurt very badly.

304

00:19:22,400 --> 00:19:27,500 I took some branches and splinted his leg.

305

00:19:27,500 --> 00:19:34,033 So the rule is you wait with the aircraft until you get rescued.

306

00:19:34,033 --> 00:19:35,600 And we just sat there.

307

00:19:35,600 --> 00:19:38,233 So we waited one day.

308

00:19:38,233 --> 00:19:40,100 We waited two days.

309

00:19:40,100 --> 00:19:43,466 We had no food or water.

310

00:19:43,466 --> 00:19:47,300 On the morning of the third day, Bedworth died.

311

00:19:47,300 --> 00:19:50,300 And he just slipped away.

312

00:19:50,300 --> 00:19:51,766 It was very, very sad.

313

00:19:53,500 --> 00:19:57,466 And I thought that my best choice was to leave the aircraft

314

00:19:57,466 --> 00:19:59,966 and try to go down the mountain.

315

00:19:59,966 --> 00:20:02,800 NARRATOR: It took the wounded Kushner four hours

316

00:20:02,800 --> 00:20:05,566 to stagger down the hill.

317

00:20:05,566 --> 00:20:09,133 When he finally reached level ground, he looked back up

318

00:20:09,133 --> 00:20:13,433 and saw two American helicopters hovering above the crash site.

319

00:20:14,833 --> 00:20:17,766 Their pilots did not see him.

MINUTES 20-30

320

00:20:21,800 --> 00:20:24,200 KUSHNER: And I saw this peasant working in a rice paddy.

321

00:20:24,200 --> 00:20:26,333 And he saw me.

322

00:20:26,333 --> 00:20:30,066 And I had captain's bars and a Caduceus, a medical symbol,

323

00:20:30,066 --> 00:20:31,966 on my collar.

324

00:20:31,966 --> 00:20:34,833 And he said (speaking Vietnamese).

325

00:20:34,833 --> 00:20:36,966 Captain, doctor.

326

00:20:36,966 --> 00:20:42,900 He took me about another mile to a little hooch, a little house,

327

00:20:42,900 --> 00:20:45,900 and he sat me down on the front of it

328

00:20:45,900 --> 00:20:49,233 and he brought out a can of condensed milk.

329

00:20:49,233 --> 00:20:51,800 And as I was eating the stuff--

330

00:20:51,800 --> 00:20:54,800 it was just the best stuff I've ever eaten in my whole life--

331

00:20:54,800 --> 00:20:59,733 I hear another person say, "(repeating Vietnamese phrase).

332

00:20:59,733 --> 00:21:02,333 "Surrender, no kill."

333

00:21:02,333 --> 00:21:05,766 There was a squad of Viet Cong there.

334

00:21:05,766 --> 00:21:08,466 And I put my one arm up.

335

00:21:08,466 --> 00:21:12,433 And he shot me with an M2 carbine.

336

00:21:12,433 --> 00:21:14,533 And I think he was more nervous than I was.

337

00:21:14,533 --> 00:21:18,166 And he shot me right where the M60 had shot me.

338

00:21:18,166 --> 00:21:21,366 And it went right through my neck and came out the back.

339

00:21:21,366 --> 00:21:25,933 And they tied my arms very tightly in commo wire.

340

00:21:25,933 --> 00:21:29,833 He went through my wallet and he took my Geneva Convention card,

341

00:21:29,833 --> 00:21:32,133 which was white with a red cross.

342

00:21:32,133 --> 00:21:33,633 And he tore it up.

343

00:21:33,633 --> 00:21:39,400 And he said, in English, "No P.O.W.

344

00:21:39,400 --> 00:21:41,433 Criminal. Criminal."

345

00:21:41,433 --> 00:21:45,000 So then they took my boots.

346

00:21:45,000 --> 00:21:47,533 And we started marching.

347

00:21:47,533 --> 00:21:49,833 And then we walked for a month.

348

00:21:52,066 --> 00:21:56,600 30 days, almost always at night.

349

00:21:56,600 --> 00:22:00,200 And my feet were just lacerated.

350

00:22:00,200 --> 00:22:03,566 I didn't think I could possibly survive.

351

00:22:08,966 --> 00:22:11,666 NGUYEN NGOC: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY They told us to get ready for a major offensive against the cities. A total attack and total uprising. We were on the outskirts of the cities. We could go in and out easily.[4] So I thought we would be successful.

352

00:22:32,733 --> 00:22:34,500 NARRATOR: By January 30,

353

00:22:34,500 --> 00:22:39,633 an informal 36-hour truce for Tet was in effect.[5]

354

00:22:39,633 --> 00:22:44,166 Thousands of ARVN troops had gone home for the holiday.

355

00:22:46,700 --> 00:22:48,500 The enemy had not.

356

00:22:49,800 --> 00:22:52,900 NGUYEN VAN TONG: VIET CONG Our units celebrated Tet early. We ate holiday sweets, meat, and pickled bean sprouts. It was dekicious, Everybody was happy. The next night we crossed the Saigon River and marched to the west of the city.

357

00:23:16,000 --> 00:23:19,433 NARRATOR: That same day, Marine Corporal Roger Harris

358

00:23:19,433 --> 00:23:22,833 was scheduled to fly out of Vietnam.

359

00:23:22,833 --> 00:23:25,933 His 13-month tour was over.

360

00:23:25,933 --> 00:23:29,266 But he and his unit were still hunkered down

361

00:23:29,266 --> 00:23:34,900 under constant shelling at Camp Carroll, just south of the DMZ.

362

00:23:36,800 --> 00:23:38,733 HARRIS: MARINES Well, once I had my orders, you know,

363

00:23:38,733 --> 00:23:41,066 I said goodbye to all my friends.

364

00:23:41,066 --> 00:23:44,366 And then I went over to the landing zone.

365

00:23:44,366 --> 00:23:47,400 So when the helicopters come in,

366

00:23:47,400 --> 00:23:50,366 I put the body bags on the helicopter.

367

00:23:50,366 --> 00:23:52,533 And I got on with the bodies.

368

00:23:54,633 --> 00:23:57,300 We landed in Dong Ha, which was division headquarters.

369

00:23:57,300 --> 00:24:00,900 And we got about 200 meters from the airstrip,

370

00:24:00,900 --> 00:24:03,366 the airstrip started getting hit.

371

00:24:05,833 --> 00:24:09,366 I'm just thinking personally that God realizes

372

00:24:09,366 --> 00:24:12,100 that he made a mistake because some of the guys that got killed

373

00:24:12,100 --> 00:24:15,166 that were with me were good Christians that never had sex,

374

00:24:15,166 --> 00:24:17,066 didn't swear, you know.

375

00:24:17,066 --> 00:24:19,933 And, you know, I had been this sinner.

376

00:24:19,933 --> 00:24:22,933 And I'm thinking God realized he made a mistake.

377

00:24:22,933 --> 00:24:26,166 He killed the Christians and I got away.

378

00:24:26,166 --> 00:24:28,433 And so now Death is following me.

379

00:24:30,100 --> 00:24:31,900 And they told us that in another hour or so

380

00:24:31,900 --> 00:24:33,566 a plane was going to come in.

381

00:24:33,566 --> 00:24:37,066 When it came in, then the artillery started coming in.

382

00:24:37,066 --> 00:24:39,666 And we jumped on and took off.

383

00:24:41,800 --> 00:24:43,833 And it landed in Danang.

384

00:24:43,833 --> 00:24:46,800 And then the sun came up and we went to the airstrip

385

00:24:46,800 --> 00:24:47,866 and we boarded airplanes.

386

00:24:47,866 --> 00:24:49,700 And we were sitting there.

387

00:24:49,700 --> 00:24:52,933 Everybody's giving each other pounds and slapping five.

388

00:24:52,933 --> 00:24:54,433 We made it.

389

00:24:54,433 --> 00:24:56,066 And then all of a sudden...

390

00:24:56,066 --> 00:24:59,266 (imitates whistles and explosions)

391

00:24:59,266 --> 00:25:05,400 Danang airstrip starts getting hit, artillery's coming in.

392

00:25:05,400 --> 00:25:09,433 And I'm thinking, "It's all coming after me."

393

00:25:09,433 --> 00:25:12,233 It's all about me, you know.

394

00:25:12,233 --> 00:25:14,900 God doesn't want me to make it out of here.

395

00:25:16,566 --> 00:25:21,800 NARRATOR: In the early morning hours of January 31, 1968,[6]

396

00:25:21,800 --> 00:25:26,533 84,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops attacked

397

00:25:26,533 --> 00:25:31,200 36 of South Vietnam's 44 provincial capitals,

398

00:25:31,200 --> 00:25:34,500 dozens of American and ARVN military bases

399

00:25:34,500 --> 00:25:37,700 and the six largest cities in the country,

400

00:25:37,700 --> 00:25:40,966 including Hue, Danang, and Saigon.

401

00:25:40,966 --> 00:25:42,566 (automatic gunfire)

402

00:25:42,566 --> 00:25:44,966 Their goal, their commanders told them,

403

00:25:44,966 --> 00:25:48,400 was to "crack the sky and shake the earth."

404

00:25:52,800 --> 00:25:56,433 (shouting, explosions)

405

00:26:00,266 --> 00:26:05,000 In Saigon, General Westmoreland mistook the first explosions

406

00:26:05,000 --> 00:26:06,633 as holiday firecrackers.

407

00:26:10,566 --> 00:26:14,166 His deputy commander, General Creighton W. Abrams,

408

00:26:14,166 --> 00:26:18,666 was asleep, and his aides did not bother to wake him.

409

00:26:18,666 --> 00:26:23,100 Not a single top commander was present at "Pentagon East,"

410

00:26:23,100 --> 00:26:26,866 the sprawling MACV headquarters at Tan Son Nhut Air Base

411

00:26:26,866 --> 00:26:29,133 on the outskirts of Saigon,

412

00:26:29,133 --> 00:26:33,033 when mortars and rockets began cratering the runways.

413

00:26:57,533 --> 00:26:58,933 It's moving.

LE CONG HUAN: VIET CONG We were ordered to assault the Tan Son Nhut Airport. Dawn was breaking when we entered the airbase. According to the plan, trucks were supposed to carry us to the Presidential Palace, but they didn't show up.

414

00:27:13,633 --> 00:27:18,233 NARRATOR: Viet Cong soldiers spread out to attack specific targets

415

00:27:18,233 --> 00:27:20,033 in and around the capital.

416

00:27:20,033 --> 00:27:25,066 The war had come to the streets of Saigon.

417

00:27:25,066 --> 00:27:29,133 Had General Weyand not insisted on stationing troops

418

00:27:29,133 --> 00:27:30,466 around the city,

419

00:27:30,466 --> 00:27:34,466 Saigon itself would have been in far greater danger.

420

00:27:37,466 --> 00:27:40,433 DUONG VAN MAI ELLIOTT: SAIGON We heard gunfire

421

00:27:40,433 --> 00:27:44,333 and our first reaction was, "Must be another coup d'état."

422

00:27:44,333 --> 00:27:45,800 (gunfire)

423

00:27:45,800 --> 00:27:50,200 And then we heard that the Viet Cong had attacked Saigon

424

00:27:50,200 --> 00:27:51,766 and were still attacking.

425

00:27:51,766 --> 00:27:55,833 It came as a total shock because we always thought

426

00:27:55,833 --> 00:28:00,866 Saigon was safe, the safest place in all of South Vietnam.

427

00:28:05,900 --> 00:28:08,500 NARRATOR: One Viet Cong squad made it

428

00:28:08,500 --> 00:28:10,366 all the way to the Presidential Palace,

429

00:28:10,366 --> 00:28:13,533 but was stopped by South Vietnamese tanks.

