Pretty soon, politicians who still supported the war were thought to be hawkish dicks, and history books would call it one of the darkest points in U.S. military history. The lesson was learned, and 40 years later America's enemies skip the whole Tet thing and just take the war right to the cameras.
Hernan Cortes Sinks the Boats... His Own
In 1519, Hernan Cortes led an exploratory expedition from Cuba into Mexico, which was largely unexplored at the time. But what Cortes did know was that the mainland supported a gold-rich empire responsible for the disappearance of many of their previous expeditions. This was because of the Aztecs who, as they would soon find out, were cannibalistic warriors who wore the skins of their defeated enemies as trophies. And there were a shitload of Aztecs--about half a million.
But Cortes intended to conquer them... with 500 men.
Hernan Cortes. Not pictured: his balls. But just barely.
The fact that this plan was probably suicide did not escape his men once they were in Mexico. Rumors swirled that Cortes had gone insane, and the men were already content with the gold they had gathered from local tribes. They were very much ready to go back home, and when Cortes refused, some of the men even tried to steal one of the boats and head to Cuba.
Cortes, in a mindfuck played on his own men that in retrospect probably did little to quell the rumors of insanity, sank his own boats, trapping himself and his men in an Aztec-infested wilderness.
"Yes, I sank your boats. You're welcome."
Once it became obvious that their only means of escape was sitting on the ocean floor, Cortes called all his men together for a meeting. Addressing his now-mutinous soldiers, Cortes admitted that he had sunk the boats on purpose, but he asked the angry mob to do what mobs do best: be rational.
They were all stranded now, and regardless of whose fault it was (his), the only way to survive was to conquer the Aztecs and become the lords of Mexico. Besides, with such a small force, the share of plunder for each soldier would be huge.
One boat remained in working condition, and he offered it up freely to any cowards who did not want to join him. Having been totally called out, his men ran down the remaining boat and sunk it themselves.
Cortes and his men plunged into Mexico and pretty much mindfucked the Aztecs into oblivion with a series of brazen acts too numerous for us to recount here. In the course of this, Cortes first somehow managed to convince thousands of Native Americans to join him against the Aztecs.
"Join me, and you too can sink your own boats with reckless abandon."
He was also peacefully invited to meet the Aztec emperor, and soon took the man hostage right there in his own palace. He also may or may not have convinced the Aztecs that he was the serpent god Quetzalcoatl, which we like to imagine involved Cortes and his men building a huge paper mache snake costume.