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America and Vietnam


Admission requirements

Students must have passed both BA werkcolleges


America’s thirty-year involvement in Vietnam failed to prevent the unification of that country under Communist leadership. This seminar examines the course of America’s intervention in Vietnam under Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Students will analyze the foreign policy background as well as the military and political aspects of the war. Other topics include the role of the news media in reporting the war and the influence of the peace movement in opposing it

In addition to secondary works, students will work with primary sources throughout the course. Film and literary sources will provide additional insights.

The essay will be based upon a research question that utilizes primary sources.

Course objectives

General learning objectives
The student can:

    1. devise and conduct research of limited scope, including:
      a. identifying relevant literature and select and order them according to a defined principle;
      b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information;
      c. an analysis of a scholarly debate;
      d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.
    1. write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the Themacolleges, including
      a. using a realistic schedule of work;
      b. formulating a research question and sub-questions;
      c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
      d. giving and receiving feedback;
      e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.
    1. reflect on the primary sources on which the literature is based.
    1. select and use primary sources for their own research.
    1. analyse sources, place and interpret them in a historical context.

    *6. participate in class discussions. Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically in the track American History, the concept of “ American exceptionalism;” the US as a a global power; America and the Cold War.
  • 8.Gain knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically of in the track American History analysis of historiografical and intellectual debates, especially those related to “Amarican exceptionalism.”

  • Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar*
    The student can:

    1. Analyze the role of the US in the Cold War;
    1. Understand how foreign policy is shaped by political institutions and presidential leadership;
    1. Discuss the relationship between public opinion, the news media, and foreign policy;
    1. Reflect upon the contemporary relevance of the subject matter, especially as it relates to American foreign policy.


See Rooster Geschiedenis (in Dutch)

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 10 × 28 hrs =280 hours

  • Compulsory class attendance: 28 hrs

  • Compulsory weekly reading: 140 hrs

  • Research and writing of essay : 80 hrs

  • Preparation of seminar presentation: 32 hrs

Assessment method

  • Written paper (ca. 7200 words, based on problem-oriented research using primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-5, 7,8,9

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 1,2,6

  • Participation in class discussion
    Measured learning objectives: 6 , 7-13

Written paper: 70%
Oral presentation: 20%
Participation: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirements that 1) the written paper must always be sufficient; 2) the student gives the oral presentation.

Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline

The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline


Blackboard contains syllabus, articles, documents, and links to websites.

Reading list

Students must buy the following books, and ensure that they have read Young, before the start of classes.

  • Michael Hunt, A Vietnam War Reader (Penguin, 2010)

  • Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (HarperCollins, 1991)

  • Michael Lind, Vietnam: The Necessary War (Free Press, 2002)


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


mr. Prof.dr. A. Fairclough
Huizinga, room 1.67