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 does Halberstam say became clear by the time Rolling Thunder had been in effect for six weeks?

2. What does Halberstam say the Kennedy administration found out after the coup?

3. Who was the only administration insider arguing against escalation?

4. What does Halberstam say happened when control shifted out of Taylor's hands in March and April 1965?

5. What feeling does Halberstam say Americans were feeling as the war went on and on?

Short Essay Questions

1. What issues were discussed as there started to be struggles over Vietnam strategy in mid-1965?

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

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

4. What was the result of the Spring Offensive?

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

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

7. What was President Johnson's position with regard to bombing?

8. What happened during the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

9. What was the public story of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and what was the truth?

10. What was the result of the first direct confrontation with Vietcong and American troops?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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