Vietnam DBQ_1

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					   Anthony Irovando

    SSE 6938.0001

Vietnam War DBQ Lesson

      Dr. Waring

   October 12, 2010

       The Document Based Question (DBQ) lesson is intended to aid in the instruction of

analyzing Primary Sources. Students will not only analyze the documents, but will also combine

their analysis and their background knowledge of the topic to construct a thoughtful and coherent

essay. This lesson is designed for an 11th grade advanced placement high school student. It is

imperative that higher level high school students are able to interpret documents and are able to

describe how those documents relate to a specific event or time period. It is also very important

that the student can formulate a stance for an argument and support that stance through evidence

from the documents as well as their outside knowledge.

       This DBQ lesson is designed to have students analyze different aspects of the Vietnam

War and think about how these aspects affected American and Americans at home as well as in

Vietnam. It is also designed to make the students look at the roles of different Americans during

the time period and how their part helped shape this era in American History.

       I have selected specific document that show the range of people and event that were

influential during the Vietnam War period. The four main subjects I focused on were the

conditions and situations that the soldiers were fighting in, the role of the U.S. government in the

war, the role of Americans supporting or protesting the war at home, and the effects the war had

on the nation. The documents selected provide insight and example from each of these four areas

so students can piece together events that helped can explain the impact the Vietnam War had on

The Lesson

       Students will first read the brief synopsis of American involvement in the Vietnam War

from 1964 to 1975. Then they will view the video America and the Vietnam War to get a visual

and audio sense of the scenery, climate, and atmosphere of the time period. Once the students

have a basic understanding of the background knowledge of the Vietnam War, they will be given

11 period documents for them interpret. Students will have a sheet with various questions that

they will answer about each document. The documents include a chart, a map, letters, speeches,

song lyrics, pictures and a political cartoon. Students must analyze each document and conclude

what the document is stating, the importance of the document, and how it relates to the topic of

the Vietnam War.

       Once the students have finished their analysis of the documents, they will then use their

analysis to construct a five paragraph essay answering the prompt provided. Students will have

to site the documents in their essay as evidence for their argument. They will cite the documents

following a thought or argument by referencing the document at the end of a sentence in

parenthesis as follows: (DOC. A). Students must cite at least 8 of the 11 documents provided or

points will be deducted from the essay. Essays will be graded based on the rubric for grading

DBQ’s on the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam.
Explanation of the Documents

Document A: Transcript of Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964)

I selected this document because it provides a starting point for the students to identify

America’s “official” entrance into the Vietnam War. Students can also refer back to this

document as they discuss the unpopularity of the war and the questioning of why America was

actually at war.

Document B: Map of the Ho Chi Minh Trail

This document was included so students could refer to the resolve of the Vietnamese people

against the much stronger U.S. forces. It also opens the door to discuss the North’s leader Ho Chi

Minh himself.

Document C: A letter of disapproval to President Johnson

This document provides an example how people who once supported the President have turned

on him as the war continued. Students can cite this document as they discuss Johnson’s decision

not to run for reelection.

Document D: A picture of a protest rally in Washington D.C.

This document was included to show the masses of people on the home-front that opposed the

war and their participation in protesting it. Students can use this document to help discuss the

types of people that were involved in protests and to what extent the protests went to.
Document E: Picture after the Kent State Massacre

I wanted students to be familiar with this famous picture and be able to discuss the role of the

government as well as students for this event. Students can use this image as a foundation to

discuss Nixon, Cambodia, and the escalation of student protests on college campuses.

Document F: Walter Cronkite’s Broadcast After The Tet Offensive

This document is included for students to refer to the Tet Offensive and the point that it is

considered the turning point of public opinion over the war. Students can also refer to this

document when discussing Johnson not running for reelection.

Document G: Lyrics to the protest song Draft Dodger Rag

Students can analyze the lyrics of this song and use it as an example of how young people felt

about serving in Vietnam. It also provides an example of the extent some went to dodge the draft

and not participate in the war.

