Part Three: Aftermath, February-June
Within ten days or so the communists had been forced out of most of the urban areas attacked on 30-31 January, although Saigon and Hue proved to be bloody exceptions. Otherwise, the Viet Cong proved incapable of holding those areas initially occupied while the NVA, poised to rush into a vacuum that was never created, mostly stayed on the sidelines. The government of South Vietnam, though traumatized, had taken the enemy's best shot and survived. But an estimated 14,000 civilians had been killed, another half-million or more were homeless. In the countryside, with allied troops drawn in to defend the cities, pacification was set back virtually to square one. The magnitude and ferocity of the Tet attacks, mounted by an enemy they had repeatedly been told was being steadily ground down, shocked and dismayed the American public. The already shaky credibility of U.S. leaders, in both Saigon and Washington, sank to new lows.