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

2. How does Halberstam say Lyndon Johnson felt in the Kennedy administration?

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

4. Why didn't Kennedy formulate a China policy, in Halberstam's account?

5. What rule does Halberstam say Kennedy was following in trying to appoint a Secretary of State?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe the confrontation in Laos.

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

4. How did the White House eventually try to limit the military?

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

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

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

8. How did the situation in Vietnam unfold?

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

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 American support influence Diem and Khanh? Did it make them more or less legitimate in the eyes of the Vietnamese? If there were problems caused by overt American support, say also what roles were played by Vietnamese society and by the personalities of Diem and Khanh.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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