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 had happened to reduce the Communism threat by the time McNamara took over as Secretary of Defense?

2. Why was Chester Bowles assigned to a different position?

3. What state does Halberstam say the Vietcong were in when Kennedy sent the fact-finding mission in 1961?

4. Why does Halberstam say Harkins had a hard time firing one of his people in the Mekong Delta?

5. How does Halberstam say Lyndon Johnson felt in the Kennedy administration?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Halberstam say Maxwell Taylor said were the three issues confronting the U.S. in its Vietnam planning?

3. What does Halberstam say became clear to the American government after Diem's death?

4. What happened during the second Gulf of Tonkin incident?

5. What was the intelligence community's assessment of Rolling Thunder?

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

7. What was the military's position on bombing North Vietnam?

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

9. What program did Maxwell Taylor call for in the paper he wrote on his way back from Vietnam?

10. Describe what Halberstam calls 'the Bundy trip' to Vietnam.

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 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 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.

(see the answer keys)

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