430

00:28:16,866 --> 00:28:20,300 The survivors holed up in a building across the street

431

00:28:20,300 --> 00:28:24,566 and were shot by ARVN troops and American MPs.

432

00:28:28,300 --> 00:28:35,066 All over Saigon, nothing was going according to plan.

433

00:28:35,066 --> 00:28:39,633 Viet Cong units were taking heavy losses from U.S. troops

434

00:28:39,633 --> 00:28:42,666 and determined South Vietnamese forces[7].

435

00:28:51,800 --> 00:28:54,433 (shouting)

436

00:28:57,566 --> 00:28:59,333 NGUYEN THANH TUNG: VIET CONG The enemy counter attacked. Some of my comrades were killed. Miss Tram screamed that she had been hit. She died in my arms. About an hour later, I was wounded. I still have shrapnel in my leg.

437

00:29:24,766 --> 00:29:27,100 (indistinct chatter on radio)

438

00:29:40,600 --> 00:29:42,533 ("The Blue Danube" playing on radio)

439

00:29:42,533 --> 00:29:44,433 DON WEBSTER: This is the main Vietnamese language radio station

440

00:29:44,433 --> 00:29:45,800 in Saigon.

441

00:29:45,800 --> 00:29:48,966 And right now there are an undisclosed number of VC inside

442

00:29:48,966 --> 00:29:50,200 occupying the station.

443

00:29:50,200 --> 00:29:52,900 NARRATOR: The Viet Cong managed to seize

444

00:29:52,900 --> 00:29:55,733 South Vietnam's national radio station

445

00:29:55,733 --> 00:29:59,800 and prepared to broadcast a taped message from Ho Chi Minh

446

00:29:59,800 --> 00:30:02,900 calling upon the people to rise up.

447

00:30:04,333 --> 00:30:07,633 But a technician radioed to the transmitting tower

448

00:30:07,633 --> 00:30:11,466 to cut them off and broadcast Viennese waltzes

449

00:30:11,466 --> 00:30:13,933 and Beatles songs instead.

MINUTES 30-40

450

00:30:13,933 --> 00:30:16,533 ("Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles playing)

451

00:30:16,533 --> 00:30:22,233 ♪ Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream ♪

452

00:30:22,233 --> 00:30:25,700 ♪ It is not dying

453

00:30:25,700 --> 00:30:30,633 ♪ It is not dying

454

00:30:30,633 --> 00:30:37,500 ♪ But listen to the color of your dreams ♪

455

00:30:37,500 --> 00:30:46,133 ♪ It is not living, it is not living ♪

456

00:30:46,133 --> 00:30:47,733 (song continues)

457

00:30:55,666 --> 00:31:00,533 NARRATOR: The Saigon suburb of Bien Hoa was under attack, too.

458

00:31:00,533 --> 00:31:04,300 Enemy forces were assaulting both the airbase there

459

00:31:04,300 --> 00:31:05,933 and Long Binh,

460

00:31:05,933 --> 00:31:10,000 the largest American installation in Vietnam.

461

00:31:12,566 --> 00:31:18,133 BRADY: There were VC moving on the house, moving everywhere.

462

00:31:18,133 --> 00:31:22,400 A lot of shooting, a lot of confusion going on.

463

00:31:22,400 --> 00:31:25,166 And we were shooting out the window.

464

00:31:25,166 --> 00:31:28,066 And my wife was reloading.

465

00:31:28,066 --> 00:31:30,666 When we ran out of ammunition, we'd sli...

466

00:31:30,666 --> 00:31:34,433 slide the magazine down the tiles

467

00:31:34,433 --> 00:31:36,333 and she was down there at the other end

468

00:31:36,333 --> 00:31:38,900 filling 'em up and sliding 'em back.

469

00:31:40,966 --> 00:31:43,866 NARRATOR: Viet Cong commandos managed to slip through the wire

470

00:31:43,866 --> 00:31:48,300 at Long Binh and blow up a huge ammunition dump.

471

00:31:48,300 --> 00:31:52,033 A mushroom cloud rose above the airfield,

472

00:31:52,033 --> 00:31:54,666 so vast that some of the Americans thought there had been

473

00:31:54,666 --> 00:31:56,800 a nuclear explosion.

474

00:31:56,800 --> 00:32:00,300 The blast blew off the door of Brady's building.

475

00:32:02,966 --> 00:32:07,200 BRADY: They went up against the wire in Long Binh

476

00:32:07,200 --> 00:32:08,933 and paid a frightful price.

477

00:32:10,800 --> 00:32:13,000 There were just layers of bodies.

478

00:32:13,000 --> 00:32:15,500 The Americans just cut them down.

479

00:32:18,133 --> 00:32:19,400 JOHNNY CARSON: Hi, this is Johnny Carson.

480

00:32:19,400 --> 00:32:20,933 As you know, this is the usual starting time

481

00:32:20,933 --> 00:32:22,333 for the Tonight Show.

482

00:32:22,333 --> 00:32:26,166 But because of the critical war situation in Vietnam,

483

00:32:26,166 --> 00:32:29,366 especially around Saigon, NBC, for the next 15 minutes,

484

00:32:29,366 --> 00:32:32,433 is going to bring you a special news program via satellite.

485

00:32:32,433 --> 00:32:34,433 NBC NEWS ANNOUNCER: Just after midnight their time,

486

00:32:34,433 --> 00:32:37,300 a band of Viet Cong raiders blew up a power installation

487

00:32:37,300 --> 00:32:39,600 and attacked two police stations in Saigon.

488

00:32:39,600 --> 00:32:42,266 It all amounts to the most ambitious series

489

00:32:42,266 --> 00:32:44,200 of communist attacks yet mounted,

490

00:32:44,200 --> 00:32:46,966 spreading violence into at least ten provincial capitals,

491

00:32:46,966 --> 00:32:49,866 plus American air bases and civilian installations

492

00:32:49,866 --> 00:32:52,033 stretching the entire length of the country.

493

00:32:52,033 --> 00:32:54,933 None had greater psychological impact

494

00:32:54,933 --> 00:32:57,500 than the assault on the American embassy in Saigon.

495

00:33:00,800 --> 00:33:03,300 NARRATOR: In the first few hours of the fighting,

496

00:33:03,300 --> 00:33:07,366 19 specially trained commandos had blasted their way

497

00:33:07,366 --> 00:33:11,866 into the sprawling compound of the United States embassy.

498

00:33:14,166 --> 00:33:17,733 DON NORTH: There's a... there's a rush, they're rushing the embassy.

499

00:33:17,733 --> 00:33:20,133 That's fire coming from the other side of the street now,

500

00:33:20,133 --> 00:33:21,466 outside the embassy.

501

00:33:21,466 --> 00:33:23,133 They're exchanging across the street.

502

00:33:23,133 --> 00:33:25,100 You can see the tracer bullets going past.

503

00:33:25,100 --> 00:33:27,333 (explosions, gunfire, shouting)

504

00:33:27,333 --> 00:33:29,500 That's outside the embassy.

505

00:33:33,033 --> 00:33:35,066 MAN (on radio): Uh, this is Waco, roger.

506

00:33:35,066 --> 00:33:37,700 Uh, can you get in the gates now?

507

00:33:37,700 --> 00:33:39,600 Are the gates open and can you take a force in there

508

00:33:39,600 --> 00:33:41,633 and clean out that embassy right now?

509

00:33:41,633 --> 00:33:43,566 (shouting)

510

00:33:57,233 --> 00:33:59,800 NORTH: Apparently the Viet Cong are trapped in the basement

511

00:33:59,800 --> 00:34:04,066 of this side building, an incredible situation.

512

00:34:10,533 --> 00:34:13,366 Heavy firing, incoming and outgoing.

513

00:34:13,366 --> 00:34:17,566 Don North, ABC News, at the U.S. embassy, in Saigon.

514

00:34:17,566 --> 00:34:22,733 NARRATOR: All of the intruders were eventually killed or captured.

515

00:34:24,233 --> 00:34:26,533 NORTH: What a sight.

516

00:34:26,533 --> 00:34:30,800 A small frog hopping through a pool of blood

517

00:34:30,800 --> 00:34:35,266 that's issuing from the head of a Viet Cong,

518

00:34:35,266 --> 00:34:41,166 lying on the green grassy lawn of the U.S. embassy.

519

00:34:45,666 --> 00:34:48,466 NGUYEN VAN TONG: VIET CONG I have a high opinion of the attack on the embassy. Those commandos managed to hold the embassy for several hours. It woke America up.

520

00:35:04,033 --> 00:35:08,400 NARRATOR: An American Marine and four Army MPs were killed

521

00:35:08,400 --> 00:35:09,900 at the embassy.

522

00:35:11,633 --> 00:35:14,166 REPORTER: General, how would you assess

523

00:35:14,166 --> 00:35:15,800 yesterday's activities and today's?

524

00:35:15,800 --> 00:35:17,833 What is the enemy doing? Are these major attacks?

525

00:35:17,833 --> 00:35:19,400 Or... (explosion)

526

00:35:21,366 --> 00:35:27,300 WESTMORELAND: That's E.O.D. setting off a couple of M-79 duds, I believe.

527

00:35:27,300 --> 00:35:31,166 The enemy, very deceitfully,

528

00:35:31,166 --> 00:35:34,633 has taken advantage of the Tet truce,

529

00:35:34,633 --> 00:35:41,533 in order to, uh... create maximum consternation.

530

00:35:41,533 --> 00:35:44,000 In my opinion, this is diversionary...

531

00:35:44,000 --> 00:35:47,933 NARRATOR: Early wire service dispatches reported incorrectly

532

00:35:47,933 --> 00:35:52,600 that the Viet Cong had made it inside the embassy itself.

533

00:35:52,600 --> 00:35:55,733 REPORTER: Embassy ID cards were found on some of the Viet Cong.

534

00:35:55,733 --> 00:35:58,300 NARRATOR: And the first television footage did little

535

00:35:58,300 --> 00:36:02,500 to reassure the American public.

536

00:36:02,500 --> 00:36:03,966 REPORTER: Is Saigon secure right now?

537

00:36:03,966 --> 00:36:07,066 ELLSWORTH BUNKER: Saigon's secure as far as I know.

538

00:36:07,066 --> 00:36:08,433 There's no more fighting in the streets?

539

00:36:08,433 --> 00:36:09,733 There may be some in the outskirts still.

540

00:36:09,733 --> 00:36:12,666 I'm not sure, don't know.

541

00:36:12,666 --> 00:36:14,000 I'm not sure about that, no.

542

00:36:15,933 --> 00:36:18,800 NARRATOR: Saigon was far from secure.

543

00:36:18,800 --> 00:36:20,666 (shouting)

544

00:36:38,266 --> 00:36:40,166 (no voice)

545

00:36:45,233 --> 00:36:48,300 (distant, echoing gunfire)

546

00:36:48,300 --> 00:36:49,400 (screaming)

547

00:36:49,400 --> 00:36:51,400 Viet Cong assassination squads,

548

00:36:51,400 --> 00:36:55,433 some guided by North[8] Vietnamese spies,

549

00:36:55,433 --> 00:36:59,500 moved through the streets with orders to kill what they called

550

00:36:59,500 --> 00:37:01,566 "blood" enemies of the people...

551

00:37:01,566 --> 00:37:03,766 (gunfire, screaming)

552

00:37:03,766 --> 00:37:09,633 bureaucrats, intelligence officers, ARVN commanders,

553

00:37:09,633 --> 00:37:14,100 and ordinary soldiers home on leave, and their families.

554

00:37:14,100 --> 00:37:18,466 DUONG VAN MAI ELLIOTT: I went home to visit my parents

555

00:37:18,466 --> 00:37:22,333 and I found them kind of huddled in their house, the doors shut,

556

00:37:22,333 --> 00:37:24,700 the windows shut, very dark.

