HIST 361

United States and the War in Vietnam

This course investigates American involvement in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. The course focuses on the years of the Second Indochina War (1954-1975), with particular attention to the meaning and experience of American involvement for Americans. At the same time, the course places these core subjects in the context of a larger history, including the history of Southeast Asia before and after US involvement there and the legacies of the war for the United States and its citizens. Some of the issues the course explores include: Why did the United States first get involved in Vietnam? What led to the expansion of American involvement? Who were the nation's allies? Enemies? What motivated them in their struggles? What motivated Americans who supported the war? What motivated those who opposed it? What were the experiences of the men and women who served in Vietnam? What is PTSD and why has it been such a serious problem for some veterans of this war? Why did the United States withdraw from the war? What were the broader geo-political consequences of American involvement? Withdrawl? How does the war affect the United States today? The course also explores closely the role of values in shaping this war, as well as the clashes between values that were both causes and consequences of the war. Includes a substantial research paper.