A Quagmire of the Southeast Asian Sort.

Full map of 1951 Indochina.


  1. At first glace, what do the two maps have in common? What are some of the differences?
  2. These two maps were created roughly 20 years apart. With this information, what can we ascertain about who the intended audience for the maps are?
  3. What can these maps tell us about the scope of both the French-Indochina War and Vietnam War? Were either of these conflicts contained to their respective countries?
  4. The French-Indochina War was a war fought by Vietnamese Communists to gain independence from France after World War II. How might’ve their strongholds shown on the map above influenced the establishment of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the subsequent decades?
  5. What role do you suppose other countries shown on these maps played in both conflicts? Use specific evidence found on the maps.
  6. From these maps, are there any other conclusions we can draw about the presence of Viet Minh Communists during the French-Indochina War and the areas that were receiving arms, supplies, and personnel from North Vietnam during the U.S.’s engagement during the Vietnam War?

Featured image found on PICRYL.

3 Replies to “A Quagmire of the Southeast Asian Sort.”

  1. Kyle! Love this post, fantastic topic and the map comparison is really interesting an informative. The questions are great, I can totally see using these questions for high school students to help them understand context and progression that led to the Vietnam War. It’s like a perfectly packaged activity for a lesson, and you used the word quagmire! Well done!

  2. Kyle, the juxtaposition of maps is powerful. I like that you took the time to get them accurately overlapped. That makes the comparison more vivid. You’ve chosen an interesting pair of images – set at the heart of the post-WWII global quest for independence.

    Your guiding questions are insightful and will lead the student to a deeper understanding of the intersection of geography, politics and history.

    The original assignment asked for three “closer look” examples. You can go back to expand this post accordingly.

  3. First off, nice job using the map comparison! That was one trick I wasn’t particularly confident tackling. As for the topic, I think it was really interesting. One of the important things that needs to be reinforced in school, is that wars don’t just magically start over night. People don’t just wake up and decide to fight for a decade. It’s something that brews for years, or even decades, before finally culminating in what we would consider a war. I think this post really highlights this. Well done!

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