The Vietnam War

History 103F.003

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
W 2-4P

This seminar examines some of the many scholarly controversies surrounding the Vietnam War. Was the conflict a “civil war” or a “war against foreign aggression?” Was the “domino theory” a shibboleth or a reasonable cold-war paradigm?  Was the National Liberation Front an independent organization allied with Hanoi or merely a front organization created by Hanoi to camouflage the Communist Party’s control over the insurgency in the South? Was Ho Chi Minh a radical or a moderate? Which scholars make the best case? Analysis of these and other contentious topics in the history of the war will give us an opportunity to hone our basic skills as historians: conducting close readings, identifying and articulating the key arguments of texts, and considering how those arguments correspond with the ideas of others (historians and politicians alike).