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. Whose staff does Halberstam say outlined three responses to the American bombing campaign?

2. What does Halberstam say the U.S. assured its generals during their meeting in Vietnam?

3. How does Halberstam define the flash point?

4. What strategy does Halberstam say evolved out of the struggle over troop strength?

5. When did McNamara say the U.S. would be out of Vietnam, when he visited the country?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Rolling Thunder and what was its purpose?

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

3. What were the alternatives the staff in Vietnam laid out for Maxwell Taylor when he visited Vietnam in the fall of 1964?

4. What was Dean Rusk's role in Vietnam after Kennedy's assassination?

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

6. What did the Johnson administration tell America as it committed more troops to Vietnam?

7. What does Halberstam say happened when Westmoreland assumed control?

8. What does Halberstam say McNamara found in Vietnam when the Johnson administration took over?

9. What was President Johnson's position regarding Vietnam in the early days of his presidency?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Kennedy was a young president, and he was thought to be inexperienced. What was Kennedy's relationship with the past, and with politicians who went before him? What did he take from them, and which of their policies was he intent on changing?

Essay Topic 2

Using the hindsight gained by "The Best and the Brightest", would you say that the war in Vietnam was a local conflict that could have been left to resolve itself, or would you say that if left unaddressed, Vietnam would have been one of the dominoes in a string of nations the Communists took over? Put another way: would the internal tensions in Vietnam have dogged the Communists just as badly as they dogged the Americans and the American-backed South Vietnamese government, if the Vietcong had ever acquired power there?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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