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America and Vietnam


Admission requirements

Students must have passed both BA werkcolleges.


America’s thirty-year involvement in Vietnam failed to prevent the unification of that country under Communist leadership. This seminar examines the course of America’s intervention in Vietnam under Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Students will analyze the foreign policy background as well as the military and political aspects of the war. Other topics include the role of the news media in reporting the war and the influence of the peace movement in opposing it. Documentary sources will be used throughout. Film and literary sources will provide additional insights.

Course objectives

The student will gain insight and knowledge into:

  • The relationship between the United States and the rest of the world

  • The concept of “American exceptionalism,” especially as it relates to foreign policy

  • How foreign policy is formed, and the relationshio between foreign policy and public opinion

The course will sharpen the student’s ability:

  • To employ both traditional (print, film) and modern (digital) sources

  • To formulate and clearly express logical arguments in English (seminar paper/essay) and (optional) Dutch (essay).

  • To reflect critically upon the relationship between differing interpretations of te Vietnam War and ethical/political values (historical relativism)

  • To understand the contemporary relevance of the subject matter, especially as it relates to American foreign policy.


See timetable History.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load: 280 hours

Compulsory class attendance: 28
Compulsory weekly reading: 140
Research and writing of essay : 60
Preparation of seminar presentation: 32

Assessment method

Class attendance: compulsory
Participation in discussion: compulsory
Essay (approx. 7.000 words): 75%
Seminar presentation: 25%


Yes. Contains syllabus, articles, documents, and links to websites.

Reading list

Students must buy the following books before the start of classes.

  • Michael Hunt, A Vietnam War Reader (2010)

  • Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (1992)

  • Michael Lind, Vietnam: The Necessary War (1999)


Via uSis

Contact information

Email: dr. G.C. Quispel.