557

00:37:24,700 --> 00:37:27,900 They were very afraid because our house was located

558

00:37:27,900 --> 00:37:29,666 near a slum.

559

00:37:29,666 --> 00:37:33,500 And we always assumed that there were a lot of Viet Cong agents

560

00:37:33,500 --> 00:37:38,300 living among the poor where they could hide very easily,

561

00:37:38,300 --> 00:37:41,300 and that they were going to come out

562

00:37:41,300 --> 00:37:44,300 and look for government officials,

563

00:37:44,300 --> 00:37:47,466 military personnel to kill.

564

00:37:47,466 --> 00:37:50,500 So my parents were very afraid.

565

00:37:53,833 --> 00:37:57,733 NGUYEN TAI: NORTH VIETNAMESE SPY[9] The Party's public security agents were tasked with killing traitors. We carried out many operations. We tried to assassinate a vice minister and the Prime Minister.

566

00:38:12,666 --> 00:38:16,333 (gunfight)

567

00:38:28,700 --> 00:38:30,466 NARRATOR: On the second day of the fighting,

568

00:38:30,466 --> 00:38:34,233 a Viet Cong agent named Nguyen Van Lem

569

00:38:34,233 --> 00:38:37,300 was brought before Nguyen Ngoc Loan,[10]

570

00:38:37,300 --> 00:38:40,633 the head of the South Vietnamese National Police.

571

00:38:40,633 --> 00:38:45,133 As an AP photographer and an NBC cameraman watched,

572

00:38:45,133 --> 00:38:49,100 Loan ordered another officer to shoot the captive.

573

00:38:49,100 --> 00:38:52,933 When he hesitated, Loan did the job himself.

TRAN NGOC TOAN: SOUTH VIETNAMESE MARINES And Loan say that, "I execute you." He draw his Colt .45 and point the gun and put him out. Put him dead.

574

00:39:07,666 --> 00:39:10,966 HOWARD TUCKNER: The Chief of South Vietnam's National Police Force,

575

00:39:10,966 --> 00:39:14,633 Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, was waiting for him.[11]

576

00:39:35,466 --> 00:39:37,666 JACK HORNER: WASHINGTON STAR Good morning, Mr. President.

577

00:39:37,666 --> 00:39:39,400 JOHNSON: Hi, Jack.

578

00:39:39,400 --> 00:39:41,300 HORNER: Uh, we need guidance this morning, sir.

579

00:39:41,300 --> 00:39:43,966 JOHNSON: Guidance? Uh, is that all you want?

580

00:39:43,966 --> 00:39:45,533 HORNER: Yes, sir. JOHNSON: No quotation?

581

00:39:45,533 --> 00:39:47,133 HORNER: That's right. JOHNSON: No attribution.

582

00:39:47,133 --> 00:39:48,266 JOHNSON: No connection.

583

00:39:48,266 --> 00:39:49,766 JOHNSON: Give it absolutely none.

584

00:39:49,766 --> 00:39:51,333 HORNER: Absolutely none.

585

00:39:51,333 --> 00:39:53,966 JOHNSON: Your press is lying like drunken sailors every day.

586

00:39:53,966 --> 00:39:59,433 Uh, first thing I wake up this morning was trying to figure out

587

00:39:59,433 --> 00:40:01,766 after seeing CBS, watching the networks,

588

00:40:01,766 --> 00:40:05,133 reading the morning papers, was how can we win--

589

00:40:05,133 --> 00:40:07,700 possibly win-- and survive as a nation

590

00:40:07,700 --> 00:40:09,633 and have to fight the press's lies.

591

00:40:09,633 --> 00:40:11,033 HORNER: Yes, sir.

592

00:40:11,033 --> 00:40:12,333 JOHNSON: I'm trying to protect my country,

593

00:40:12,333 --> 00:40:13,700 and they're all whipping me.

594

00:40:13,700 --> 00:40:16,500 Not a son of a bitch said a word about Ho Chi Minh.

595

00:40:16,500 --> 00:40:19,500 They talk about us bombing, yet these sons of bitches

596

00:40:19,500 --> 00:40:22,900 come in and bomb our embassy and 19 of them try a raid on it.

597

00:40:22,900 --> 00:40:27,300 All 19 get killed and yet they blame the embassy.

MINUTES 40-50

598

00:40:27,300 --> 00:40:28,466 JOHNSON: (chuckles)

599

00:40:28,466 --> 00:40:30,366 JOHNSON: I don't understand it.

600

00:40:30,366 --> 00:40:33,166 JOHNSON: We think we've killed 20,000; we think we lost 400.

601

00:40:33,166 --> 00:40:37,033 We think that of course it's bad to lose anybody,

602

00:40:37,033 --> 00:40:38,800 any one of the 400,

603

00:40:38,800 --> 00:40:41,333 but we think that the Good Lord has been so good to us

604

00:40:41,333 --> 00:40:44,966 that it is a major, dramatic victory.

605

00:40:44,966 --> 00:40:46,700 And I think what would have happened

606

00:40:46,700 --> 00:40:48,900 if I'd lost 20,000 and they'd lost 400?

607

00:40:48,900 --> 00:40:49,900 I ask you that.

608

00:40:49,900 --> 00:40:51,033 HORNER: Oh, it would've been terrible.

609

00:40:51,033 --> 00:40:52,266 (explosion)

610

00:40:52,266 --> 00:40:56,266 HOWARD TUCKNER: NCC It appears that a mortar or a rocket shell came in

611

00:40:56,266 --> 00:41:00,700 and, well, there's blood on my pants.

612

00:41:00,700 --> 00:41:02,933 And I guess I'm... I'm hit.

613

00:41:02,933 --> 00:41:05,733 Well, this is the streets of Saigon,

614

00:41:05,733 --> 00:41:09,033 and that's where the war is now.

615

00:41:09,033 --> 00:41:10,633 Howard Tuckner, NBC News.

616

00:41:13,800 --> 00:41:17,966 NARRATOR: The American press focused almost entirely

617

00:41:17,966 --> 00:41:20,466 on the fighting in Saigon.

618

00:41:20,466 --> 00:41:24,200 But the Tet Offensive was happening almost everywhere.

619

00:41:26,366 --> 00:41:29,700 Most assaults were being quickly beaten back by ARVN

620

00:41:29,700 --> 00:41:32,400 and American forces.

621

00:41:32,400 --> 00:41:36,866 Everywhere the enemy was suffering terrible losses.

622

00:41:48,100 --> 00:41:49,800 (gunfire)

623

00:41:57,000 --> 00:41:59,600 LE VAN CHO: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY: We seized the Quang Tri Citadel. We held it for a day and a night. 600 from my unit went in. More than 300 were killed. Around 100 were captured. All of our battalion commanders were killed. It was vicious.

624

00:42:24,666 --> 00:42:29,066 NARRATOR: The Americans called in massive air and artillery firepower

625

00:42:29,066 --> 00:42:33,433 to dislodge a Viet Cong regiment from the city of Ben Tre

626

00:42:33,433 --> 00:42:35,866 in the Mekong Delta.

627

00:42:35,866 --> 00:42:40,766 Afterwards, a reporter[12] quoted an American major as having said,

628

00:42:40,766 --> 00:42:47,466 "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it."

629

00:42:47,466 --> 00:42:53,933 WALTER CRONKITE: Right now, the Navy and the Army boats that also bring supplies

630

00:42:53,933 --> 00:42:57,733 up the Perfume River are having to undergo heavy small arms

631

00:42:57,733 --> 00:43:00,066 and mortar fire as they turn the bend in the river

632

00:43:00,066 --> 00:43:02,133 here around Hue itself.

633

00:43:02,133 --> 00:43:04,600 And the landing zone on this, the south side of the river

634

00:43:04,600 --> 00:43:07,900 has been under almost constant mortar and small arms fire.

635

00:43:07,900 --> 00:43:11,133 And today, at any rate, Hue is cut off.

636

00:43:15,500 --> 00:43:18,800 NARRATOR: The longest, bloodiest battle of the Tet Offensive

637

00:43:18,800 --> 00:43:20,833 was being fought in the streets

638

00:43:20,833 --> 00:43:23,700 of one of the country's loveliest cities,

639

00:43:23,700 --> 00:43:27,566 the former imperial capital Hue.

640

00:43:27,566 --> 00:43:29,733 (gunfire)

641

00:43:32,900 --> 00:43:35,800 (shouting, gunfire)

642

00:43:43,533 --> 00:43:46,833 The Perfume River divided Hue in two.

643

00:43:46,833 --> 00:43:50,033 The enemy-- North Vietnamese regulars

644

00:43:50,033 --> 00:43:51,933 and Viet Cong guerrillas--

645

00:43:51,933 --> 00:43:54,933 had taken over both sides of the city.

646

00:43:54,933 --> 00:43:58,866 Only the American advisers' compound on the south bank

647

00:43:58,866 --> 00:44:01,533 and the 1st ARVN division headquarters

648

00:44:01,533 --> 00:44:04,866 within the thick-walled Citadel on the north side

649

00:44:04,866 --> 00:44:06,600 held out against them.

650

00:44:16,900 --> 00:44:19,900 NGUYEN NGOC: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY There had been a secret communist organization in Hue for years. And when the revolutionary forces seized the city, they came out of hiding to set up a revolutionary government. They believed they would liberate the entire city.

651

00:44:43,933 --> 00:44:47,833 NARRATOR: Marine Corporal Bill Ehrhart was at the end of his tour

652

00:44:47,833 --> 00:44:50,166 and was preparing to go home.

653

00:44:50,166 --> 00:44:52,366 But when his company was ordered

654

00:44:52,366 --> 00:44:56,033 to relieve the besieged American compound in Hue,

655

00:44:56,033 --> 00:44:59,300 he chose to go with his comrades.

656

00:44:59,300 --> 00:45:03,433 EHRHART: MARINES I had spent 12 months in Vietnam looking for somebody to shoot at

657

00:45:03,433 --> 00:45:06,400 and there was nobody there.

658

00:45:06,400 --> 00:45:09,466 And then all of a sudden

659

00:45:09,466 --> 00:45:13,000 it seemed like here's every NVA in the world

660

00:45:13,000 --> 00:45:15,666 trying to kill me and my pals.

661

00:45:15,666 --> 00:45:19,600 It was an entirely different kind of fight.

662

00:45:29,600 --> 00:45:33,033 NARRATOR: Ehrhart and his unit endured a bloody ambush,

663

00:45:33,033 --> 00:45:36,766 finally fought their way through to the MACV compound,

664

00:45:36,766 --> 00:45:41,166 and then began days of brutal block-by-block battle

665

00:45:41,166 --> 00:45:43,766 to retake the surrounding neighborhoods.

666

00:45:44,966 --> 00:45:47,300 Every house became a battlefield.

667

00:45:57,766 --> 00:46:01,300 "It was exhilarating," Ehrhart remembered.

668

00:46:01,300 --> 00:46:04,533 "I was scared utterly witless,

669

00:46:04,533 --> 00:46:07,066 "but it was the greatest adrenaline high

670

00:46:07,066 --> 00:46:09,600 I'd ever experienced."

671

00:46:11,133 --> 00:46:14,266 EHRHART: It was ugly, ugly fighting.

672

00:46:14,266 --> 00:46:17,633 You literally have to clear houses a room at a time,

673

00:46:17,633 --> 00:46:20,500 a floor at a time, a house at a time.

674

00:46:20,500 --> 00:46:23,500 And then you go to the next one.

