Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968

Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968 Disasters American History Famous Historical Events Geography Government Social Studies

The author of this book - Eric Hammel - begins the story of Fire in the Streets with these words:

No city or town or civil population in either of the Vietnams was fated to experience as much violent bloodshed and destruction for so many days as were Hue and her 140,000 citizens.

Why was Hue a major target of North Vietnam's coordinated efforts early in 1968?

It was a city mostly at peace in a country at war.  It was a cultural treasure, a place where urban warfare seemed to be off-limits.

In January of 1968, Hue was still a city where everyone looked forward to the Tet Festival - a time of year when people celebrated the Buddhist Lunar New Year.

No matter how bad things were, in Vietnam, people celebrated Tet:

In all their bloody history, the Vietnamese never forgot Tet, never stinted in its celebration.  In all of Vietnam, nowhere was the annual week-long festival celebrated as intensely as it was in Hue. 

Think of Tet week as all your cherished religious holidays and favorite patriotic festivals rolled into one.  If you can do that, you can perhaps begin to understand the reverence and joy with which Tet is celebrated in Vietnam.  But you cannot begin to experience the thrill and sense of renewal of Tet in Hue.  (Fire in the Streets, page 7.)

Then came the festival of 1968.  Hue, a city filled with people ready to celebrate the festival, found itself the site of urban warfare on a magnitude that no one there could have ever imagined.

This book tells us what happened in Hue, during the Tet Festival and the Tet Offensive which North Vietnam planned to coincide with the holiday season.  Thanks to Pacifica Military History (the publisher) and Google Books, much of this work is available for online reading.  It includes helpful charts and maps to better-understand the action (and where it occurred).

Media Credits

Book-cover image online, courtesy Pacifica Military History and Google Books.


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"Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, Tet 1968" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 26, 2020.
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