Document H: Address to the Nation by President Johnson

This speech provides insight for students to analyze on how President Johnson felt about the War

following the Tet Offensive. It also provides some explanation of why he did not run for another

term as President.

Document I: Chart showing American Deaths in Vietnam by years

I included this document for students to use so they can describe how the year 1968 was a pivotal

year. 1968 was the year of the riot at the Democratic National Convention, the Tet Offensive,
and the election of new President Richard Nixon. Consequently, it was the year the U.S. suffered

the most deaths in Vietnam.

Document J: Political Cartoon on the effects of Vietnam on social programs at home

This document is intended to provide perspective on the financial effects the war had on

domestic programs. I want students to understand that Johnson’s Great Society fell short of

expectations as the money dried up in Vietnam.

Document K: A letter home from a Vietnam Soldier

This document was included as evidence of how soldiers viewed the war and their involvement.

It also provides a first-hand account of the conditions as well as the atmosphere in Vietnam
                                    DBQ: The Vietnam War


Part A

Analyze and interpret the 11 documents provided relating to the events surrounding the Vietnam

War from 1964-1975. As you analyze the documents, answer the questions on the sheet

provided. Be sure to describe the details for each document and explain how the document

relates to the topic. In addition, add some outside knowledge that also relates to the document.

Part B

Use the analysis of the documents as well as outside knowledge to construct a cohesive and

coherent essay answering the following question:

How did the events during the Vietnam War, both foreign and domestic, affect Americans at

home as well as the soldiers overseas? Explain how these events affected America socially,

economically, and politically.
Background Knowledge on the Vietnam War

       The Vietnam War has its roots in Vietnam’s struggle against French imperialism dating

back to the late 1800’s. With the emergence of strong Vietenemese leaders such as Ho Chi Minh,

who founded a militant nationalist organization called the Viet Minh, resistance to imperialism

grew stronger through the 20th century. Following the surrender of Japan at the end of World

War II in 1945, Ho Chi Minh’s forces took the capital of Hanoi and declared Vietnam to be an

independent country, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. France, however, refused to

acknowledge Vietnam’s independence. Ho Chi Minh appealed to the United States for assistance

but since the French were a key ally during this “Cold War” period, the U.S. declined.

       A civil war persisted as the communist forces of Ho Chi Minh continued to fight the

French for independence. The Geneva Accords of 1954 declared a cease-fire and divided

Vietnam officially into North Vietnam (under Ho Chi Mihn and his Communist forces) and

South Vietnam (under a French-backed emperor). The dividing line was set at the 17th parallel

and was surrounded by a demilitarized zone, or DMZ. By this time, American foreign policy was

dominated by the “Domino Theory” which was the belief that if countries in Asia turned to

Communism, eventually they would all fall, strengthening the Soviet Union.

       After North Vietnamese forces allegedly attacked U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin

in 1964, President Johnson was given “blank check” in the form of the Gulf of Tonkin

Resolution and began to send U.S. troops to Vietnam. This marked the “official” entrance of the

United States into the Vietnam War. Bombing campaigns such as 1965’s Operation Rolling

Thunder followed, and the conflict escalated. President Johnson’s “Americanization” of the war

led to a presence of nearly 400,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam by the end of 1966.
       Although the United States was far superior in military strength to the “Viet Cong”

militaias, Vietnamese soldiers as well as civilians showed resolve in enduring relentless attacks

on them and their land. Through guerrilla tactics and civilian unity, Vietnamese Communist

forces frustrated American forces. Through massive airstrikes, U.S. forces used unconventional

weapons like Napalm and Agent Orange to counter, but to little avail. Villages would rebuild

damaged roads and supply lines in the middle of the night, keeping the Ho Chi Minh Trail

operational and significant.