675

00:46:25,133 --> 00:46:28,233 NGUYEN THI HOA: VIET CONG When they charged, if we didn't shoot them, surely, they would shoot us. I had to shoot first. When I fund them, I shot them. An American,not that far away, about three meters, He opened fire. I raised my AK. I aimed. I had to shoot him. And I dropped him.

676

00:46:54,100 --> 00:46:56,333 (gunfire)

677

00:47:07,100 --> 00:47:10,400 (soldier yelling instructions over deafening gunfight)

678

00:47:10,400 --> 00:47:12,333 (gunfight grows louder)

679

00:47:16,600 --> 00:47:18,066 (explosion, then silence)

680

00:47:21,566 --> 00:47:25,100 EHRHART: MARINES February 5, I was wounded by a B40 rocket.

681

00:47:26,733 --> 00:47:28,633 I was utterly stone deaf.

682

00:47:31,900 --> 00:47:36,066 Under any other circumstances I would have been evacuated.

683

00:47:36,066 --> 00:47:40,633 But I could see, I could walk, and I could shoot.

684

00:47:40,633 --> 00:47:41,800 So I stayed.

685

00:47:46,866 --> 00:47:49,833 (distant, muffled gunfire)

686

00:47:58,366 --> 00:48:01,900 (heartbeat grows louder over muted din)

687

00:48:01,900 --> 00:48:04,166 (explosion, shouting)

688

00:48:10,866 --> 00:48:12,766 NARRATOR: The fighting continued.

689

00:48:15,366 --> 00:48:18,666 (gunshots whizzing, soldiers cacophonously screaming in pain)

690

00:48:18,666 --> 00:48:23,433 "We had to blow our way through every wall of every house,"

691

00:48:23,433 --> 00:48:25,100 one Marine remembered.

692

00:48:25,100 --> 00:48:30,433 "It's a shame we had to damage such a beautiful city."

693

00:48:32,566 --> 00:48:35,233 EHRHART: Of course, all these civilians have been herded

694

00:48:35,233 --> 00:48:37,166 into the university.

695

00:48:37,166 --> 00:48:40,400 They had all gone there to get the hell away

696

00:48:40,400 --> 00:48:42,366 from having grenades thrown in their living rooms.

697

00:48:42,366 --> 00:48:45,000 And one of the guys comes in and says,

698

00:48:45,000 --> 00:48:51,533 "I found this-this girl who will ... us all for C rations."

699

00:48:51,533 --> 00:48:53,166 And I'm thinking,

700

00:48:53,166 --> 00:48:55,333 "Wait, we're in the middle of this big battle

701

00:48:55,333 --> 00:48:58,466 and I'm gonna go and..."

702

00:49:00,166 --> 00:49:06,466 But I'm 19 years old and my buddies are gonna, and I just...

703

00:49:06,466 --> 00:49:11,100 I demonstrated to myself how little courage I actually had.

704

00:49:11,100 --> 00:49:16,000 I've lived with it ever since, but I-I-I did it

705

00:49:16,000 --> 00:49:17,566 because I wasn't gonna say,

706

00:49:17,566 --> 00:49:21,166 "You guys, we shouldn't do something like this."

707

00:49:21,166 --> 00:49:25,566 Even more than the killings,

708

00:49:25,566 --> 00:49:28,800 the thing I think I'm most ashamed of

709

00:49:28,800 --> 00:49:33,366 when I think back on the time I spent there.

710

00:49:33,366 --> 00:49:41,000 I think it's because my mother's a woman, my wife's a woman,

711

00:49:41,000 --> 00:49:43,966 my daughter's a woman.

712

00:49:43,966 --> 00:49:45,566 (sighs)

713

00:49:50,800 --> 00:49:54,533 Somebody gets shot, not a good thing.

714

00:49:54,533 --> 00:49:57,266 You see somebody running away,

715

00:49:57,266 --> 00:50:00,833 I don't know, it could've been a VC.

716

00:50:00,833 --> 00:50:02,466 But that woman?

717

00:50:04,066 --> 00:50:06,600 Nah.

718

00:50:06,600 --> 00:50:09,400 I had every opportunity to say no.

719

00:50:09,400 --> 00:50:12,166 (gunfire)

720

00:50:12,166 --> 00:50:16,500 NARRATOR: The next day, in the midst of still another firefight,

721

00:50:16,500 --> 00:50:20,000 a lieutenant in a jeep pulled up in front of the building

722

00:50:20,000 --> 00:50:23,566 from which Ehrhart and five fellow Marines were firing

723

00:50:23,566 --> 00:50:25,166 at the enemy.

724

00:50:25,166 --> 00:50:28,233 "Come on, Ehrhart!" he shouted.

725

00:50:28,233 --> 00:50:30,200 "Chopper's on the LZ right now.

726

00:50:30,200 --> 00:50:32,766 You want to go home or not?"

727

00:50:34,933 --> 00:50:38,000 From the helicopter that lifted him up and away

728

00:50:38,000 --> 00:50:40,000 from the ruined, smoking city,

729

00:50:40,000 --> 00:50:42,466 he could see a farmer and his water buffalo

730

00:50:42,466 --> 00:50:44,933 working a flooded field

731

00:50:44,933 --> 00:50:48,866 and women in conical hats carrying twin baskets

732

00:50:48,866 --> 00:50:53,766 hurrying along between the paddies as if there were no war.

733

00:50:57,533 --> 00:51:01,633 Back in Hue, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops

734

00:51:01,633 --> 00:51:05,733 now found themselves trapped inside the city.

735

00:51:06,733 --> 00:51:09,333 NGUYEN NGOC: NORTH VIETNAMESE AMY They had to escape by fighting their way out. It would be a bloody and very difficult retreat.

736

00:51:22,833 --> 00:51:23,833 (gunfire)

737

00:51:27,333 --> 00:51:28,866 NARRATOR: It would take two weeks

738

00:51:28,866 --> 00:51:31,666 for the Marines to fight their way across the river

739

00:51:31,666 --> 00:51:34,400 to support the ARVN,

740

00:51:34,400 --> 00:51:35,900 who had stubbornly kept the enemy

741

00:51:35,900 --> 00:51:40,266 from overwhelming their division headquarters in the Citadel.

742

00:52:00,133 --> 00:52:03,300 DAVID BURRINGTON: What's the hardest part of it?

743

00:52:03,300 --> 00:52:05,833 MARINE: Not knowing where they are, that's the worst of it.

744

00:52:05,833 --> 00:52:07,833 Riding around and running in the sewers, in the gutters,

745

00:52:07,833 --> 00:52:09,000 anywhere.

746

00:52:09,000 --> 00:52:10,666 Could be anywhere.

747

00:52:10,666 --> 00:52:12,500 Just hoping to stay alive and day to day.

748

00:52:12,500 --> 00:52:14,466 Everybody just wants to go back home and go to school.

749

00:52:14,466 --> 00:52:15,800 That's about it.

750

00:52:15,800 --> 00:52:16,833 BURRINGTON: Have you lost any friends?

751

00:52:16,833 --> 00:52:18,066 MARINE: Quite a few.

752

00:52:18,066 --> 00:52:20,366 We lost one the other day, good buddy of mine.

753

00:52:20,366 --> 00:52:21,666 The whole thing stinks, really.

754

00:52:25,633 --> 00:52:29,966 (gunfire, shouting)

755

00:52:36,000 --> 00:52:37,633 HO HUU LAN: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY The battle was really fierce. Both sides fought hard and took heavy casualties.

756

00:52:47,300 --> 00:52:48,300 He's still alive.

HO HU LAN: We held on for 25 or 26 days. When we couldn't hold out any longer, we retreated.

757

00:52:57,800 --> 00:53:02,600 NGUYEN THI HOA: VIET CONG We grieved for our comrades who died but we couldn't retrieve their bodies. We were determined to avenge them and retrieve their corpses. But in the ed we couldn't do it.

758

00:53:21,266 --> 00:53:24,666 NARRATOR: After 26 days of bitter, bloody fighting,

759

00:53:24,666 --> 00:53:30,000 the flag of South Vietnam flew again above the Citadel.

760

00:53:30,000 --> 00:53:33,933 The surviving North Vietnamese and Viet Cong

761

00:53:33,933 --> 00:53:36,400 were finally permitted by their commanders

762

00:53:36,400 --> 00:53:38,333 to pull out of the city.

763

00:53:38,333 --> 00:53:43,066 Some 6,000 civilians had died in the rubble.

764

00:53:43,066 --> 00:53:50,766 Of the city's 135,000 citizens, 110,000 had lost their homes.

765

00:53:54,166 --> 00:53:57,233 All that was left of Hue, one reporter wrote,

766

00:53:57,233 --> 00:54:00,366 was "ruins divided by a river."

767

00:54:02,700 --> 00:54:04,400 JOHNSON (on TV): The biggest fact is

768

00:54:04,400 --> 00:54:08,400 that the stated purposes of the General Uprising--

769

00:54:08,400 --> 00:54:12,333 a military victory or a psychological victory--

770

00:54:12,333 --> 00:54:13,766 have failed.

771

00:54:15,300 --> 00:54:16,966 DON WEBSTER: The attack on the radio station

772

00:54:16,966 --> 00:54:18,966 started at 2:30 in the morning.

773

00:54:18,966 --> 00:54:22,100 NARRATOR: Night after night for weeks,

774

00:54:22,100 --> 00:54:26,066 American television screens had been filled with images

775

00:54:26,066 --> 00:54:28,966 of blood and violence and devastation

776

00:54:28,966 --> 00:54:31,733 the public had rarely seen before.

777

00:54:31,733 --> 00:54:34,733 GEORGE SYVERTSON: The enemy was nowhere and everywhere.

778

00:54:34,733 --> 00:54:38,533 NARRATOR: But it was one photograph that for many people

779

00:54:38,533 --> 00:54:41,433 would come to define the Tet Offensive.

780

00:54:45,866 --> 00:54:49,766 SAM HYNES: I remember he was wearing a checked shirt.

781

00:54:49,766 --> 00:54:54,400 And the photographer had come up very close

782

00:54:54,400 --> 00:54:55,933 and had pressed his shutter

783

00:54:55,933 --> 00:55:00,566 just as the officer pulled his trigger.

784

00:55:00,566 --> 00:55:03,433 So camera and gun went off together

785

00:55:03,433 --> 00:55:07,300 and you could see the man's head bulging at the side

786

00:55:07,300 --> 00:55:11,133 where the bullet was about to come out.

787

00:55:11,133 --> 00:55:14,800 We were there, face-to-face with this man who was dying,

788

00:55:14,800 --> 00:55:16,166 right now, dead.

789

00:55:16,166 --> 00:55:19,866 JAMES WILLBANKS: It's a devastating thing to see.

790

00:55:19,866 --> 00:55:22,666 And I think many Americans began to ask themselves,

791

00:55:22,666 --> 00:55:25,766 "Are we supporting the wrong guys here?"

792

00:55:25,766 --> 00:55:30,666 And it sort of brings home, I think to, to the dinner table,

793

00:55:30,666 --> 00:55:33,000 or the breakfast table if you see it in the papers,

794

00:55:33,000 --> 00:55:35,166 the brutality of this war

795

00:55:35,166 --> 00:55:38,333 and the fact that it looks like it's never going to end.

796

00:55:38,333 --> 00:55:44,533 PHAN QUANG TUE: But what we know is the price that we pay for that picture.

797

00:55:44,533 --> 00:55:46,600 It was the turning point.

798

00:55:46,600 --> 00:55:50,500 Because that put the gov... Americans to position and say,

799

00:55:50,500 --> 00:55:53,033 "Hey, look, we want to spend money

800

00:55:53,033 --> 00:55:54,600 "and the lives of our young people

801

00:55:54,600 --> 00:55:56,500 to protect such a system?"

