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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 happened that strained the relationship between Diem and the Buddhists?
2. Why didn't Kennedy offer the position of Secretary of State to McGeorge Bundy?
3. Why did Robert Lovett demur about being appointed in the Kennedy administration?
4. What had McNamara done by the time he took over as Secretary of Defense?
5. Where was the war going well, at the time when the White House was losing faith in Diem, according to Halberstam?
Short Essay Questions
1. What does Halberstam say Kennedy was confronted with at the beginning of "The Best and the Brightest"?
2. What does Halberstam say was McNamara's relationship with Kennedy?
3. What was the American government's relationship with Diem in 1961?
4. What three plans does Halberstam say the U.S. was considering in Vietnam in 1961?
5. How did the situation in Vietnam unfold?
6. Who was Chester Bowles, and what did Kennedy get by tapping Bowles to be an adviser?
7. Why did Diem and the U.S. end up working together?
8. Whom did Kennedy consider for the position of Secretary of State?
9. Why didn't the U.S. gain the loyalty of the Vietnamese peasants?
10. Why does Halberstam say Chester Bowles' popularity faded?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
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?
Essay Topic 2
Write a critical review of "The Best and the Brightest": what does Halberstam do well, and what parts of the book are not well-executed? Considering recent revelations regarding the war, how prescient was Halberstam in his history?
Essay Topic 3
John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama share certain similarities, insofar as they were both young and charismatic leaders with relatively little experience, but represented a new way of doing things. Compare and contrast the early political careers and elections of these two presidents. How were they temperamentally similar? How did they relate to the old guard? How were their ascensions different?
This section contains 882 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)