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 committee had Kennedy served on in the Senate?

2. Why didn't Kennedy offer the position of Secretary of State to David Bruce?

3. What does Halberstam say was Robert McNamara's role in the White House policy discussions?

4. On which issue does Halberstam say Kennedy compromised with the military?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What did Lovett and Kennedy discuss during their meeting?

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

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

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

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

6. How did the situation in Vietnam unfold?

7. Describe the atmosphere in America when Kennedy took office.

8. How did the fall of China and the Cold War affect the Kennedy administration?

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

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

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

Compare and contrast John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson's strategies for handling the war in Vietnam. How did they negotiate the complex mixture of voices within the U.S. government in similar ways? How were they different? How did the changes in conditions in the U.S. and in Vietnam account for Johnson's different strategies?

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the conditions that led to the coup against Diem and the credibility gap in America. Was the U.S. ripe for a coup the same way that the Diem regime was considered ripe for a coup? What forces were arguing for regime change in America? Why were they ultimately unsuccessful? (Was regime change ultimately what protesters in the U.S. wanted?)

(see the answer keys)

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