Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

HIST 318: The U.S. And The Vietnam War

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  Course Description

Analysis of American involvement in the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975. The events of the armed conflict are placed in a multiplicity of contexts to reveal political, diplomatic, military, social and economic factors. This course considers the deployment of armed forces in addition to the impact of the peace movement. Significant attention is given to the challenges of the Cold War, the dynamics of popular culture, and the fall of South Vietnam.

Prerequisite: HIST 122

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



  Textbooks

As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.

Required

  •  McMahon, Robert J. (2008). Major Problems in History of the Vietnam War (4th ed). Boston: Cengage.  Physical Book
  •  Moss, George Donelson. (2010). Vietnam: an American Ordeal (6th ed). Boston: Routledge.  eText
  •  Herring, George C. (2014). Americas Longest War: The United States and Vietnam (9th ed). Boston: McGraw-Hill Education.  eText

Recommended

Recommended course materials may be purchased directly through Ed Map.

  •  Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 9th ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2017.  eText

Bookstore Information

Ed Map is Columbia College’s bookstore for Online, Nationwide, and Evening students.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional loose-leaf print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the Ed Map storefront at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials, but may do so through the Ed Map storefront. Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

  Course Overview

HIST 318 - The United States and the Vietnam War - is the history of the United States involvement in the Vietnam War that spanned thirty years from 1945 to 1975.

For some Americans, the Vietnam War represents a very dark period of American history as reflected in the actions of some American youth in the form of anti-Vietnam War protests and the violence in both the anti-Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights movement. For other Americans, particularly those who served in the American military, the Vietnam War was a frustrating experience where the American military was not used (or could not be used) to defeat an enemy that was vastly inferior in military capability and experience. Now, as we are well into the 21st century, an increasingly large percentage of Americans have no personal memory or any direct link to the Vietnam War.

Studying the Vietnam War is steadily becoming similar to the study of any other war; that is, it is a historical inquiry. In HIST 318 we will look at the Vietnam War from the period of 1945 to 1975. We will begin with an examination of France’s experience in its war against the Viet Minh from 1946 to 1954, and will then survey the era of the two Vietnams and the evolution of American political, economic, and military involvement in Vietnam (and the later devolution of the involvement) from 1954 to 1975.

At the end of eight weeks, it is the goal of this class that everyone in the class will have a solid understanding of the chronology of key events of the Vietnam War and will be exposed to some of the questions and concerns that affected the United States’ prosecution of the war and that still prevail about the American policies and actions in that war.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the evolution of the long struggle between the American and communist forces in Vietnam.
  2. Analyze the impact of domestic politics, the peace movement, and the news media on public opinion.
  3. Analyze the consequences of South Vietnam’s collapse.
  4. Describe the influence of the Vietnam War on the U.S. in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
  5. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of the Vietnam War.

  Grading

Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (25) 150 15%
Dropbox Essays (4) 200 20%
Midterm Exam (1) 250 25%
Research Paper (1) 150 15%
Final Exam (1) 250 25%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion -- Sunday
Discussion 1 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2 6
Discussion 3 6

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 5 6
Discussion 6 6
Dropbox Essay 1 50 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 8 6
Discussion 9 6
Discussion 10 6
Dropbox Essay 2 50 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 6
Discussion 13 6
Midterm Exam 250 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 15 6
Discussion 16 6
Dropbox Essay 3 50 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 17 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 18 6
Discussion 19 6
Dropbox Essay 4 50 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 20 6 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 21 6
Discussion 22 6
Research Paper 150 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 23 6 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 24 6
Discussion 25 6
Final Exam 250 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview

Discussions

Each week you are expected to actively participate in the class discussion located in the discussion area. The weekly discussions are objective academic exercises. Except in Weeks 1 and 3, there are three (3) discussion questions each week. In Week 1, you have to post your response to the additional non-graded Introduction Discussion, and in Week 3, there are four (4) discussion questions. The answers to the discussion questions are due on Thursday by 11:59 p.m. CT; the two (2) responses to other students’ answers to each of the discussion questions are due by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sunday; in Week 8, the responses to the other students’ answers to the discussion questions are due by 11:59 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Your initial response should contain a minimum of 150 words, and the responses must contain at least 50 words. The key is for the answers to the discussion questions to fully answer the topic of the discussion question.

The Chicago Style is required if you are using quoted material in the answers or the responses to the discussion questions. Your posts must be original, intelligible, and grammatically correct.

To earn the full credit each week, you must answer all of the questions and comment on at least two other students’ answers to each question and read all of the postings. All discussion questions and responses are graded as one. The initial response to the question is worth five (5) points, and your two responses are worth one (1) point. Given the sensitive nature of the material that will be discussed, everyone must adhere to the rules of civility in any comment that you make.

