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 does Halberstam say McNamara learned that he had to do in order to argue against nuclear weapons?

2. What was the recommendation that came out of the fact-finding mission of 1961?

3. What does Halberstam say was the state of tensions within the White House as involvement in Vietnam escalated?

4. Whom did Robert Lovett recommend to Kennedy for Secretary of Defense?

5. Which cabinet member was opposed to the Bay of Pigs invasion?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Whom did Kennedy consider for the position of Secretary of State?

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

4. What crises confronted the Kennedy administration in 1961?

5. What was the Kennedy administration's stance with regard to Russia?

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

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

8. What kind of reports does Halberstam say the U.S. got from Vietnam?

9. Who was Chester Bowles, and what did Kennedy get by tapping Bowles to be an adviser?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How did the Vietnam war affect the U.S. government's bureaucratic organization? Analyze Halberstam's history and describe the changes that were made in the roles and structure of the government as a result of or in reaction to the situation in Vietnam. How did Kennedy and Johnson create special positions or grant special powers to individuals around them? How did the system of checks and balances work in relationship to the privacy and secrecy of the war planners?

Essay Topic 2

Kennedy was a young president, and he was thought to be inexperienced. What was Kennedy's relationship with the past, and with politicians who went before him? What did he take from them, and which of their policies was he intent on changing?

Essay Topic 3

Did the Vietnam War mark a change in American ideology? Was the concept of natural rights changed or abandoned? Was Vietnam a war like other wars America had fought, or was it unprecedented? How did the U.S. government's response to the opposition to the war change the nature of citizenship and political activity in America?

(see the answer keys)

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