Vietnam War

Causation and the Lessons of History: Vietnam War

Herring “Fighting in “Cold Blood’”

What two great questions regarding Vietnam does Herring note in his article and which does he think is most controversial and why?

How does he view the Johnson administration’s handling of the war?

What other factors besides the handling of the war by the gov’t does Herring believes explains America’s failure in Vietnam?


McNamara, “Cold War Blinders and the Tragedy of Vietnam

According to McNamara what factors or ideas shaped US response to and participation in Vietnam?

What were the missed opportunities for avoiding the war that Vietnamese leaders believed the US failed to take advantage of?

Why did the US support French goals in Vietnam?

Why did US undermine or ignore the Geneva Accords?

How did the Vietminh see the US by early 1950s?


Buzzanco, “ Anti-Democratic Containment,” No Mistake

According to Buzzanco, what two challenges did American leaders face and how did they respond to them?

Why does the author address believe it is necessary to discuss both domestic and foreign policy/Vietnam?

How does Buzzanco define liberalism and how does it apply to 1960s US and the Vietnam War?

What does he mean that US justification that it engaged in Vietnam to defend the RVN from outside aggressor is a fiction?

What’s the author’s point about describing the military leaderships views of Vietnam?

Why was the Tet offensive significant?

How did the war affect views and actions of reform forces at home?


After the Fact—Ch. 17

What is the significance of POV for history?

Why are these Vietnam war films important?

What ways can historians evaluate such historical films?

Why is accuracy not enough?  Does this make it right?

How are these different from books or documents?

How are directors different than historians when doing history?

What is a myth?

What myths were evident in Green Berets?

What is American Exceptionalism and what is it based on historically?

Why was My Lai so devastating to Americans and their view of the Vietnam War?

How was Rambo a reflection of the 1980s?

Why is Platoon a better representation?


Undersecretary of State George Ball Advocates Compromise

How does he characterize the war at this point in time?

What is the future of the war in his eyes?

Why must the decision he suggests must be made be made at that time (1965)?

What are the potential costs to US if it enters the war with troops?