Dropbox Essays

You are required to write four (4) essays. Each essay is worth 50 points. Each paper is due by 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday of the assigned week. Specific topics are given in the corresponding week’s information.

Each essay must be submitted to the Dropbox in a Word document that contains at least two (2) full pages of text, has one-inch margins, uses 12 point font, and is double-spaced (do not use WordPerfect). Correct grammar, spelling, and paragraphing are required. You need to edit your essay carefully to ensure that what you have written is clearly understandable. Failure to edit your essays will result in a lower grade regardless of the quality of the substance of the essay. If you use quoted material in your essays, the Chicago Style is required for footnotes or end-notes. Quoted material is not required, but it can be a very useful tool to use.

Research Paper

You are required to write a Research Paper, which must include at least four primary sources and as many secondary sources as needed. It is due by 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday day of Week 7. It must be submitted to the Dropbox in a Word document that contains a minimum of ten full pages of text, has one-inch margins, uses 12 point font, and is double-spaced (do not use WordPerfect). A separate bibliography is required and is not part of the ten pages of text. The Chicago Style is required for footnotes or endnotes. Research papers must contain original thought, interpretation, and analysis.

Exams

The proctored Midterm and Final Exam will be held in Week 4 and Week 8 respectively. The Midterm will test the material covered in Weeks 1-4, and the Final will test material covered in Weeks 5-8. Both will be two-hour (2-hour) exams, worth 250 points, and will contain both short-answer questions and essays.

The Midterm Exam will be available on 12:01 a.m. CT Monday of Week 4 and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday of Week 4. The Midterm Exam is in the Quizzes Module. A Midterm Exam Review Sheet will be available in the Content Area for Week 3. It will give you all of the ten identification items and the topics of the two essays. Each of the ten identification items requires at least two sentences, and the two essays must contain at least 250 words each. You will be allowed only one attempt on the Midterm Exam, so it is important that you be prepared.

The Final Exam will be available on 12:01 a.m. CT Monday of Week 8 and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. CT Saturday of Week 8. The Final Exam is in the Quizzes Module. A Final Exam Review Sheet will be available in the Content Area for Week 7. It will give you all of the ten identification items and the topics of the two essays. Each of the ten identification items requires at least two sentences, and the two essays must contain at least 250 words each. You will be allowed only one attempt on the Final Exam, so it is important that you be prepared.

You must submit the “Student Proctor Information Submission Form” to the Proctor Information Dropbox within your course by the end of Week 2. This form and additional information about Proctoring is located in the Content area of the course.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Reading
  • McMahon: Chapters 1-3 (pp. 1-80)
  • Moss: Chapters 1 & 2 (pp. 1-31)
Introduction Discussion
In the “Introductions” discussion topic, introduce yourself to your fellow students.
Discussion 1
What was Ho Chi Minh’s background as a communist and a socialist before and during World War II?
Discussion 2
What impact did the Japanese occupation of Vietnam from 1941 to 1945 have on the post-war situation in Vietnam?
Discussion 3
What should the American military have learned from the French-Viet Minh War and the French military defeat at Dien Bien Phu?
Reading
  • McMahon: Chapters 4 & 5 (pp. 81-110)
  • Moss: Chapters 3 & 4
  • Herring: Chapter 1 (pp. 34-51) & Chapter 2 (pp. 53-89)
Discussion 4
Explain the role that the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov and the Chinese Foreign Minister Zhou En-Lai played at the Geneva Conference in 1954.
Discussion 5
Discuss the key points made by President Eisenhower in Document 2 in the McMahon text, page 50: Eisenhower Explains the Domino Theory.
Discussion 6

How did Nho Dien Diem come to power in South Vietnam, and what were his strengths and weaknesses?

How were Diem’s strengths and weaknesses perceived by American political leaders, and how dependent were Diem and the new South Vietnam government on American military and economic aid from 1954 to 1963?

Dropbox Essay 1
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the French military forces and the Viet Minh military forces in Vietnam from 1946 to 1954.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Reading
  • McMahon: Chapters 5 & 6 (pp. 120-196)
  • Moss: Chapters 5
  • Herring: Chapter 3 & 4
Discussion 7
Why did the American military leaders in South Vietnam and the American political leaders in Washington want President Diem to be removed from office in the summer/fall of 1963?
Discussion 8
In your opinion, did the assassination of President Kennedy in November of 1963 have an impact on the military involvement in South Vietnam? Why or why not?
Discussion 9
Based on the assigned readings, what role did the Tonkin Gulf incident(s) play on committing American combat forces in South Vietnam?
Discussion 10

What impact did President Johnson’s personality have on his decision to commit American combat troops to South Vietnam in March of 1965?

(Note: Neither President Eisenhower nor President Kennedy had been willing to commit American combat forces to South Vietnam.)

