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hij Teacher Resource Bank GCE History Scheme of Work HIS2Q: The USA and Vietnam, 1961–1975

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The context of the Cold War and the reasons why the Kennedy administration intervened to support South Vietnam

The situation in Vietnam by 1961

Topic

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

containment The Domino Theory US ‘vital interests’ diplomacy the arms race bi-polar world To use source material to establish conclusions and interpretations.

• • • • • •

For Cold War background students may examine Crockatt and/or Ambrose.

1

Students may visit relevant websites to examine the causal factors explaining US intervention in 1961.

Understanding key Cold War terminology:

There are a number of source collections, e.g. Ruane’s collection, The Vietnam Wars.

Students use the internet to gather ideas on the meanings of relevant terminology.

Nationalism Imperialism Democracy Communism Insurgency

The ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of relevant states: South Vietnam; North Vietnam.

• • • • •

There are a number of basic textbooks that offer an outline of both North and South Vietnam’s positions between 1954 and 1961, e.g. The USA and Vietnam, 1945–1975, Vivienne Sanders (see resources list).

Relevant Support Material

Understanding key political and ideological terms and applying them to Vietnam between 1954 and 1961:

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They may use source material based on Kennedy’s meetings with his advisers to prioritise Kennedy’s motives.

They may analyse the Cold War context and deliver presentations focused on explaining why Vietnam was so significant in terms of US foreign policy.

Students may research causal factors using internet websites.

One group examines South Vietnam and one the North. Each constructs a timeline showing developments between 1954 and 1961 and arrives at an overall evaluation of the condition of each state.

Each group would explain a key term in the context of the Cold War and link it to Vietnam in 1961. Each reports to the others and then draws up an assessment of Vietnam in terms of the Cold War.

Course may start with a cooperative group work activity (acts as a form of icebreaker for the students and encourages active participation in learning and collaborative behaviour).

The reasons for US involvement in Vietnam, 1961–1963 (approx. 12 hours)

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0


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The significance of the assassinations of President Diem and President Kennedy

Students undertake a simulation exercise in which they assume the roles of Kennedy and his individual advisers. They define their aims and objectives and then justify the strategies they support.

The actions and policies of President Kennedy: the Strategic Hamlets programme military advisers strategic hamlets.

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Another group consider the opposite proposition. Each side then delivers a powerpoint presentation summarising their evidence and conclusions.

Understanding the role and significance of individual political leaders.

Students find evidence to assess the impact of Kennedy’s death. One group may consider the proposition that his death had minimal impact on the direction US policy was taking towards Vietnam.

Issues relating to continuity and change and the relationship of this concept to Vietnam by 1963.

An ability to assess the effectiveness of policies against objectives i.e. evidence analysis leading to judgements.

Evaluation of Kennedy’s motives for a shift in the nature of US support for South Vietnam.

• •

Understanding what is meant by:

Understanding causation.

To understand the nature of political decision making, e.g. through political advisers and the significance of personal political interests.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

Students write an analysis of Kennedy’s motives and the potential outcomes of his administration’s policies.

Another group act as a ‘jury’ to judge the motives and the effectiveness of the policies.

Teaching Suggestions

Topic

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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Students may access source material which illustrates responses to the deaths.

Student textbooks are useful on these assassinations. Christine Bragg has a useful section on this.

Biographies on Kennedy are plentiful.

Internet sites will enable students to access contemporary views, e.g. through the media.

Students should also have access to relevant source material.

Student textbooks are useful on Kennedy’s policies.

Relevant Support Material


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The Gulf of Tomkin Resolution and its impact

The personality and policies of President Johnson

Topic Understanding the impact of change. Students need to appreciate the significance of cause and consequence in history.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

Understanding the link between escalation and the Resolution.

A similar minority report could be produced criticising Congressional support through such a Resolution and its implications for US foreign policy and the possibility of escalation.

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Understanding causation.

Understanding the concept of power and linking it to Congressional support for the President through the Resolution.

