Things Fall Apart, Episode 6
The Vietnam War
Directed by Ken Burn and Lyn Novick
Last night Maori TV showed episode six of the PBS Vietnam War series, covering the first half of 1968. Most of this episode deals with the January 31 Tet Offensive from the North Vietnamese standpoint. Although it was a failure militarily for North Vietnam, it was a public relations disaster for the US. It was the first time the North Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong had entered Saigon (they nearly capture the US Embassy.
After watching the nightly coverage of bloody conflict on US TV, the American people realized that Johnson had been lying when he claimed the US was winning the war. Esteemed TV journalist Walter Cronkite covered the Tet Offensive on the ground and came out against the war when he returned to the US.
When Johnson nearly lost the New Hampshire primary to anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy (on March 30), he announced his decision not to seek a second term.
On April 4, Martin Luther King was assassinated (after coming out against the war a year earlier). Later that month, Bobby Kennedy entered the Democratic primary on a pledge to end the war. He seemed poised to win the Democratic nomination when he was assassinated in June.