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

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was the logic behind the U.S.'s actions after the 1961 fact-finding mission?

2. How does Halberstam say McNamara learned about the affairs in Vietnam?

3. How does Halberstam say Dean Rusk felt in the Kennedy administration?

4. Which problem did NOT arise for the Kennedy administration during 1961?

5. On which issue does Halberstam say the military lost its battle with the White House?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Halberstam say Chester Bowles' popularity faded?

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

3. What was the Kennedy administration's image with the American people?

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

5. How did the situation in Vietnam unfold?

6. Why didn't the U.S. gain the loyalty of the Vietnamese peasants?

7. Who was Dean Rusk, and what was his role and place in the Kennedy administration?

8. How did the meeting between Lovett and Kennedy play in the press?

9. What were Americans beginning to say with regard to Diem after the Buddhist monk problems began?

10. Describe Vietnam's problems with the Buddhist monks.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Analyzing the evidence from Halberstam's text, describe the change that took place in American minds as a result of the Vietnam War. Put another way: Compare and contrast the administrations that preceded Kennedy's administration, and the Nixon administration, which followed the Johnson administration. How does Halberstam describe the different cultures that existed before and after the Vietnam war?

Essay Topic 2

What lessons did the U.S. learn from the Bay of Pigs invasion, and how were these lessons visible in the planning for military campaigns in Vietnam? Did the Bay of Pigs invasion sour the U.S. war planners on relying on local forces? Did it foster the argument for bombing instead of troops on the ground?

Essay Topic 3

Using the hindsight gained by "The Best and the Brightest", would you say that the war in Vietnam was a local conflict that could have been left to resolve itself, or would you say that if left unaddressed, Vietnam would have been one of the dominoes in a string of nations the Communists took over? Put another way: would the internal tensions in Vietnam have dogged the Communists just as badly as they dogged the Americans and the American-backed South Vietnamese government, if the Vietcong had ever acquired power there?

(see the answer keys)

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