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After twenty-six days of intense fighting, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces recapture the city of Hue, the site of an ancient religious citadel. The city had been seized by Communist forces during the Tet offensive. Following the defeat of the Communists, mass graves were discovered. They were filled with the bodies of Communist party "enemies."
During the Tet offensive, a 19-man Vietcong suicide squad occupied the U.S. Embassy and a South Vietnamese radio station in downtown Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. A U.S. assault force defeated the Vietcong in a matter of hours, but a major psychological blow had been inflicted by the insurgent Communist forces.
This military action was a major turning point in the way many Americans perceived the war. On the morning of January 30, Communist forces in North Vietnam and Vietcong squads in the South took advantage of a truce during Tet (the Vietnamese new year holiday) to launch a massive offensive. Major cities and provinces were captured, and heavy fighting ensued. Although turned back by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces in a matter of days, the Communists nonetheless claimed a major political and psychological victory. U.S. observers were stunned by the size and coordination of the Communist forces.