Dropbox Essay 2
What should the United States have learned politically and militarily from France’s loss to the Viet-Minh in the French-Viet Minh War from 1946 to 1954, and specifically from the French military’s defeat at Dien Bien Phu?
Readings
  • McMahon: Chapters 6 & 7 (pp. 155-234)
  • Moss: Chapters 6 & 7
  • Herring: Chapter 5
Discussion 11
How did President Johnson justify the incremental increases of American military forces to South Vietnam that went from 20,000 in March of 1965 to over 500,000 by the end of 1967?
Discussion 12
What impact did the anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States have on the American military personnel fighting in South Vietnam in 1965-1967?
Discussion 13
Describe the military and political situations in South Vietnam as they appeared to be in December of 1967.
Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam will be available on 12:01 a.m. CT Monday of Week 4 and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday of Week 4.

A Midterm Exam Review Sheet will be available in the Content Area for Week 3. It will give you all of the ten identification items and the topics of the two essays. Each of the ten identification items requires at least two sentences, and the two essays must contain at least 250 words each.

It will be a two-hour (2-hour), proctored exam, worth 250 points, and you will be allowed only one attempt.

Reading
  • McMahon: Chapters 9 & 10 (pp. 274-355)
  • Moss: Chapters 8 & 9
  • Herring: Chapter 6
Discussion 14
Describe the military and political situation in January of 1968 before the Tet Offensive.
Discussion 15
Explain the North Vietnamese general plan of the Tet Offensive in terms of the missions of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army.
Discussion 16
Describe the political impact of the Tet Offensive on the American Congress, the American media, the American public, and the anti-Vietnam War movement.
Dropbox Essay 3

In the McMahon book, two essays are included: one is Choosing War by Fredrick Logevall, and the other essay is An Unwinnable War by Robert K Brigham.

In an essay, summarize each of the essays and compare and contrast the principal arguments of the two authors.

Reading
  • McMahon: Chapters 9-11 (pp. 357-370)
  • Moss: Chapters 9 & 10
  • Herring: Chapter 7 (pp. 277-304)
Discussion 17
Describe the military and political situation in 1969 after the Tet Offensive and after the “secret bombing of Eastern Cambodia.”
Discussion 18
Explain the general plan of President Nixon’s “Vietnamization” program.
Discussion 19
Describe the political impact of President Nixon’s leadership in the Vietnam War on the American Congress, the American media, and the American public and the impact of Nixon and Kissinger seeking a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam War.
Dropbox Essay 4

In the McMahon text (pp. 379-395), there is an essay that addresses President Nixon’s plan to end the American war in South Vietnam. Melvin Small’s essay, Nixon’s Flawed Search for Peace, discusses the efforts of President Nixon and Henry Kissinger to reach a peace plan for ending the Vietnam War.

In an essay, explain what the Nixon/Kissinger plan was and to what degree it was a success or a failure. To what extent does it appear that President Nixon was actually concerned about the fate of South Vietnam?

One can argue that the Vietnam War was an obstacle to President Nixon’s greater goal, which was to develop positive relations with both the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Readings
  • McMahon: Chapters 11 (pp. 376-379) & 12
  • Moss: Chapter 11
  • Herring: Chapter 7 (pp. 304-331)
Discussion 20
What was the status of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam in 1971 until the end of 1972?
Discussion 21
Describe the political impact President Nixon’s handling of the Vietnam War had on the Congress and the American public and give an assessment of how President Nixon’s handling of the Vietnam War has changed over time.
Discussion 22
What impact did President Nixon’s leadership and military actions in Vietnam from January of 1969 through December of 1972 have on the anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States?
Research Paper
Analyze and compare the political and military goals that the Vietnam War policies of President Johnson and President Nixon sought to achieve and to what extent those goals were met.
Readings
  • McMahon: Chapter 14 & 15
  • Moss: Chapters 12 & 13
  • Herring: Chapter 8
Discussion 23
Describe the military and political situations in South Vietnam and Cambodia from January of 1973, when the peace accords were signed, until the middle of 1975.
Discussion 24
What was the status of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam in 1973, when the peace accords were signed?
Discussion 25

How did President Nixon’s leadership in the Vietnam War compare to that of President Johnson’s leadership in the Vietnam War?

How did each president’s leadership impact the American public and the American anti-Vietnam War movement?

Final Exam

The Final Exam will be available on 12:01 a.m. CT Monday of Week 8 and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. CT Saturday of Week 8.

A Final Exam Review Sheet will be available in the Content Area for Week 7. It will give you all of the ten identification items and the topics of the two essays. Each of the ten identification items requires at least two sentences, and the two essays must contain at least 250 words each.

It will be a two-hour (2-hour), proctored exam, worth 250 points, and you will be allowed only one attempt.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor’s notification prior to the due date (Columbia College Catalog).

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance.  If you have questions about the Ed Map storefront, please contact the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center.  If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource.  Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.