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 does Halberstam say marked the end of the generals' faith in Diem?

2. What committee had Kennedy served on in the Senate?

3. Where does the book open?

4. What does Halberstam say happened that strained the relationship between Diem and the Buddhists?

5. What were Diem and Nhu's politics relative to the Vietnamese population's politics?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What was the Kennedy administration's image with the American people?

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

4. What does Halberstam say was Robert McNamara's background before becoming Secretary of Defense?

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

6. What does Halberstam say was McNamara's relationship with Kennedy?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Argue for the appropriateness or the inappropriateness of executive secrecy as it was used during the Johnson administration. What factors and evidence mitigates the need for executive transparency? What factors and evidence makes transparency an absolute requirement?

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast the strategies of Robert McNamara and General Westmoreland for bombing and search-and-destroy missions. What were the costs and benefits of either approach to the war against the Vietcong? Were they complementary, or did they work at cross-purposes?

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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