       In 1968, an event known as the Tet Offensive appeared to be a major turning point in the

war. Tet was a Vietnamese Holiday which was supposed to assure a cease fire. The communist

forces attacked anyway and inflicted much damage to American forces. Even though the U.S.

eventually earned a victory, broadcasts at home about the event dramatically turned public

opinion against the war effort. As a result, many anti-war protests spark up all over the nation,

mostly on college campuses. These events in 1968 led President Johnson to decline a bid to

return as President of the United States.

       In the election of 1968, Richard Nixon was selected to continue the war effort as

President. Part of his campaign promises included ending American involvement in Vietnam

quickly. Nixon, however, escalated American involvement with bombings in Cambodia. College

campus protests began to boil over reaching a horrendous climax in 1970 when 4 students were

killed on the campus of Kent State by national guardsmen.

       In 1971, the publications of the secret “Pentagon Papers” in newspapers helped push

Nixon to make a Peace agreement. In January of 1973, President Nixon signed a cease-fire and

official military personal left Vietnam over the next two months. The U.S. government continued
to fund the South Vietnamese army, but this funding did not last long. Congress and the

American people were finished with the events in Vietnam and even a plea from new President

Gerald Ford could not muster further support for the cause. North Vietnamese forces stepped up

their attacks on the South and finally launched an all-out offensive in the spring of 1975. On

April 30, 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, who

reunited the country under Communist rule as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, ending the

Vietnam War.

Video at:
Document A

Transcript of Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964)
Eighty-eighth Congress of the United States of America
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and
Joint Resolution
To promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.
Whereas naval units of the Communist regime in Vietnam, in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United
Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked United Stated naval vessels lawfully
present in international waters, and have thereby created a serious threat to international peace; and
Whereas these attackers are part of deliberate and systematic campaign of aggression that the Communist regime in
North Vietnam has been waging against its neighbors and the nations joined with them in the collective defense of
their freedom; and
Whereas the United States is assisting the peoples of southeast Asia to protest their freedom and has no territorial,
military or political ambitions in that area, but desires only that these people should be left in peace to work out their
destinies in their own way: Now, therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That
the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary
measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.
Section 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of
international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the
Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense
Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including
the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty
requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.
Section 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is
reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it
may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress
Document B
Document C
Document D
Document E
Document F


Tonight, back in more familiar surroundings in New York, we'd like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis
that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet offensive against the cities?
I'm not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a
draw. Another standoff may be coming in the big battles expected south of the Demilitarized Zone. Khesanh could
well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there;
but the bastion no longer is a key to the rest of the northern regions, and it is doubtful that the American forces can
be defeated across the breadth of the DMZ with any substantial loss of ground. Another standoff. On the political
front, past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now
compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won't show the dynamic
qualities demanded of this young nation. Another standoff.

We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to
have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi's winter-
spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition,
and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations.
It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any
negotiations must be that -- negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever
that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. This summer's almost certain standoff will either end
in real give-and-take negotiations or terrible escalation; and for every means we have to escalate, the enemy can
match us, and that applies to invasion of the North, the use of nuclear weapons, or the mere commitment of one
hundred, or two hundred, or three hundred thousand more American troops to the battle. And with each escalation,
the world comes closer to the brink of cosmic disaster.

To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been
wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are
mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and
political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last
big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to
negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the
best they could.

This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.

Source: Reporting Vietnam: Part One: American Journalism 1959-1969 (1998), pp. 581-582.
Document G

(Phil Ochs)

I'm just a typical American boy from a typical American town
I believe in God and Senator Todd and keeping old Castro down
And when it came my time to serve I knew better dead than red
But when I got to my old draft board, buddy, this is what I said:
    Sarge, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
      And I always carry a purse
    I got eyes like a bat, my feet are flat, and my asthma's
      getting worse
    O think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old
      invalid aunt
    Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a goin' to school, and I'm
      working in a defense plant
I've got a dislocated disc and a racked up back
  I'm allergic to flowers and bugs
And when bombshells hit, I get epileptic fits
  And I'm addicted to a thousand drugs
I got the weakness woes, I can't touch my toes
  I can hardly touch my knees
And if the enemy came close to me
  I'd probably start to sneeze
I hate Chou En Lai, and I hope he dies,
  but one thing you gotta see
That someone's gotta go over there
  but that someone isn't me
So I wish you well, Sarge, give 'em Hell
  Yeah kill me a thousand or more
And if you ever get a war without blood and gore
  Well I'll be the first to go

