On This Day, July 3, 1968 – Six Months in, Vietnam Casualties Top Whole Previous Year

Vietnam soldiers

1968 – The U.S. command in Saigon releases figures showing that more Americans were killed during the first six months of 1968 than in all of 1967. These casualty figures were a direct result of the heavy fighting that had occurred during, and immediately after, the communist Tet Offensive.

The offensive began on January 30, when communist forces attacked Saigon, Hue, five of six autonomous cities, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, and 64 of 245 district capitals. The timing and magnitude of the attacks caught the South Vietnamese and American forces completely off guard, but eventually the Allied forces turned the tide. Militarily, the Tet Offensive was a disaster for the communists. By the end of March 1968, they had not achieved any of their objectives and had lost 32,000 soldiers with 5,800 captured. U.S. forces suffered 3,895 dead; South Vietnamese losses were 4,954; non-U.S. allies lost 214. More than 14,300 South Vietnamese civilians died.

Though the offensive was a crushing military defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, early reports of a smashing communist victory went largely uncorrected in the U.S. news media. This was a great psychological victory for the communists. The heavy U.S. casualties incurred during the offensive, coupled with the disillusionment over the earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war, accelerated the growing disenchantment with President Lyndon Johnson’s conduct of the war. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam, announced on March 31, 1968, that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election.


1608 – The city of Quebec was founded by Samuel de Champlain.

1775 – U.S. Gen. George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, MA.

1790 – In Paris, the marquis of Condorcet proposed granting civil rights to women.

1844 – Ambassador Caleb Cushing successfully negotiated a commercial treaty with China that opened five Chinese ports to U.S.merchants and protected the rights of American citizens in China.

1863 – The U.S. Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, PA, ended after three days. It was a major victory for the North as Confederate troops retreated.

1871 – The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Company introduced the first narrow-gauge locomotive. It was called the “Montezuma.”

1878 – John Wise flew the first dirigible in Lancaster, PA.

1880 – “Science” began publication. Thomas Edison had provided the principle funding.

1890 – Idaho became the 43rd state to join the United States of America.

1898 – During the Spanish American War, a fleet of Spanish ships in Cuba’s Santiago Harbor attempted to run a blockade of U.S. naval forces. Nearly all of the Spanish ships were destroyed in the battle that followed.

1903 – The first cable across the Pacific Ocean was spliced between Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila.

1912 – Rube Marquard of the New York Giants set a baseball pitching record when earned his 19th consecutive win.

1924 – Clarence Birdseye founded the General Seafood Corp.

1930 – The U.S. Congress created the U.S. Veterans Administration.

1934 – U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) made its first payment to Lydia Losiger.

1940 – Bud Abbott and Lou Costello debuted on NBC radio.

1944 – The U.S. First Army opened a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of Normandy, France.

1945 – The first civilian passenger car built since February 1942 was driven off the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit, MI. Production had been diverted due to World War II.

1950 – U.S. carrier-based planes attacked airfields in the Pyongyang-Chinnampo area of North Korea in the first air-strike of the Korean War.

1954 – Food rationing ended in Great Britain almost nine years after the end of World War II.


1962 – Jackie Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


1974 – The Threshold Test Ban Treaty was signed, prohibiting underground nuclear weapons tests with yields greater than 150 kilotons.

1981 – The Associated Press ran its first story about two rare illnesses afflicting homosexual men. One of the diseases was later named AIDS.

1991 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush formally inaugurated the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.

Source: History.com;On-This-Day.com

 

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