History 320

HIST 320
The Vietnam War

Catalog Entry

HIST 320
The Vietnam War
Three hours lecture: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at the 100 level.

History of the war covering the general background, French and American involvement, and the present situation in southeast Asia. Focuses on military, diplomatic, and domestic aspects of American involvement.

Detailed Description of Content of Course
1. Course Introduction
    a. The early history of Vietnam
    b. Vietnamese culture
    c. French colonization
2. The First Indochina War, 1946-1954
       a. Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh
        b. French strategy and defeat
3. The War Through 1965
    a. The Eisenhower years
    b. The Kennedy years
    c. America's commitment expands, 1964-1965
4. The War Expands, 1965-1969
    a. The Tet Offensive
    b. The role of the press in Vietnam
    c. Homefront U.S.A.
    d. The anti-war movement
5. Other Wars
    a. Laos
    b. Cambodia
             1. The Vietnam War in Cambodia
            2. The Khmer Rouge
6. American Withdrawal
    a. Vietnamization, 1969-1972
    b. The war crimes controversy
    c. The 1972 Offensive
    d. The peace negotiations and 1973 peace treaty
7. After the War
    a. Vietnam after 1973
    b. The Vietnam veteran
    c. Lessons and legacies of Vietnam

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Although primarily a lecture course, class discussion is actively sought through discussion exercises and historical simulations. Student interviews of Vietnam veterans, multi-media presentations, and various written assignments are used to involve students in the course material. In addition, outside speakers may appear before the class.
Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.
2. Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.
3. Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.
4. Students will gain a balanced and scholarly treatment of the Vietnam War.

Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval
Date Action Reviewed by
October  2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon Roger Hepburn