Understanding the notion of ‘Johnson’s War’.

Analytical writing.

Understanding the power of an individual political leader.

Understanding the links between motives and policy outcomes.

Understanding the process of escalation.

Students could write a report on the Gulf of Tomkin incident in which they act as Presidential advisers. This report could consider the policy options facing Johnson.

Students may also consider the commitment Johnson had to militarism. Similarly his commitment to diplomacy needs to be examined. This could be delivered through analytical writing.

Students could produce an overview of his policies.

Class debate could be focused on this issue.

They could consider whether Johnson was a leader or a follower.

Students research Johnson as an individual. They could produce biographical summaries of Johnson.

Escalation of the US war effort, 1964–1968 (approx. 12 hours)

End of section examination-style question.

A similar approach could be applied to the death of Diem.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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Sanders has a useful section on this topic – as do most of the texts.

There is a range of source material that would enable students to access the Resolution itself and the popular response to it.

The student textbooks have some good references and detail in them.

Students could use biographies of Johnson or books that have significant detail on Johnson’s approach. Stanley Karnow’s work is useful in this respect.

Relevant Support Material


4

The mass bombing campaign

The aims and objectives of the US army in Vietnam

Topic

strategy tactics guerrilla warfare Americanisation morale

economic strategic political diplomatic Understanding the consequences of the strategy and its links with other military aims and objectives.

• • • •

Understanding the motives underpinning mass bombing:

Understanding events in a wider context that goes beyond the topic being studied.

Understanding the differences between aims and objectives.

Understanding the historiography, e.g. the quagmire theory.

• • • • •

Understanding key terms:

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

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Look at images of the impact of the bombing and consider the likely effectiveness of this strategy – both negative and positive assessments. An overall judgement should be made using a wide range of source material and books.

Students could produce a timeline showing the escalation of the bombing campaign.

Students may produce a report which assesses the military capability of the South Vietnamese army and the implications of this for US military thinking.

Similarly students may undertake ‘hot seating’ activities in which key individuals explain and justify their positions in terms of the army’s military aims and objectives.

Students could write a journal that might have been kept by General Westmoreland in which he identifies key events and explains them in terms of their influence on military thinking.

Students should seek to explain why the Resolution was so important to Johnson and how it may be seen as a primary factor in escalation.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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Students could try to access contemporary material from the US press via the internet.

There is useful material on this in Jonathan Neale’s book. All the student texts have references to this bombing.

Students might find it interesting to see the film, Born on the Fourth of July.

The internet offers a wide range of useful recollections by US military personnel.

There is useful material on US military approaches and their development during the escalation period in most of the references. Fitzgerald is useful.

Relevant Support Material


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The failure of the US and its allies to win the hearts and minds of the people of South Vietnam

The Vietcong: leadership, tactics and effectiveness

Topic Students should also be able to understand the connections with other elements of the escalation period, e.g. Americanisation.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

indoctrination propaganda ‘hearts minds’

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of strategies and actions employed to win the support of those under occupation.

Understanding why people support or oppose an occupying force.

• • •

Understanding key ideas:

Analysis and evaluation in terms of the military and diplomatic impact of the effort of the Vietcong. The significance of individual leaders.

The links between military tactics and diplomatic outcomes.

Understanding the nature, aims and objectives of guerrilla warfare. Understanding the rationale underpinning its use in Vietnam.

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Students could produce an analysis of the methods used by the US, particularly the military. They could then assess the likely (and actual) outcomes of these methods in terms of the responses of the South Vietnamese people.

An assessment of US perceptions of Vietcong effectiveness could be done.

Students could write an analysis of South Vietnamese peasants’ attitudes explaining why they offered increasing support for the Vietcong.

Biographies could be developed for key Vietcong leaders.

Prepare a wall display which brings out the nature of the guerrilla warfare under the Vietcong.

Students could make comparisons between the Vietcong and other guerrilla organisations.