802

00:56:05,666 --> 00:56:09,200 NARRATOR: For a month, Hal Kushner's captors had made him walk

803

00:56:09,200 --> 00:56:12,400 deeper and deeper into the Central Highlands,

804

00:56:12,400 --> 00:56:14,100 always moving at night

805

00:56:14,100 --> 00:56:16,633 so that they would not be spotted from the air.

806

00:56:18,733 --> 00:56:23,200 KUSHNER: They took me to this place that I assume was a hospital.

807

00:56:23,200 --> 00:56:24,633 It was just a series of caves

808

00:56:24,633 --> 00:56:27,733 but there were a lot of wounded lying around.

809

00:56:27,733 --> 00:56:35,400 And this female nurse came out and inspected my wound.

810

00:56:35,400 --> 00:56:39,800 And then she gave me a bamboo stick to bite on.

811

00:56:39,800 --> 00:56:43,200 She laid me down and she gave me this bamboo stick to bite on.

812

00:56:43,200 --> 00:56:45,600 And then she took this rifle-cleaning rod

813

00:56:45,600 --> 00:56:48,133 and she heated it up in a fire until it was red hot.

814

00:56:50,166 --> 00:56:52,200 And she took it and put it through my wound

815

00:56:52,200 --> 00:56:54,166 through and through.

816

00:56:54,166 --> 00:56:55,900 And it really hurt.

817

00:56:55,900 --> 00:56:58,900 It really, really, really hurt.

818

00:56:58,900 --> 00:57:01,733 And then she put Mercurochrome on the wound.

819

00:57:01,733 --> 00:57:06,033 And she gave me an aspirin tablet.

820

00:57:06,033 --> 00:57:10,933 And I... I thought, what else can they do to me?

821

00:57:10,933 --> 00:57:15,500 NARRATOR: Kushner would eventually arrive at a remote jungle camp,

822

00:57:15,500 --> 00:57:19,666 joining a handful of other American prisoners.

823

00:57:21,833 --> 00:57:24,500 KUSHNER: And this Vietnamese officer came to me and he spoke English.

824

00:57:24,500 --> 00:57:27,766 And that was the first real English speaker that I had seen.

825

00:57:27,766 --> 00:57:30,266 And he had a little reel-to-reel tape recorder,

826

00:57:30,266 --> 00:57:32,900 battery-powered tape recorder.

827

00:57:32,900 --> 00:57:35,800 And he asked me to make a message to my family

828

00:57:35,800 --> 00:57:38,566 to let them know that I was safe.

829

00:57:38,566 --> 00:57:40,866 And I could do that if I would make a statement

830

00:57:40,866 --> 00:57:43,100 against the war.

831

00:57:43,100 --> 00:57:46,633 And I told... I told him with great bravado

832

00:57:46,633 --> 00:57:48,566 that I would rather die than make a statement

833

00:57:48,566 --> 00:57:50,166 against my country.

834

00:57:50,166 --> 00:57:52,100 And he said to me,

835

00:57:52,100 --> 00:57:57,066 "You will find dying is very easy.

836

00:57:57,066 --> 00:58:00,533 "Living will be the difficult thing.

837

00:58:00,533 --> 00:58:03,000 Living is the difficult thing."

838

00:58:06,433 --> 00:58:11,733 NARRATOR: In early March, two weeks after Hue had finally been recaptured,

839

00:58:11,733 --> 00:58:15,833 Second Lieutenant Phil Gioia of the 82nd Airborne Division

840

00:58:15,833 --> 00:58:19,433 led his platoon along the Perfume River,

841

00:58:19,433 --> 00:58:21,666 looking for weapons that might have been buried

842

00:58:21,666 --> 00:58:23,833 by the retreating enemy.

843

00:58:23,833 --> 00:58:27,900 Gioia's sergeant, Reuben Torres,

844

00:58:27,900 --> 00:58:30,866 saw something sticking up from the sandy soil.

845

00:58:30,866 --> 00:58:34,633 It was an elbow.

846

00:58:34,633 --> 00:58:38,833 PHIL GIOIA ARMY So to us it seemed as though this was going to be a grave

847

00:58:38,833 --> 00:58:41,500 where the enemy had buried some of his own people

848

00:58:41,500 --> 00:58:43,366 on the withdrawal from Hue.

849

00:58:43,366 --> 00:58:46,433 Sergeant Torres said, "You know, sir,

850

00:58:46,433 --> 00:58:49,533 I think we better start to dig here."

851

00:58:49,533 --> 00:58:53,533 We found the first body and it was a woman.

852

00:58:53,533 --> 00:58:57,600 She was wearing a white blouse and black trousers.

853

00:58:57,600 --> 00:58:59,700 She had her hands tied behind her back

854

00:58:59,700 --> 00:59:02,833 and she'd been shot in the back of the head.

855

00:59:02,833 --> 00:59:06,433 Next to her was a child, who'd also been shot.

856

00:59:06,433 --> 00:59:11,666 The next person coming up was another woman.

857

00:59:11,666 --> 00:59:15,033 At that point it was clear that this-this wasn't

858

00:59:15,033 --> 00:59:17,000 enemy North Vietnamese or Viet Cong.

859

00:59:18,766 --> 00:59:21,833 NGUYEN NGOC: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY When our soldiers withdrew from Hue, the Revolution's secret forces had already exposed themselves. If they released the people they'd arrested, the those people could identify the revolutionaries.[13]

860

00:59:39,100 --> 00:59:40,600 (gunfire)

861

00:59:42,333 --> 00:59:44,433 NARRATOR: Before they abandoned the city,

862

00:59:44,433 --> 00:59:47,433 the communists had systematically executed

863

00:59:47,433 --> 00:59:52,000 at least 2,800 people they called "hooligans"

864

00:59:52,000 --> 00:59:54,766 and "reactionaries."

865

00:59:54,766 --> 00:59:56,466 Hanoi would always deny

866

00:59:56,466 --> 00:59:59,900 that any innocent civilians had been killed.

867

00:59:59,900 --> 01:00:01,800 (woman sobbing)

868

01:00:02,800 --> 01:00:04,266 NGUYEN NGOC: I don't know if the order came from a local commander or from a higher level. They killed people who worked for the South Vietnamese government and for the American military. But they also killed people who had been wrongly arrested. It was a massacre. It was a stain. It was an atrocity of war.

869

01:00:30,033 --> 01:00:32,466 (woman wailing in grief)

MINUTES 60-70

870

01:00:32,466 --> 01:00:36,900 HO HUU LAN: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY In Hue, the suppression and the purge of the Saigon administration was brutal. We rarely speak of it. I'm willing to talk about it but many others are not. I'm telling you the truth as I understand it. So please be careful making your film because I could get in trouble.[14]

871

01:01:05,766 --> 01:01:09,866 NARRATOR: President Johnson insisted that the Tet Offensive had been

872

01:01:09,866 --> 01:01:13,233 "a devastating defeat for the communists."[15]

873

01:01:13,233 --> 01:01:16,100 Militarily, he was right.

874

01:01:16,100 --> 01:01:20,233 The basic assumptions on which the North Vietnamese mounted

875

01:01:20,233 --> 01:01:23,800 their offensive had all proved to be wrong.

876

01:01:23,800 --> 01:01:27,766 Hanoi's leaders had assumed the ARVN would crumble,

877

01:01:27,766 --> 01:01:32,700 that South Vietnamese soldiers would come over to their side.

878

01:01:32,700 --> 01:01:36,500 Instead, not a single unit defected.

879

01:01:38,166 --> 01:01:42,233 The civilian populace Hanoi expected to rise up

880

01:01:42,233 --> 01:01:44,766 may have been unhappy with their government,

881

01:01:44,766 --> 01:01:48,766 but they had little sympathy for communism,

882

01:01:48,766 --> 01:01:53,033 and when the fighting began, they had hidden in their homes

883

01:01:53,033 --> 01:01:57,066 to escape the fury in the streets.

884

01:01:58,066 --> 01:02:01,266 PHAM DUY TAT: SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY I have no idea why the Communists believed that when their forces advanced, people would rise up. I think they made a serious mistake.

885

01:02:11,200 --> 01:02:15,800 NARRATOR: North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap,

886

01:02:15,800 --> 01:02:18,566 who had opposed the offensive[16] from the beginning,

887

01:02:18,566 --> 01:02:22,566 later remembered that Tet had been a "costly lesson,

888

01:02:22,566 --> 01:02:26,833 paid for in blood and bone." HUY DUC: NORTH VIETNAM Several high-ranking officers of the North Vietnamese Army surrendered. That had never happened before. No unit was left intact. Some companies had only two or three men left.

889

01:02:47,400 --> 01:02:51,200 NARRATOR: Of the 84,000 enemy troops who are estimated

890

01:02:51,200 --> 01:02:54,633 to have taken part in the Tet Offensive, more than half--

891

01:02:54,633 --> 01:03:00,366 as many as 58,000 men and women, most of them Viet Cong--

892

01:03:00,366 --> 01:03:04,766 are thought to have been killed or wounded or captured.

893

01:03:06,800 --> 01:03:10,133 JOHN LAURENCE: JOURNALIST The American military command celebrated the Tet Offensive

894

01:03:10,133 --> 01:03:11,666 as a victory.

895

01:03:11,666 --> 01:03:14,866 You know, "They finally came at us, and we blew them away,"

896

01:03:14,866 --> 01:03:17,366 which was basically true.

897

01:03:17,366 --> 01:03:20,866 But the administration had been telling the American public

898

01:03:20,866 --> 01:03:25,633 for most of the end of '67 and for the first month of 1968

899

01:03:25,633 --> 01:03:27,566 that the war was being won;

900

01:03:27,566 --> 01:03:32,666 that the NLF and the North Vietnamese were ground down

901

01:03:32,666 --> 01:03:35,633 to such an extent that we could see the end of the war,

902

01:03:35,633 --> 01:03:37,066 a victory.

903

01:03:37,066 --> 01:03:40,666 LAURENCE ON CAMERA: The Tet Offensive has forced our generals to re-evaluate...

904

01:03:40,666 --> 01:03:44,633 LAURENCE: So when Tet hit, it contradicted everything

905

01:03:44,633 --> 01:03:47,633 that the administration and the Saigon country team

906

01:03:47,633 --> 01:03:50,433 had been telling the American public through its journalists

907

01:03:50,433 --> 01:03:52,633 for the previous four or five months.[17]

908

01:03:52,633 --> 01:03:55,466 John Laurence, CBS News, Saigon.

909

01:03:55,466 --> 01:03:57,400 ("White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane playing)

910

01:03:57,400 --> 01:04:02,600 BRADY: It broke the will of the United States to fight that war.

911

01:04:02,600 --> 01:04:08,233 It was such a shock that it stripped away the last vestiges

912

01:04:08,233 --> 01:04:12,066 of the fiction and fanciful interpretations

913

01:04:12,066 --> 01:04:16,066 that had led us down this primrose path into disaster.

914

01:04:16,066 --> 01:04:21,033 After that nobody could be convinced.

915

01:04:21,033 --> 01:04:25,066 GELB: PENTAGON And then the most ferocious possible argument erupted

916

01:04:25,066 --> 01:04:26,566 inside the U.S. government

917

01:04:26,566 --> 01:04:31,600 because the hawks on the war were saying,

918

01:04:31,600 --> 01:04:37,033 "Tet was North Vietnam's last gasp.

919

01:04:37,033 --> 01:04:40,266 "It was their last shot at winning the war,

920

01:04:40,266 --> 01:04:42,100 "and they failed.

921

01:04:42,100 --> 01:04:46,433 We beat them, and that's the end of them."

