Essay Number 1:
Write a paper that addresses the rise of Vietnamese Nationalism that creates the Viet Minh. How does the rise of Ho Chi Minh collide with the rise of the Cold War, the last gasps of French Colonialism, and military conflict in the 1940s and 50s to to create the American presence in Vietnam? Why does the US continue down the path to war in the 1950s? How are the ideas of American presidents consistent or different from Truman to Kennedy? What does Vietnamese nationalism mean to them? Use ALL of these questions to trace the development of the French-Indochina war into the rise of American support of South Vietnam. Use a thesis (a statement of argument) early in the paper (language like, “This paper argues…”) to help organize your paper.
Essay Number 2: Write a paper that addresses the escalation of the conflict between the two Vietnams and the increasing American presence in the conflict. How did the US go from advisors to direct combatants? How did that shift result in a war that wasn’t won in the mid 1960s? Given LBJ’s hesitation to commit, followed by a graduated commitment strategy to finally large troop deployments, what happened to create these changes? And why didn’t the commitment work? How did the failure of the warfighting strategy finally explode in the perceptions and misperceptions of success and failure in and around the Tet Offensive? What was different for US military commanders, politicians, and citizens by Winter/Spring of 1968?
Cite the readings in each essay. Use a very simple parenthetical citation method: (Karnow, pp. 45-46) or (Johnson, p. 6) within the paper, no footnotes needed. Use a very brief works cited page at the end of the total submission. Try to avoid LONG quotes, but brief quotes are allowed.
papers should be between 3 and 5 pages. Three and a half to four pages seems perfect.
Andrew Rotter: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Stanley Karnow: Vietnam, A History (1997 edition) Textbook
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