Views of Vietnam

Source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8376/8525983904_2377fabcd0_b.jpg

By Felicia Teba

Target Students: 8th grade US History

Skills: Sourcing and Contextualization

Topic: The Vietnam War

Essential Question: How did the various  aspects of the war in Vietnam impact opinions on the war?

Description: The questions in this set of documents help students to understand that war doesn’t just impact a nation, but that it impacts individuals, and the Vietnam War was one of the most contentious.


Source 1: A Letter Home

August 27, 1967

Dear all,

Surprise! Charlton Heston visited our company for a few minutes, and I shook hands with him! He looked like an old farmer the way he was dressed in old drab green jungle fatigues. He said “almost everybody is backing us over here” and “I’d like a beer.”

Can’t think of anything else to say. The new library opened up– air conditioned and quiet.

Well, cheerio

Rick

Source: Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, edited by Bernard Edelman, p.158.

Questions

  1. Why do you think Rick wrote this letter?
  2. Who is Charlton Heston, and why was he visiting Rick’s company?
  3. Who do you think Rick was writing to in this letter?
  4. What do you think the war was like at this point in 1967?
  5. Did Rick write his letter before or after the Tet offensive? Would that have impacted what he wrote about?

Source 2 & 3: Different Views of Support

Protestors_carrying_an_American_flag_at_a_rally_on_the_University_of_Washington_campus_May_7_1970
Protestors carrying an American flag at a rally on the University of Washington campus May 7 1970

 

Richard M. Nixon shaking hands with armed forces in Vietnam 1969
Richard M. Nixon shaking hands with armed forces in Vietnam 1969

Protestors carrying an American flag at a rally on the University of Washington campus, May 7, 1970  Source
Richard M. Nixon shaking hands with armed forces in Vietnam 1969 Source

Questions

  1. Who is in this picture?
  2. What is going on?
  3. Digging Deeper Questions
  4. Why would it be important to take a picture like this?
  5. What audience would like this picture? Which audience would dislike this picture?
  6. On the picture on the right, why is the American flag upside down?

Source 4: “A Day in Vietnam”

Questions

  1. Who do you think made this video?
  2. Who is the audience?
  3. Why was this video made?
  4. What reason could there be for a video like this?
  5. If you were an American civilian at this time, how might this video impact your opinion of the war?

Reflections: In this assignment, I think I could have done better at providing a context for when I would teach these particular unit. To use this lesson, I would add a lecture that gives background to each of the sources, so that students are not left confuse about what I am asking them to look for. With this lesson, I think it would also be good to stick with just one type of source, like just soldiers letters, so that my set of sources is not too broad.

 

1 thought on “Views of Vietnam”

  1. Felicia, I do think you would have to certainly have to teach the lesson with proper background and preparation as you discussed in your presentation. Overall, I think it is a very good presentation and the video was meaningful.

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