922

01:04:46,433 --> 01:04:51,300 And we said, "After all these years of war,

923

01:04:51,300 --> 01:04:53,900 "if that's what they are able to do,

924

01:04:53,900 --> 01:04:58,200 "we ought to learn some lesson about their commitment

925

01:04:58,200 --> 01:05:01,000 to this war as well and the cost to us."[18]

926

01:05:01,000 --> 01:05:04,833 NARRATOR: On March 10, the New York Times reported

927

01:05:04,833 --> 01:05:09,633 that the Army was requesting 206,000 additional troops

928

01:05:09,633 --> 01:05:11,466 for Vietnam.

929

01:05:11,466 --> 01:05:14,266 But if the United States had been winning the war,

930

01:05:14,266 --> 01:05:18,533 many Americans asked, if Tet had in fact been a disaster

931

01:05:18,533 --> 01:05:22,733 for the enemy, why were still more men needed?[19]

932

01:05:22,733 --> 01:05:26,400 More and more members of the President's own party

933

01:05:26,400 --> 01:05:30,000 now felt free to express their doubts.

934

01:05:30,000 --> 01:05:34,066 "Our enemy has finally shattered the mask of official illusion,"

935

01:05:34,066 --> 01:05:36,566 Senator Robert Kennedy said.

936

01:05:36,566 --> 01:05:39,766 "Unable to defeat him or break his will,

937

01:05:39,766 --> 01:05:43,733 we must actively seek a peaceful settlement."[20]

938

01:05:43,733 --> 01:05:45,533 WALTER CRONKITE: ...can cope with its problems.

939

01:05:45,533 --> 01:05:50,166 NARRATOR: Walter Cronkite, the respected anchor of the CBS Evening News,

940

01:05:50,166 --> 01:05:53,033 had come home from covering the Tet Offensive

941

01:05:53,033 --> 01:05:57,166 convinced victory was no longer possible.

942

01:05:57,166 --> 01:05:59,833 WALTER CRONKITE: We have been too often disappointed by the optimism

943

01:05:59,833 --> 01:06:03,133 of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington,

944

01:06:03,133 --> 01:06:06,566 to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find

945

01:06:06,566 --> 01:06:08,166 in the darkest clouds.

946

01:06:08,166 --> 01:06:12,466 To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe,

947

01:06:12,466 --> 01:06:14,000 in the face of the evidence,

948

01:06:14,000 --> 01:06:16,900 the optimists who have been wrong in the past.

949

01:06:16,900 --> 01:06:19,600 To suggest we are on the edge of defeat

950

01:06:19,600 --> 01:06:22,733 is to yield to unreasonable pessimism.

951

01:06:22,733 --> 01:06:25,333 To say that we are mired in stalemate

952

01:06:25,333 --> 01:06:29,266 seems the only realistic if unsatisfactory conclusion.

953

01:06:29,266 --> 01:06:32,733 But it is increasingly clear to this reporter

954

01:06:32,733 --> 01:06:37,266 that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate,

955

01:06:37,266 --> 01:06:41,600 not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up

956

01:06:41,600 --> 01:06:43,633 to their pledge to defend democracy

957

01:06:43,633 --> 01:06:46,433 and did the best they could.

958

01:06:46,433 --> 01:06:48,166 This is Walter Cronkite.

959

01:06:48,166 --> 01:06:49,666 Goodnight.[21]

960

01:06:49,666 --> 01:06:52,433 EUGENE McCARTHY: In 1966, in '67,

961

01:06:52,433 --> 01:06:54,500 and again in '68,

962

01:06:54,500 --> 01:06:57,566 most recently we hear the same hollow claims of progress

963

01:06:57,566 --> 01:07:00,933 and of advance toward victory.

964

01:07:00,933 --> 01:07:04,300 The fact is, however, as we know from events of recent weeks,

965

01:07:04,300 --> 01:07:07,866 events which one is almost saddened to report,

966

01:07:07,866 --> 01:07:10,333 that the enemy has become bolder than ever.

967

01:07:10,333 --> 01:07:13,933 NARRATOR: On the evening of March 12,

968

01:07:13,933 --> 01:07:16,633 President Johnson watched the returns come in

969

01:07:16,633 --> 01:07:20,266 from the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary,

970

01:07:20,266 --> 01:07:24,166 where he was facing an unexpected challenge.

971

01:07:24,166 --> 01:07:26,400 The most recent poll had suggested

972

01:07:26,400 --> 01:07:29,766 he would beat Eugene McCarthy two to one.

973

01:07:29,766 --> 01:07:34,566 But Johnson won just 49.6% of the vote

974

01:07:34,566 --> 01:07:38,333 against 41.9% for his opponent,

975

01:07:38,333 --> 01:07:42,566 even though most of those who voted against the president

976

01:07:42,566 --> 01:07:47,233 actually wanted him to prosecute the war more vigorously.

977

01:07:47,233 --> 01:07:50,466 Johnson knew he was in trouble.

978

01:07:50,466 --> 01:07:52,566 ROBERT KENNEDY: ...for the presidency of the United States...

979

01:07:52,566 --> 01:07:54,633 NARRATOR: And there was more to come.

980

01:07:54,633 --> 01:07:58,366 ROBERT F KENNEDY: I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man...

981

01:07:58,366 --> 01:08:01,966 NARRATOR: Just four days after the New Hampshire primary,

982

01:08:01,966 --> 01:08:07,566 Robert F. Kennedy declared his candidacy for the presidency,

983

01:08:07,566 --> 01:08:11,666 and polls suggested he was more popular than Lyndon Johnson.

984

01:08:11,666 --> 01:08:13,633 ...about what must be done.

985

01:08:13,633 --> 01:08:17,333 I run because it is now unmistakably clear

986

01:08:17,333 --> 01:08:22,733 that we can change these disastrous, divisive policies

987

01:08:22,733 --> 01:08:26,700 only by changing the men who are now making them.

988

01:08:30,200 --> 01:08:32,166 (din of large crowd)

989

01:08:35,133 --> 01:08:37,666 LYNDON JOHNSON: I think what we've got to do, too,

990

01:08:37,666 --> 01:08:42,100 is get out of the posture of just being the war candidate

991

01:08:42,100 --> 01:08:45,233 that McCarthy has put us in, and Bobby's putting us in,

992

01:08:45,233 --> 01:08:46,433 the kids are putting us in,

993

01:08:46,433 --> 01:08:48,166 and the papers are putting us in.

994

01:08:48,166 --> 01:08:50,700 We've got to come up with something.

995

01:08:50,700 --> 01:08:54,000 CLARK CLIFFORD: What it is: we're out to win,

996

01:08:54,000 --> 01:08:56,600 but we're not out to win the war.

997

01:08:56,600 --> 01:08:57,833 We're out to win the peace.[22]

998

01:08:57,833 --> 01:08:59,233 JOHNSON: That's right.

999

01:08:59,233 --> 01:09:00,566 CLIFFORD: And that's what we give them,

1000

01:09:00,566 --> 01:09:02,133 and what our slogan could very well be--

1001

01:09:02,133 --> 01:09:04,533 win the peace with honor.[23]

1002

01:09:04,533 --> 01:09:08,833 JOHNSON: But we've got to have something new and fresh that goes in there

1003

01:09:08,833 --> 01:09:11,033 along with the statement that we're going to win.

1004

01:09:11,033 --> 01:09:12,766 CLIFFORD: Right.

1005

01:09:12,766 --> 01:09:14,766 But we have to be very careful

1006

01:09:14,766 --> 01:09:16,600 what it is we say we're going to win.

1007

01:09:16,600 --> 01:09:18,466 JOHNSON: That's right.

1008

01:09:18,466 --> 01:09:21,166 CLIFFORD: They think, well hell, that means we're just going

1009

01:09:21,166 --> 01:09:23,866 to keep pouring men in until we win militarily.

1010

01:09:23,866 --> 01:09:26,100 And that isn't what we're after, really.

1011

01:09:26,100 --> 01:09:29,166 JOHNSON: Uh, we're not going to get these doves,

1012

01:09:29,166 --> 01:09:31,399 but we can neutralize the country;

1013

01:09:31,399 --> 01:09:32,533 that way it won't follow them,

1014

01:09:32,533 --> 01:09:33,733 if we can come up with something. [24]

1015

01:09:38,433 --> 01:09:43,800 NARRATOR: On March 26, the Wise Men, a group of veteran cold warriors

1016

01:09:43,800 --> 01:09:46,733 who had earlier urged the president to hold steady

1017

01:09:46,733 --> 01:09:50,899 in Vietnam, now advised him to change course.

1018

01:09:50,899 --> 01:09:54,866 Dean Acheson, Harry Truman's secretary of state,

1019

01:09:54,866 --> 01:09:56,700 spoke for the majority.

1020

01:09:56,700 --> 01:10:00,233 "We can no longer do the job we set out to do

1021

01:10:00,233 --> 01:10:02,700 in the time we have left," he said,

1022

01:10:02,700 --> 01:10:06,933 "and we must begin to take steps to disengage."

1023

01:10:06,933 --> 01:10:13,400 The president agreed to send just 13,500 more troops,

1024

01:10:13,400 --> 01:10:17,900 not the 206,000 the generals had requested,

1025

01:10:17,900 --> 01:10:21,566 and decided to recall William Westmoreland to Washington

1026

01:10:21,566 --> 01:10:23,866 as Chief of Staff of the Army,

1027

01:10:23,866 --> 01:10:29,100 replacing him with his deputy, General Creighton W. Abrams.

1028

01:10:30,933 --> 01:10:35,733 NEIL SHEEHAN: His [Johnson's] face was a... was a mask of exhaustion and defeat.

1029

01:10:35,733 --> 01:10:38,566 It was very sad to see the man.

1030

01:10:38,566 --> 01:10:41,800 He-he was broken by it.

1031

01:10:43,433 --> 01:10:45,666 NARRATOR: On March 30, Gallup reported

1032

01:10:45,666 --> 01:10:49,100 that 63% of the public disapproved

1033

01:10:49,100 --> 01:10:51,900 of Johnson's handling of the war,

1034

01:10:51,900 --> 01:10:55,933 the lowest point of his presidency.

MINUTES 70-80

1035

01:10:55,933 --> 01:11:00,966 The following evening, March 31, 1968,

1036

01:11:00,966 --> 01:11:05,566 the President asked for time on all three networks.

1037

01:11:06,833 --> 01:11:09,966 JOHNSON: Good evening, my fellow Americans.

1038

01:11:09,966 --> 01:11:13,133 Tonight, I want to speak to you

1039

01:11:13,133 --> 01:11:16,066 of peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

1040

01:11:18,100 --> 01:11:21,100 NARRATOR: Johnson announced that he had decided to stop bombing

1041

01:11:21,100 --> 01:11:25,800 the densely populated areas around Hanoi and Haiphong

1042

01:11:25,800 --> 01:11:28,733 in the hope that North Vietnam would finally be willing

1043

01:11:28,733 --> 01:11:31,366 to come to the negotiating table. [25]

1044

01:11:31,366 --> 01:11:34,133 Only the southern half of the country,

1045

01:11:34,133 --> 01:11:36,766 the staging areas north of the DMZ,

1046

01:11:36,766 --> 01:11:40,733 would continue to be targeted.

1047

01:11:40,733 --> 01:11:45,266 Then he stunned the country and the world.

1048

01:11:45,266 --> 01:11:50,700 JOHNSON: I do not believe that I should devote an hour

1049

01:11:50,700 --> 01:11:56,600 or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes

1050

01:11:56,600 --> 01:12:05,200 or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office,

1051

01:12:05,200 --> 01:12:09,133 the Presidency of your country.

