The Best and the Brightest Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. On which issue does Halberstam say the military lost its battle with the White House?
(a) Bombing in the north.
(b) The use of napalm.
(c) The use of jets.
(d) The commitment of troops.

2. Where does Halberstam say McNamara found people to work under him as Secretary of Defense?
(a) The auto industry.
(b) England.
(c) Boeing.
(d) Academia.

3. Who was Kennedy's military analyst on the 1961 fact-finding mission?
(a) Maxwell Taylor.
(b) Robert McNamara.
(c) Chester Bowles.
(d) McGeorge Bundy.

4. What was the logic behind the U.S.'s actions after the 1961 fact-finding mission?
(a) A show of force would intimidate the Vietcong.
(b) Inaction would allow trade to develop.
(c) Wait for the Vietnamese elections.
(d) Further delay would defuse the situation.

5. Why didn't Kennedy formulate a China policy, in Halberstam's account?
(a) His China advisor had not been confirmed.
(b) He didn't have time.
(c) China was experiencing a revolution.
(d) China was not a high priority.

Short Answer Questions

1. How did the Kennedy administration see the war in Vietnam?

2. What position had Robert Lovett been appointed to in 1947?

3. What had happened to reduce the Communism threat by the time McNamara took over as Secretary of Defense?

4. How big a margin did Kennedy win the presidency by?

5. What does Halberstam say happened that threatened the relationship between Diem and the Buddhists?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who was Kennedy, and how did he become well known?

2. Who was McGeorge Bundy, and what was his role in the Kennedy administration?

3. What did Kennedy's representatives report back after their 1961 fact-finding mission?

4. Describe U.S. engagements in Vietnam in the 1950s.

5. What does Halberstam say Kennedy was confronted with at the beginning of "The Best and the Brightest"?

6. What three plans does Halberstam say the U.S. was considering in Vietnam in 1961?

7. What was McNamara's stance with regard to nuclear weapons?

8. What does Halberstam say was Robert McNamara's background before becoming Secretary of Defense?

9. Describe the atmosphere in America when Kennedy took office.

10. Why did Diem and the U.S. end up working together?

(see the answer keys)

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