Copyright Appleseed Music, Inc.
recorded by Pete Seeger on Dangerous Songs
Document H

                           President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address to the Nation

                             Announcing Steps To Limit the War in Vietnam and

                               Reporting His Decision Not To Seek Reelection

                                                    March 31, 1968

Good evening, my fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to speak to you of peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

No other question so preoccupies our people. No other dream so absorbs the 250 million human beings who live in
that part of the world. No other goal motivates American policy in Southeast Asia.

For years, representatives of our Government and others have traveled the world--seeking to find a basis for peace

Since last September, they have carried the offer that I made public at San Antonio. That offer was this:

That the United States would stop its bombardment of North Vietnam when that would lead promptly to productive
discussions--and that we would assume that North Vietnam would not take military advantage of our restraint.

Hanoi denounced this offer, both privately and publicly. Even while the search for peace was going on, North Vietnam
rushed their preparations for a savage assault on the people, the government, and the allies of South Vietnam.

Their attack--during the Tet holidays--failed to achieve its principal objectives.

It did not collapse the elected government of South Vietnam or shatter its army--as the Communists had hoped. It did
not produce a "general uprising" among the people of the cities as they had predicted.

The Communists were unable to maintain control of any of the more than 30 cities that they attacked. And they took
very heavy casualties.

But they did compel the South Vietnamese and their allies to move certain forces from the countryside into the cities.

They caused widespread disruption and suffering. Their attacks, and the battles that followed, made refugees of half
a million human beings………………

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes
and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my
time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of
your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.
But let men everywhere know, however, that a strong, a confident, and a vigilant America stands ready tonight to
seek an honorable peace--and stands ready tonight to defend an honored cause--whatever the price, whatever the
burden, whatever the sacrifice that duty may require.

Thank you for listening. Good night and God bless all of you.

Document I

American Deaths in Vietnam by Year.
Document J

“Onward and Upward” (1967)
Document K
Howard M. Sherpe (b. 1944) grew up in Westby and lived in Madison prior to being drafted into the army
in December, 1965. Sergeant Sherpe served as a field medic (4th Engr. Bn., 4th Inf. Div.) near Pleiku
from July, 1966, to July, 1967. Following his discharge in November, 1967, he returned to complete his
education at the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin. Sherpe currently works as a commercial
artist and lives in Madison. In this journal entry, he reflects on his participation in the war.

August 19, 1966
        I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about why it is we are here and what we're fighting
for. So far I have yet to see even one Vietnamese soldier fighting or even in the field. The only
Vietnamese I've seen fighting are on the other side and the rest of the Vietnamese around here
seem to be on their side too or helping them in one way or another. So who the hell is it that
we're supposed to be trying to help. No one seems to want our help. They all seem to be against
us, unless they want our money or a free handout....
        I guess personally, after seeing how the people live here, I'm fighting not for the people,
but for the people back in the states, so they never have to live like this, and so our kids never
have to be like this. Even the worst slums in America are better than the way most people live
here. I guess I'm fighting for the continued freedom and prosperity of America. But then when I
think about it, that doesn't make much sense either. How the hell is my being here helping
America keep its freedom? To stop the dominoes they say. Stop the Communists here or they'll
eventually take over America. That's a bunch of ... bullshit! As far as I'm concerned, unless we
quit trying to kill each other there won't be anyone left to rule the world.
        I don't think anyone wants us here. From the sound of the news we get in the Pacific Stars
and Stripes, the majority of Americans couldn't care less that we are here either. Everyone's
against us. Be that as it may, I'm stuck in this ... place now and I'm going to get in a few licks for
me and my family and we'll let the dominoes fall where they may....

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