The Paul McIlvaine Collection - Vietnam War Short Snorters - Vietnam
The Short Snorter Project
20 BAT VIETNAM SHORT SNORTER
Serial # 127733
This is an incredibly well-preserved 20 Bat short snorter note from the Vietnam War. It is dated 1971 and carries the
inscription:    Cdner
                      Happy Tet
                      Miss Tot
                      1971
Tết Nguyên Đán (more commonly known by its shortened name Tết), is the most important and popular holiday festival in
Vietnam.  It is the Vietnamese New Year,  based on the Lunar calendar. The name means the Feast of the First Morning
and is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New year.  Many Vietmanese people prepare for Tết by cooking special
holiday foods and cleaning the house. Many customs are practiced during Tết, such as visiting a person's house on the
first day of the new year (xông nhà), worshipping ancestors, giving New Year's greetings, providing lucky money to old
people and children and opening a new shop. Tết is also an occasion for pilgrims and family reunions. During Tết,
Vietnamese visit their relatives and temples, forget about the past year’s troubles and hoping for a better upcoming year.
Tết is considered to be the first day of spring; thus, the festival is often called Xuân hội (spring festival).

Wikipedia says that Tet is also known for the Tet Offensive, which was a military campaign conducted in 1968 by the
Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army against the forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the U.S., and their allies during the
Vietnam War. The purpose of the offensive was to strike military and civilian command and control centers throughout
South Vietnam and to spark a general uprising among the population that would then topple the Saigon government,
thus ending the war in a single blow. The operations are referred to as the Tet Offensive because they began during the
early morning hours of the most important Vietnamese holiday.  Both North and South Vietnam announced on national
radio broadcasts that there would be a three-day cease-fire in honor of Tet.  North Vietnam told a boldface lie.  North
Vietnamese leaders believed they could not sustain the heavy losses inflicted by the Americans indefinitely and had to
win the war with an all-out military effort. In addition, Ho Chi Minh was nearing death, and they needed a victory before
that time came.  A wave of attacks began on the morning of 30 January 1968, but did not cause undue alarm or lead to
widespread allied defensive measures. The main communist operation began the next morning and was countrywide in
scope and well coordinated. More than 80,000 Vietcong troops struck more than 100 towns and cities, including 36 of 44
provincial capitals, five of the six autonomous cities, 72 of 245 district towns, and the national capital. This offensive was
the largest military operation yet conducted by either side up to that point in the war. The initial Vietcong attacks stunned
allied forces and took them by surprise, but most were quickly contained and beaten back, inflicting massive casualties
on the communists. The exceptions were the fighting that erupted in the old imperial capital  of Hue, where intense
fighting lasted for a month, and the continuing struggle around the U.S. combat base at Khe Sanh, where fighting
continued for two more months. The offensive was a military disaster for Vietcong forces, but had a profound effect on
the American administration and shocked the American public, which had been led to believe by its political and military
leaders that the communists were incapable of launching such a massive effort.  Major Communist targets during the
Tet Offensive are shown below: