The Best and the Brightest Test | Final 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 did the code 34A stand for in the White House?

2. What stance does Halberstam say the administration took as the public sentiment deteriorated?

3. What had USAID done in Vietnam at the beginning of Chapter 15?

4. What does Halberstam say was the Joint Chiefs of Staff's perception of the problem in Vietnam?

5. Why does Halberstam say that September and October of 1963 were good for the Kennedy administration?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Halberstam say the effect of the Vietnam war on the American people was?

2. Who expressed doubt about the Vietnam war, and what happened to their opposition?

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

4. How did the reality of the war become public information?

5. What were the questions people were asking on the issue of bombing the North?

6. What happened during the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

7. Who was interested in overthrowing Diem?

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

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

10. What does Halberstam say began to change in early 1964?

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

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

Write a critical review of "The Best and the Brightest": what does Halberstam do well, and what parts of the book are not well-executed? Considering recent revelations regarding the war, how prescient was Halberstam in his history?

(see the answer keys)

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