History 3400: The Vietnam War
Dr. David Krugler Spring 2007
Wed. 12-2; Th. 9-10, 1-3
This course examines
We have several goals in this course:
To learn the
domestic and geopolitical sources of
why anti-communism became the guiding principle of American foreign policy and
To trace the
long arc of
To learn what
the war was like for
both opposition to and support for the
The course combines lectures with discussions. Each student is obligated to participate in regular discussions of the reading assignments, which come from the following sources:
George C. Herring,
Tim O’Brien, If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
William Duiker, Sacred War: Nationalism and Revolution in a Divided
James S. Olson and Randy Roberts,
Marilyn B. Young et al., The Vietnam War: A History in Documents
Students may obtain copies of the books at the
Exams: You will take a midterm exam and a cumulative final exam (each worth 15% of your total grade). Study guides will be distributed before the test dates, which are listed below.
Response essay: Early in the semester, you will write a 2 page response essay (worth 10% of your total grade) about an
excerpt of Vietnamese literature. This assignment will introduce you to
Writing: You will write a 10 page research paper (worth 30% of your total grade) on a topic of your choice. A sheet explaining the assignment will be distributed well in advance of the final due date, and you should consider this paper to be an on-going project. Therefore, four separate due dates apply to the paper: thesis and bibliography, progress report, rough draft and peer review, and final draft (see schedule below). Please know that each student must participate in the in-class editing session and late papers will not be accepted.
Discussion: In seven classes, we will hold an in-depth discussion of shared reading about significant historical problems related to the Vietnam War. Your individual participation in these discussions and related activities is mandatory and is worth 25% of your total grade. Discussion guides will be distributed in advance of each discussion, and you must complete the reading by class time. The date of each discussion is given below. Some reading assignments are lengthy, so be sure to set aside sufficient time to complete the reading by the due date. The assignment schedule indicates when you should begin reading for each discussion. IMPORTANT: In order to ensure that all students are completing the reading assignments, I may occasionally give pop quizzes before we begin discussion. These quizzes will be worth 5% of your total grade. Discussion activities may also include the following: group work; peer review of research papers; and brief, in-class writing assignments.
Attendance and accommodations: Timely and regular attendance is expected; roll will be taken. Students who are frequently absent when roll is taken will have their grade lowered at the semester’s end. If you cannot attend class, please let me know ahead of time. Class or assignment conflicts due to religious beliefs will be rescheduled according to UW Statute 22.03. Eligible students who require test or lecture accommodations should speak with me.
Research paper @ 30% Midterm @ 15% Participation @ 25%
Final exam @ 15% Response essay @ 10% Quizzes @ 5%
Week 1: Begin reading Duiker, 1-52; Young, 6-23.
Mon. 1/22 Introduction to the course.
Wed. 1/24 Background
Wed. 1/31 Lect. Who was Ho Chi Minh? Disc. #1: Origins of Vietnamese nationalism.
Mon. 2/5 WWII and
Wed. 2/7 Response essay due. The
Week 4: Finish reading Duiker, 95-137; Herring, 53-87.
Mon. 2/12 Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime.
Wed. 2/14 Lect. Formation of the NLF. Disc.
Week 5: Start reading Herring 131-169; Duiker, 138-184.
Mon. 2/19 Kennedy’s conundrum.
Wed. 2/21 Getting rid of Diem.
Week 6: Continue reading Herring 131-169; Duiker, 138-184
Mon. 2/26 Midterm exam.
Wed. 2/28 Lect. The “Long 1964”; library research methods.
Wed. 3/7 Operation Rolling Thunder; Disc. #3: Choosing war.
Week 8: Read website with oral interviews; handout.
Mon. 3/19 The ground war—varying strategies.
Wed. 3/21 Lect. Escalation of the war. Disc. #4: What was it like to be a grunt?
Week 9: Begin reading Young, 131-36; Olson and Roberts, 1-25 and excerpts to be assigned.
Mon. 3/26 Opposition to the war; international response to the war.
Week 10: Finish reading Young, 131-36; Olson and Roberts, 1-25 and excerpts to be assigned.
Mon. 4/2 Progress report on paper due. The siege of Khe Sanh and Tet.
Wed. 4/4 Lect. Khe Sanh and Tet, continued. Disc. #5: Massacre at
Week 11: Start reading O’Brien.
Wed. 4/11 1969—the
Week 12: Continue reading O’Brien.
Mon. 4/16 The “silent majority”; growing opposition to the war.
Wed. 4/18 Papers due and in-class peer review.
Week 13: Continue reading O’Brien.
Mon. 4/23 “Vietnamization” of the war; escalated bombing.
papers due. Lect.
Week 14: Finish reading O’Brien.
Wed. 5/2 Lect. Why
Mon. 5/7 Peace at last?
Wed. 5/9 Lect. Assessing the war 30 years later.
FINAL EXAM: Wed. 5/16, 3-4:52pm. Please note: graduating seniors must take the final.
 Alan Brinkley, Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, vol. 2: From 1865, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997), 852; David Kennedy et al., The Brief American Pageant: A History of the Republic, 5th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 589; Paul Boyer et al., The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, 1890s to the Present, 3rd ed. (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1996), 983.