1052

01:12:09,133 --> 01:12:18,033 Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept,

1053

01:12:18,033 --> 01:12:21,966 the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

1054

01:12:24,733 --> 01:12:28,033 ("Live Right Now" by Eddie Harris playing)

1055

01:12:32,400 --> 01:12:36,066 ROGER HARRIS: I land in California and take a plane from California to Boston.

1056

01:12:36,066 --> 01:12:39,766 And I'm feeling good because I've survived

1057

01:12:39,766 --> 01:12:42,500 and, you know, I fought for my country.

1058

01:12:42,500 --> 01:12:45,466 I got off the plane at Logan and I stepped out there

1059

01:12:45,466 --> 01:12:47,433 and I'm just happy to be home.

1060

01:12:47,433 --> 01:12:54,266 And I had my uniform on and walked out to the curb,

1061

01:12:54,266 --> 01:12:59,133 and the cabs just kept going by me, kept going by me.

1062

01:12:59,133 --> 01:13:02,166 And there was a state trooper that was standing there.

1063

01:13:02,166 --> 01:13:04,900 And I didn't realize what was happening.

1064

01:13:04,900 --> 01:13:08,366 And then he stepped in the street and he stopped a cab

1065

01:13:08,366 --> 01:13:10,433 and he says, "You have to take this man.

1066

01:13:10,433 --> 01:13:12,766 You have to take this soldier."

1067

01:13:12,766 --> 01:13:14,900 And the driver looked over at me and he said,

1068

01:13:14,900 --> 01:13:17,533 "I don't want to go to Roxbury."

1069

01:13:17,533 --> 01:13:20,000 They don't see me as a soldier.

1070

01:13:20,000 --> 01:13:22,900 You know, they see me as a nigger coming home here

1071

01:13:22,900 --> 01:13:24,700 and I live in Roxbury.

1072

01:13:24,700 --> 01:13:25,900 You know?

1073

01:13:25,900 --> 01:13:27,800 I'm thinking, "I'm a Marine.

1074

01:13:27,800 --> 01:13:29,266 I'm a Marine," you know.

1075

01:13:29,266 --> 01:13:32,700 "I just fought for my country 13 months in the combat zone.

1076

01:13:32,700 --> 01:13:34,766 And I can't get a cab to get home."

1077

01:13:37,033 --> 01:13:39,933 ROBERT KENNEDY: I have some very sad news for all of you,

1078

01:13:39,933 --> 01:13:45,133 and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens,

1079

01:13:45,133 --> 01:13:49,200 and people who love peace all over the world;

1080

01:13:49,200 --> 01:13:52,933 and that is that Martin Luther King was shot

1081

01:13:52,933 --> 01:13:54,533 and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

1082

01:13:54,533 --> 01:13:56,266 (crowd screaming in disbelief)

1083

01:13:58,533 --> 01:14:00,733 In this difficult day,

1084

01:14:00,733 --> 01:14:04,500 in this difficult time for the United States,

1085

01:14:04,500 --> 01:14:09,166 it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are

1086

01:14:09,166 --> 01:14:11,533 and what direction we want to move in.

1087

01:14:13,066 --> 01:14:16,700 NARRATOR: Over the next week, African Americans--

1088

01:14:16,700 --> 01:14:19,800 grieving, frustrated, angry--

1089

01:14:19,800 --> 01:14:24,800 poured into the streets of more than 100 towns and cities,

1090

01:14:24,800 --> 01:14:29,533 including New York and Oakland, Newark and Nashville,

1091

01:14:29,533 --> 01:14:34,700 Chicago and Cincinnati and Baltimore,

1092

01:14:34,700 --> 01:14:37,266 and in Washington, D.C.,

1093

01:14:37,266 --> 01:14:40,500 where fires came within two blocks of the White House.

1094

01:14:42,900 --> 01:14:45,966 STOKELY CARMICHAEL: When they killed Dr. King they just opened up the eyes

1095

01:14:45,966 --> 01:14:48,900 of a lot of black people who were afraid to pick up guns.

1096

01:14:48,900 --> 01:14:51,766 Now they will pick up those guns.

1097

01:14:51,766 --> 01:14:53,800 JESSE JACKSON: We're living in a sick world.

1098

01:14:53,800 --> 01:14:56,833 This racist society in which we live

1099

01:14:56,833 --> 01:14:58,566 is that that really pulled the trigger.

1100

01:14:58,566 --> 01:15:04,500 ROBERT KENNEDY: Violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation,

1101

01:15:04,500 --> 01:15:09,066 and only a cleansing of our whole society

1102

01:15:09,066 --> 01:15:12,900 can remove this sickness from our souls.

1103

01:15:12,900 --> 01:15:16,400 NARRATOR: Tens of thousands of National Guardsmen,

1104

01:15:16,400 --> 01:15:19,333 regular Army troops and the Marines,

1105

01:15:19,333 --> 01:15:23,300 including Roger Harris's stateside unit,

1106

01:15:23,300 --> 01:15:26,133 were ordered to patrol American streets.

1107

01:15:28,066 --> 01:15:30,366 HARRIS: And I was ready to go.

1108

01:15:30,366 --> 01:15:33,633 Until I saw what they were giving out.

1109

01:15:33,633 --> 01:15:35,700 I thought they were going to give us billy clubs

1110

01:15:35,700 --> 01:15:38,266 and I thought we were going to stand in front of buildings,

1111

01:15:38,266 --> 01:15:41,566 you know, and protect, you know, businesses.

1112

01:15:41,566 --> 01:15:45,266 And they were passing out flak jackets, helmets,

1113

01:15:45,266 --> 01:15:46,633 M-16s with live ammunition.

1114

01:15:46,633 --> 01:15:50,533 You know, same things we had in Vietnam.

1115

01:15:50,533 --> 01:15:55,366 And when I saw that I said... I said, "I'm not going.

1116

01:15:55,366 --> 01:15:56,633 I'm not going."

1117

01:15:56,633 --> 01:16:00,533 I said, "I got family in Washington, D.C."

1118

01:16:00,533 --> 01:16:04,200 And my company commander said, "Get on the truck, Marine."

1119

01:16:07,033 --> 01:16:08,566 I said, "I'm not going."

1120

01:16:11,200 --> 01:16:14,500 I didn't make sergeant because I refused to go.

1121

01:16:16,133 --> 01:16:22,666 NARRATOR: Forty-six Americans died, 2,600 were injured,

1122

01:16:22,666 --> 01:16:24,533 20,000 were arrested.

1123

01:16:29,100 --> 01:16:30,633 Later that same month,

1124

01:16:30,633 --> 01:16:33,666 antiwar students seized several buildings

1125

01:16:33,666 --> 01:16:37,300 at Columbia University in Manhattan.

1126

01:16:37,300 --> 01:16:41,266 The occupation lasted a week,

1127

01:16:41,266 --> 01:16:44,333 the first time in American history that students forced

1128

01:16:44,333 --> 01:16:48,633 a major university to shut down.

1129

01:16:48,633 --> 01:16:51,900 Policemen eventually drove the demonstrators

1130

01:16:51,900 --> 01:16:53,433 out of the buildings

1131

01:16:53,433 --> 01:16:57,266 and sent more than 100 students to the hospital.

1132

01:16:57,266 --> 01:17:01,700 The United States now appeared to be more divided

1133

01:17:01,700 --> 01:17:04,900 than at any time since the Civil War.

1134

01:17:06,433 --> 01:17:11,566 That spring, protestors also took to the streets of London,

1135

01:17:11,566 --> 01:17:13,833 Paris...

1136

01:17:13,833 --> 01:17:15,766 Berlin...

1137

01:17:15,766 --> 01:17:17,833 Prague...

1138

01:17:17,833 --> 01:17:19,566 Rio...

1139

01:17:19,566 --> 01:17:21,900 Jakarta.

1140

01:17:21,900 --> 01:17:24,900 The world seemed to be coming apart.

1141

01:17:30,833 --> 01:17:32,066 (shouting, sirens wailing)

1142

01:17:41,633 --> 01:17:43,533 (static)

1143

01:17:49,700 --> 01:17:52,400 President Johnson's partial bombing halt

1144

01:17:52,400 --> 01:17:54,533 had had the desired effect.

1145

01:17:54,533 --> 01:18:00,966 Hanoi agreed, for the first time, to talk with Washington.

1146

01:18:00,966 --> 01:18:06,533 Negotiators began meeting at the Hotel Majestic in Paris.

1147

01:18:06,533 --> 01:18:10,666 But the communists had now adopted a new double policy.

1148

01:18:10,666 --> 01:18:12,200 They called it

1149

01:18:12,200 --> 01:18:16,366 "talking while fighting, fighting while talking."

1150

01:18:16,366 --> 01:18:19,766 MAN: Incoming!

1151

01:18:19,766 --> 01:18:23,500 NARRATOR: On May 5, they launched another offensive

1152

01:18:23,500 --> 01:18:26,133 that Le Duan hoped would somehow achieve

1153

01:18:26,133 --> 01:18:28,500 what the Tet Offensive had not.

1154

01:18:28,500 --> 01:18:34,666 The enemy hit 119 targets in what came to be called Mini-Tet.

1155

01:18:38,300 --> 01:18:40,866 There was new fighting in the streets of Saigon.

1156

01:18:45,033 --> 01:18:47,966 Half the city was now leveled.

1157

01:18:56,866 --> 01:19:01,533 But the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army failed again.

1158

01:19:01,533 --> 01:19:03,633 They were still no closer

1159

01:19:03,633 --> 01:19:06,533 to overthrowing the South Vietnamese government,

1160

01:19:06,533 --> 01:19:11,166 and they had suffered some 36,000 more casualties.

1161

01:19:15,533 --> 01:19:20,766 For the United States, May of 1968 proved the bloodiest month

1162

01:19:20,766 --> 01:19:23,800 of the Vietnam War.

1163

01:19:23,800 --> 01:19:29,133 2,416 Americans lost their lives

1164

01:19:29,133 --> 01:19:31,633 in places whose names Americans back home

1165

01:19:31,633 --> 01:19:35,333 would have a hard time remembering:

1166

01:19:35,333 --> 01:19:39,866 Dai Do, Phu Lam, Kham Duc,

1167

01:19:39,866 --> 01:19:44,133 Cholon, and the Plain of Reeds.

1168

01:19:46,533 --> 01:19:50,400 ROBERT KENNEDY: A total military victory is not within sight

1169

01:19:50,400 --> 01:19:52,400 and is not around the corner;

1170

01:19:52,400 --> 01:19:56,066 that, in fact, it is probably beyond our grasp.

1171

01:19:56,066 --> 01:19:58,266 NARRATOR: For a time that spring,

1172

01:19:58,266 --> 01:20:00,500 it looked as if Robert Kennedy might win

1173

01:20:00,500 --> 01:20:04,333 the Democratic nomination for President.

1174

01:20:04,333 --> 01:20:09,300 He pledged to bring the war to an end and seemed to embody

1175

01:20:09,300 --> 01:20:12,033 the hope of bridging the growing gulf

1176

01:20:12,033 --> 01:20:15,066 between black and white Americans.

MINUTES 80-END

1177

01:20:15,066 --> 01:20:17,566 (panicked shouting)

1178

01:20:17,566 --> 01:20:21,033 But in June, after defeating Eugene McCarthy

1179

01:20:21,033 --> 01:20:25,466 in the California primary, he too was assassinated.

1180

01:20:25,466 --> 01:20:28,966 MAN: Oh, God damn! Why?

1181

01:20:33,833 --> 01:20:36,500 (Jacqueline Schwab performs "We Shall Overcome")

1182

01:20:43,300 --> 01:20:46,566 CAROL CROCKER: People were stunned, and people were scared.

