Module Identifier IP31920  
Module Title THE VIETNAM WAR  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Martin S Alexander  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   16 Hours (16 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours (5 x 90 mins)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,500 words  40%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

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

- Discuss the origins of US intervention in Vietnam
- Describe the multifaceted and multi-national dimensions of the Vietnam War
- Identify military and pacification strategies of the USA/South Vietnam on one side, and North Vietnam/the Viet Cong on the other
- Discuss critically the Vietnam War''s main military operations and tactics
- Analyse the nature of US anti-war protest and assess its impact on US conduct of the war
- Evaluate critically the legacies of defeat in Vietnam for post-1975 US foreign and military policy

Brief description

This module will give students the opportunity to examine international and US domestic political-cum-ideological reasons for involvement in war in Vietnam from c. 1954 to 1975.


The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity for an in-depth study of military and historiographical issues related to the Vietnam War.


Attention will be paid to the French defeat in Indochina in 1954 and origins of the US involvement in Vietnam, students then moving on to focus closely on the major military strategies, operations and tactics of the Vietnam War, as well as debates in the historiography concerning the most persuasive explanation(s) for the eventual defeat of the USA and its ally, the Republic of Vietnam, by 1975. The nature and political impact of the USA press and television coverage of the conflict will be examined and students will be asked to consider the effect of anti-war protests on American public opinion and US policymakers. The module will conclude with an assessment of the legacies of America's defeat in Vietnam for post-1975 US foreign policy and strategic posture.

Transferable skills

On completion of this module, students will have demonstrated:

- ability to marshall arguments, supported by historical evidence, orally and on paper in both succinct summary format (single-page bullet-point presentations) and in extended form (an essay)
- IT capacity required to word-process, and disseminate as e-mail attachments, bullet-point presentation summaries
- practice of skills at answering questions deploying evidence in support of argument under strict time pressure (in the examination)

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

Preliminary Readings
Gerard J DeGroot (2000) A Noble Cause? America and the Vietnam War Pearson
Larry H Addington (2000) America's War in Vietnam. A Short Narrative History Indiana University Press
Mark Clodfelter (1989) The Limits of Air Power. The American Bombing of North Vietnam Free Prss


This module is at CQFW Level 6