The crisis of the war, 1964–1968: Vietnam (approx. 12 hours)

End of section examination-style question.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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There is considerable visual; material showing the US military in action. This ranges from material concerned with search and destroy missions, bombing and its logistical impact to the use of agent orange.

Most of the resources suggested have detailed commentaries on the nature and effectiveness of Vietcong methods.

There is also a wealth of visual material and feature film material that is very accurate.

Relevant Support Material


6

The importance of logistical support from North Vietnam

Topic

Being able to assess the value of logistical support and its role in influencing US military and political strategy.

Understanding the consequences for the North as a result of the support it offered.

Understanding the role of neighbouring states in enabling logistical support to have any impact.

Understanding the key concept of logistical support and the forms it took.

Appreciating the link between political and military success.

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They may also evaluate the effectiveness of logistical aid both in terms of the materials of the war and the value of leadership.

This topic links with US strategy. Students may examine the scale of logistical aid and cross reference their findings with their work on US military policies during this period.

For balance students may also examine the effectiveness of North Vietnamese infiltration and propaganda.

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All the basic textbooks have references to the military leadership and the supply system through the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Students may gather source material and statistical material to illustrate the scale of logistical aid.

There is also a useful section in Sanders.

Challenging generalisations related to rural and urban attitudes towards US methods.

An assessment of post-Diem South Vietnamese leadership could be made and then added to the earlier assessment. These two could then lead to an overall judgment of the reasons why the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people were not won over. Understanding the role of the indigenous government in developing strategies to support the role of occupying allies.

Relevant Support Material

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0


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The importance of television and the media in influencing public opinion

Also the short and medium term consequences need to be assessed.

strategic political military economic diplomatic

The concept of change is relevant her. To what extent, if any, did the position of the media shift during this period?

Understanding balance and diversity in media coverage and the concept of positive and negative interpretation.

Understanding the range of factors that can influence public opinion.

Evaluation and analysis of significant data.

Understanding of: • media • public opinion

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Students may look at newspaper reporting from this period and assess its impact. They need to balance positive pro-war reporting with anti-war reportage.

Students may research the nature of public opinion and how it is determined. They need to evaluate the place of media in opinion formation.

The crisis of the war, 1964–1968: inside the USA (approx. 12 hours)

End of section examination-style question.

An evaluation of the negative outcomes needs to be undertaken. A group debate could follow this research.

• • • • •

The concept of consequence is central to this topic. Students need to be able to assess the consequences in terms of the following outcomes:

Students may analyse source material in order to determine the outcomes for Vietnam. They should consider the issue of whether or not Tet was a victory or a defeat.

The Tet Offensive and its impact in Vietnam

They need to report on the short and medium term consequences, particularly in terms of the role and effectiveness of the Vietcong.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

Teaching Suggestions

Topic

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

The internet could be well used to gather data and detailed assessments of the impact of the media.

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Christine Bragg has some useful material on the media.

Ruane has some useful source material illustrating the North’s interpretation of the Tet Offensive. There is also material from the US perspective which also informs analysis.

Relevant Support Material


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The impact of atrocities such as the My Lai Massacre

Growing student protests, especially from 1966

Topic

Understanding the link between such actions and US public opinion. An avoidance of stereotypical generalisations i.e. the incident did not necessarily turn all Americans against the USA’s role in Vietnam. Understanding why attitudes and opinions differ.

Understanding of the meaning of atrocities.

Divisions within the anti-war protest movement and its impact upon effectiveness.

Understanding the diversity of protest within one area of protest i.e. the range of positions adopted by anti-war protesters and the frequent lack of common ground.

Understanding the inter-relationship between different types of protest and protests with different objectives, e.g. anti-war protest and racial equality protest.

Understanding the link between popular protest and shifts in government policy.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

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They need to reach a decision on the impact of the massacre and avoid an unhistorical emotional reaction.

Students may trace the response of the US military to those involved and the response of political leaders.

Students could use the extensive visual material to form an understanding of what went on in this incident.

