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

2. How many troops were in Vietnam when Kennedy was assassinated?

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

4. Who was named to head the U.S. command in Saigon in January 1962?

5. Whom did Kennedy want to act as Secretary of State?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. What was McNamara's stance with regard to nuclear weapons?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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