1183

01:20:46,566 --> 01:20:52,733 The people we'd looked up to were being taken away from us.

1184

01:20:56,966 --> 01:21:02,066 It definitely put those of us who were heading off on our own

1185

01:21:02,066 --> 01:21:05,900 on a path that felt uncertain.

1186

01:21:12,666 --> 01:21:14,766 KUSHNER: When Martin Luther King was assassinated

1187

01:21:14,766 --> 01:21:17,433 and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated,

1188

01:21:17,433 --> 01:21:21,566 they made a big huge deal about that.

1189

01:21:21,566 --> 01:21:27,333 They said that was part of the struggle of the American people

1190

01:21:27,333 --> 01:21:29,233 against their government.

1191

01:21:29,233 --> 01:21:31,200 And that there were riots in the streets.

1192

01:21:32,566 --> 01:21:34,800 And the camp commander actually told us,

1193

01:21:34,800 --> 01:21:37,466 "You can kill ten of us to one of you,

1194

01:21:37,466 --> 01:21:41,566 "but your people will turn against this.

1195

01:21:41,566 --> 01:21:45,800 "And we will be here for ten years or 20 years or 30 years,

1196

01:21:45,800 --> 01:21:47,166 "as long as it takes.

1197

01:21:47,166 --> 01:21:49,333 "And unless you kill every one of us,

1198

01:21:49,333 --> 01:21:52,766 we're gonna win this war."

1199

01:21:56,800 --> 01:21:58,233 And on July the Fourth,

1200

01:21:58,233 --> 01:22:02,066 we recognized it was July the Fourth.

1201

01:22:02,066 --> 01:22:05,233 And they would not let us sing patriotic songs.

1202

01:22:05,233 --> 01:22:10,133 But sometimes we would softly sing at night.

1203

01:22:10,133 --> 01:22:13,766 (voice breaking): And...

1204

01:22:13,766 --> 01:22:15,200 (clears throat)

1205

01:22:15,200 --> 01:22:20,100 we understood that despite different backgrounds

1206

01:22:20,100 --> 01:22:22,166 and different socioeconomic backgrounds,

1207

01:22:22,166 --> 01:22:24,400 different races, different religions,

1208

01:22:24,400 --> 01:22:26,300 that we were Americans.

1209

01:22:29,600 --> 01:22:31,833 ("A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum playing)

1210

01:22:31,833 --> 01:22:34,900 NARRATOR: The American people would be choosing new leadership

1211

01:22:34,900 --> 01:22:38,166 that fall, and everyone seemed to agree,

1212

01:22:38,166 --> 01:22:40,166 a British correspondent wrote,

1213

01:22:40,166 --> 01:22:43,733 "that whoever captures the Presidency this November

1214

01:22:43,733 --> 01:22:46,333 "will be obliged to end the conflict

1215

01:22:46,333 --> 01:22:49,233 "within a matter of months.

1216

01:22:49,233 --> 01:22:53,033 "How this is to be done or what concessions are to be made

1217

01:22:53,033 --> 01:22:56,533 is very much a matter of detail."

1218

01:22:56,533 --> 01:23:00,400 Before those details were finally worked out,

1219

01:23:00,400 --> 01:23:04,100 almost seven more years would pass.

1220

01:23:04,100 --> 01:23:07,733 And 27,184 more Americans,

1221

01:23:07,733 --> 01:23:12,166 and hundreds of thousands more Laotians, Cambodians,

1222

01:23:12,166 --> 01:23:17,266 and Vietnamese-- North and South-- would have to die.

1223

01:23:18,500 --> 01:23:24,100 ♪ We skipped the light fandango ♪

1224

01:23:24,100 --> 01:23:28,400 ♪ Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor ♪

1225

01:23:30,800 --> 01:23:37,266 ♪ I was feeling kinda seasick

1226

01:23:37,266 --> 01:23:40,833 ♪ But the crowd called out for more ♪

1227

01:23:43,933 --> 01:23:47,200 ♪ The room was humming harder

1228

01:23:50,166 --> 01:23:52,600 ♪ As the ceiling flew away

1229

01:23:56,733 --> 01:24:01,000 ♪ When we called out for another drink ♪

1230

01:24:03,033 --> 01:24:06,366 ♪ The waiter brought a tray

1231

01:24:06,366 --> 01:24:15,666 ♪ And so it was that later

1232

01:24:15,666 --> 01:24:22,500 ♪ As the miller told his tale

1233

01:24:22,500 --> 01:24:27,000 ♪ That her face, at first just ghostly ♪

1234

01:24:27,000 --> 01:24:33,766 ♪ Turned a whiter shade of pale ♪

1235

01:24:33,766 --> 01:24:38,400 (music continues)

1236

01:25:01,600 --> 01:25:07,966 ♪ And although my eyes were open ♪

1237

01:25:07,966 --> 01:25:11,600 ♪ They might just as well've been closed ♪

1238

01:25:11,600 --> 01:25:20,766 ♪ And so it was that later

1239

01:25:20,766 --> 01:25:27,133 ♪ As the miller told his tale

1240

01:25:27,133 --> 01:25:32,266 ♪ That her face, at first just ghostly ♪

1241

01:25:32,266 --> 01:25:37,433 ♪ Turned a whiter shade of pale. ♪

1242

01:25:39,166 --> 01:25:41,933 (music continues)

1243

01:26:00,933 --> 01:26:03,233 Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH, access.wgbh.org

1244

01:26:08,300 --> 01:26:09,500 ANNOUNCER: LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FILM

1245

01:26:09,500 --> 01:26:12,366 AND FIND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AT PBS.ORG/VIETNAMWAR

1246

01:26:12,366 --> 01:26:16,300 AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION USING HASHTAG VIETNAMWARPBS.

1247

01:26:16,300 --> 01:26:17,766 "THE VIETNAM WAR" IS AVAILABLE

1248

01:26:17,766 --> 01:26:19,433 ON BLU-RAY AND DVD.

1249

01:26:19,433 --> 01:26:21,100 THE COMPANION BOOK, SOUNDTRACK,

1250

01:26:21,100 --> 01:26:22,500 AND ORIGINAL SCORE FROM THE FILM

1251

01:26:22,500 --> 01:26:23,633 ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.

1252

01:26:23,633 --> 01:26:25,733 TO ORDER, VISIT SHOPPBS.ORG

1253

01:26:25,733 --> 01:26:28,200 OR CALL 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

1254

01:26:28,200 --> 01:26:29,633 EPISODES OF THIS SERIES ALSO

1255

01:26:29,633 --> 01:26:30,733 AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

1256

01:26:30,733 --> 01:26:31,833 FROM iTUNES.

1257

01:26:35,100 --> 01:26:37,233 ANNOUNCER: BANK OF AMERICA PROUDLY SUPPORTS

1258

01:26:37,233 --> 01:26:42,133 KEN BURNS' AND LYNN NOVICK'S FILM "THE VIETNAM WAR"

1259

01:26:42,133 --> 01:26:44,533 BECAUSE FOSTERING DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

1260

01:26:44,533 --> 01:26:47,133 AND CIVIL DISCOURSE AROUND IMPORTANT ISSUES

1261

01:26:47,133 --> 01:26:49,433 FURTHERS PROGRESS, EQUALITY,

1262

01:26:49,433 --> 01:26:51,433 AND A MORE CONNECTED SOCIETY.

1263

01:26:55,900 --> 01:26:59,933 GO TO BANKOFAMERICA.COM/ BETTERCONNECTED TO LEARN MORE.

1264

01:27:03,466 --> 01:27:04,900 ANNOUNCER: MAJOR SUPPORT FOR "THE VIETNAM WAR"

1265

01:27:04,900 --> 01:27:08,400 WAS PROVIDED BY MEMBERS OF THE BETTER ANGELS SOCIETY,

1266

01:27:08,400 --> 01:27:12,366 INCLUDING JONATHAN AND JEANNIE LAVINE,

1267

01:27:12,366 --> 01:27:15,266 DIANE AND HAL BRIERLEY,

1268

01:27:15,266 --> 01:27:17,666 AMY AND DAVID ABRAMS,

1269

01:27:17,666 --> 01:27:20,166 JOHN AND CATHERINE DEBS,

1270

01:27:20,166 --> 01:27:23,066 THE FULLERTON FAMILY CHARITABLE FUND,

1271

01:27:23,066 --> 01:27:25,133 THE MONTRONE FAMILY,

1272

01:27:25,133 --> 01:27:27,466 LYNDA AND STEWART RESNICK,

1273

01:27:27,466 --> 01:27:30,233 THE PERRY AND DONNA GOLKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION,

1274

01:27:30,233 --> 01:27:31,233 THE LYNCH FOUNDATION,

1275

01:27:31,233 --> 01:27:34,100 THE ROGER AND ROSEMARY ENRICO FOUNDATION,

1276

01:27:34,100 --> 01:27:37,533 AND BY THESE ADDITIONAL FUNDERS.

1277

01:27:37,533 --> 01:27:39,433 MAJOR FUNDING WAS ALSO PROVIDED

1278

01:27:39,433 --> 01:27:41,166 BY DAVID H. KOCH...

1279

01:27:43,466 --> 01:27:45,666 THE BLAVATNIK FAMILY FOUNDATION...

1280

01:27:48,000 --> 01:27:50,433 THE PARK FOUNDATION,

1281

01:27:50,433 --> 01:27:52,600 THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES,

1282

01:27:52,600 --> 01:27:54,800 THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS,

1283

01:27:54,800 --> 01:27:57,466 THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION,

1284

01:27:57,466 --> 01:28:00,233 THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION,

1285

01:28:00,233 --> 01:28:02,900 THE ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATIONS,

1286

01:28:02,900 --> 01:28:05,100 THE FORD FOUNDATION JUSTFILMS,

1287

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1288

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References

  1. Liz Trotta?
  2. Under an Ao dai?
  3. Khe Sanh was one Marine Regiment keeping two or more NVA Divisions out of the battle for Hue.
  4. With freedom of movement unlike North Vietnam
  5. Who are the people in the video. They appear to be North Vietnamese minority groups, noting the heavy clothing.
  6. with a calendar mix up which had half the attacks starting a day earlier
  7. emphasis added
  8. should be South or Communist
  9. Perhaps it means he spied for the North Vietnamese.
  10. See Nguyen Ngoc Loan: The Story Behind the Pictures
  11. Compare this with treatment of VC assassination squads and Hue.
  12. Peter Arnett
  13. Imagine if there had been or will be a revolution in our country and the protestors were the victors who had the guns. Do you think that they would act differently from the Vietnamese Communists?
  14. All Burns quotes him on is that it was brutal.
  15. And most Vietnam Veterans agree.
  16. and when so far, perhaps, to poison Le Duan's chief military asset, Nguyễn Chí Thanh
  17. So, the response to the Tet offensive was an angry backlash by Journalists?
  18. The Burns video above confirms that the people failed to rise in their support; therefore further action on their part, even to them, should be considered a war of aggression rather than a reunification with a populace that did not like or support them. The U.S. should have been able to see, by the lopsided results, that the people they had come to support had finally decided where their futures and loyalties lay. That should have reinforced the moral obligation our country assumed when it acquiesced to the ouster and then the murder of the duly constituted government of the Republic of (South) Vietnam.
  19. I guess the "Greatest Generation" should have given up after the Battle of the Bulge?
  20. See Negotiations
  21. We continue to give script readers more credibility than they deserve.
  22. Let Madison Avenue run the war.
  23. Nixon seems to have followed his lead.
  24. Anything except a military strategy.
  25. Communist Post-Tet propaganda said that Johnson's bombing halt proved that the Communists had been victorious during Tet and they had forced Johnson to come to the Negotiating table. See MACV Command History

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