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. How many soldiers had the U.S. sent to Vietnam in its first commitment of troops?

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

3. What does Halberstam say McNamara tried to do with his fact-finding missions to Vietnam?

4. Which issue was NOT confronting the nation when the Kennedy administration took office?

5. What did the Kennedy administration represent to America?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who was Robert McNamara and what was his role in the formation of Vietnam policy?

2. Who was Robert A. Lovett, and what does Halberstam say he signified for Kennedy?

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

4. What was the American government's relationship with Diem in 1961?

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

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

7. Describe the confrontation in Laos.

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

9. Who was Frederick Nolting, and what was his role in Vietnam?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Was it necessary for opponents of the war to be marginalized within the American government? Describe the organizational and bureaucratic rules and pressures that were used to effectively silence or transfer officials who spoke out against the war. Was this required, for efficient planning, or did the transfers constitute repression?

(see the answer keys)

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