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. On which issue does Halberstam say the military lost its battle with the White House?

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

3. What made McGeorge Bundy an effective administrator?

4. Which situation had the biggest effect on the Kennedy administration in 1961?

5. What events does Halberstam say affected American perceptions of its global priorities?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How did the situation in Vietnam unfold?

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

5. What three plans does Halberstam say the U.S. was considering in Vietnam in 1961?

6. What did Kennedy's representatives report back after their 1961 fact-finding mission?

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

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

9. What crises confronted the Kennedy administration in 1961?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Analyzing the evidence from Halberstam's text, describe the change that took place in American minds as a result of the Vietnam War. Put another way: Compare and contrast the administrations that preceded Kennedy's administration, and the Nixon administration, which followed the Johnson administration. How does Halberstam describe the different cultures that existed before and after the Vietnam war?

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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