Debate: Was protest effective in influencing government policy?

Working in groups they could each examine a specific section within the protest movement and draw conclusions from the collective work of the group.

They could analyse the work of key protesters, e.g. Martin Luther King and the linkage between protests.

Students could create a timeline identifying significant protest points.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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There is a useful section in Cawthorne’s work and numerous references to this incident throughout the textbook resources.

There is extensive reference to this incident through the internet sites. Google is a strong source of reference here.

There is considerable source material and pictorial material available through the internet and written sources.

Most of the textbooks have significant detail on the early protest movements and the range of protest positions.

Relevant Support Material


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The aims and policies of Nixon and Kissinger, the Paris Peace negotiations and the failure to achieve a lasting peace settlement

Political divisions in the Presidential campaigns of 1968

The Tet Offensive and its impact in the USA

Topic

Some understanding of the nature of the electoral process in the USA and an awareness of the political spectrum in 1968.

The same skills and concepts referred to in this topic in terms of Vietnam also apply here.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

cease fire stalemate Vietnamisation negotiating strengths and weaknesses ‘peace with honor’ shuttle diplomacy The ability to trace the shifting policies and changing strategies to achieve the defined aims and objectives.

• •

• • • •

Understanding of some of the key ideas:

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Analysis of the balance between militarism and diplomacy is also a relevant task here.

They could explain the escalation of bombing and the extension of the war into Laos and Cambodia (this links to the next topic area).

Students could itemise the problems, the possible solutions and the anticipated outcomes that the Nixon administration had to consider.

The end of the War, 1969–1975 (approx. 12 hours)

Students may research the political protaganists and their supporters. They may present a statement from one side which defines the political position of an individual in terms of the USA’s involvement in Vietnam.

The same, or a very similar, methodology could be used in terms of the impact on the USA and its policy planning.

This topic could be profitably covered in conjunction with the work on the impact of the Offensive in Vietnam.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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Along with the recommended student textbooks there is some useful detail in Kissinger’s study on Ending the Vietnam War.

There are numerous biographies and references to the political campaign of 1968 in the resources provided.

See references to Vietnam.

Relevant Support Material


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US withdrawal and the position of Vietnam in 1975

The impact on US policy of anti-war protests and the Watergate affair

The reasons for, and effects of, the widening of the war into Laos and Cambodia

Topic

Understands the impact of protracted war on participants.

They could assess the impact of the war on Vietnam in terms of the economic and human costs.

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Understands the causal links between Nixon’s ‘peace with honor’ and the impossibility of continued US commitment to South Vietnam.

The skills and concepts applicable here are referred to in the overlapping section dealing with student protests.

Understands the idea of diplomatic manoeuvring and the links between militarism and diplomacy.

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

Students may assess the whole period and the construct a timeline showing the involvement from 1961 with key events and policies identified.

Students need to consider the impact of political crises especially the Watergate scandal. Students could analyse this affair and place it in terms of its profoundly negative outcomes for President Nixon. The question they could go on to consider is: Did US policy towards Vietnam significantly change because of the Watergate Affair?

This topic significantly overlaps with the student protests from 1966. A similar methodology may be employed.

The other challenges the rationale and focuses on the negative impact of such extensions.

Students may divide into two groups. One justifies the extension of the war and explains its relevance to the objective of peace with honor.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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Neale has a section covering the impact of the war.

Useful detail on websites, many of which focus on the reasons for US withdrawal and the nature of the withdrawal in 1975.

See the recommendations noted in the section dealing with student protest from 1966.

Textbooks form a useful starting point. Bragg has some focused content. There is good analytical detail in Kissinger’s work.

Relevant Support Material


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Topic

Outcomes: Skills and Concepts

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End of section examination-style question.

They could analyse the reasons why the USA was unable to achieve their aims as established in 1961.

Teaching Suggestions

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE History / AS Schemes of Work: HIS2Q / Version 1.0

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Relevant Support Material


The usa and vietnam sow