Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Vietnam War (Part 1)
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Document Analysis One - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Semester Assessment Document Analysis Two - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Semester Assessment Written Essay - 1 x 2,500 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment (resit) Document Analysis One - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Supplementary Assessment (resit) Document Analysis Two - 1 x 1,500 words  25%
Supplementary Assessment (resit) Written Essay - 1 x 2,500 words  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of a substantial body of historical knowledge in the field of US foreign policy and international history.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of key debates in the political, diplomatic and military history of the Vietnam War.
3. Read, analyse and reflect critically on selected secondary and primary texts and consider these texts as evidence for the historian of the Vietnam War.
4. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of particular historical arguments and where necessary challenge them.


The Vietnam War was of enormous significance in US history in the 20th century, and as a major international conflict it impacted the lives of many millions of individuals in Indochina, the United States and the wider world. There is an extremely voluminous primary source base, much of which is very easily accessible to undergraduates, and there is also a rich secondary literature.

Brief description

This first module (of two linked special subject modules) concentrates upon the political and military aspects of the Vietnam War, and will focus upon historiographically contested questions such as when, and on what basis, were key decisions taken to expand the US commitment to South Vietnam, the nature of the relationship between Washington and Saigon, and between the US army and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and whether alternative military strategies might have produced a different result.


1. French colonialism and the First Indochina War
2. Eisenhower’s Vietnam: 'Trapped by success'?
3. The Kennedy years
4. 'Lyndon Johnson’s War'
5. 'Peoples Quite Apart': The South Vietnamese
6. The enemy: North Vietnam and its allies
7. US allies
8. The anti-war movement and the 1968 Election
9. Nixon's Vietnam
10. Military strategy

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but will not be formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop their understanding of a key topic in US foreign policy history and 20th century international history. Students will develop their understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of historical document (such as memoir, official publications, news reports etc.) for the study of this topic.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6