HST 404/504 U.S. and the Vietnam War

Spring 2006                                                                            Classroom: NICCOL 301

                                                                                                Time: MWF 9:30-10:20
Instructor: Dr. Pingchao Zhu
Office: Rm315 Administration Building
Office Phone: 885-7166 or 885-2563
Office Hours: MWF 12:30-1:30pm, or by appointment
Email: pzhu@uidaho.edu
Website: www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~pzhu

Course Description

For the Americans, Vietnam was only the war.  But for the Vietnamese, it is their country.  This course
is not just about America’s war in Vietnam.  It is, as Loren Baritz puts it, about “how American culture
led us into
Vietnam and made us fight the way we did.”  It is about the study of two different cultures, which came into contact, not only before and during but also after the Vietnam War.  With this in mind,
the course has several goals: to study the cultural traditions of both American and Vietnamese societies
and how they affected the way of war on both sides; to examine policymaking process of both Washington
and the North Vietnamese leadership regarding military campaign strategies and peace negotiations, to
analyze how the war has changed both America and Vietnam, to learn major theories and recent scholarship debating U.S. involvement in the war, to discuss how veterans and civilians in both countries cope with
war and try to understand each other, and to explore postwar Vietnam in terms of political and economic transformation. 

Our primary mission in this course is to “Reinterpret the Vietnam War” through individual understanding
and scholarship discussion, and through identifying major problems in the war, postwar development in
and the U.S., and important lessons we have learned. 


1. Loren Baritz, Backfire, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.  ISBN: 0801859530

2. Karen Gottschange Turner with Phan Thanh Hao, Even Women Must Fight: Memories of War
North Vietnam, Wiley, New edition, 1999.  ISBN: 047132239

3. Aimee Phan, We Should Never Meet, Picador/St. Martin's Press, 2004. ISBN: 0312322674

Course Requirements

1. One mid-term examination                                     130
2. One final examination                                             130
3. One term paper                                                        130
4. Attendance & participation                                      60
5. Aimee Phan’s Lecture & response paper               50

Information on Assignments

1. Examinations include identifications and essays.  Questions are mainly from the lectures and assigned readings.  Mid-term and final examinations are not cumulative. 

2. Term paper is based on a main themes and the discussion on Turner's book.  The paper requires students to analyze the stories in Turner’s book, to present the experience of the North Vietnamese women in war, and the postwar effect on both Vietnam and the US.  The paper should not be written just as a book review.  Please include the following aspects in your paper:  
    --Mentality of the North Vietnamese soldiers in the war? What were they fighting for?  What was Vietnamese women’s role in war and in postwar Vietnam, according to Turner’s book? Describe a normal day for a NV woman in the war.
    --What traditions in Vietnamese culture (family values, women’s role, manhood, etc.) did you learn from this book?  What are so different in NV women in war from the US way of war?  Explain, according to your personal understanding, why the NV women acted the way they did, and for what reasons? 

The paper should be typed, double spaced, and between 5-7 pages in length. 

3. Professor Aimee Phan’s Guest Lecture
schedule is on Apr. 14, Friday.  We hope to accommodate Professor Phan’s teaching schedule in the English Department at Washington State University.  The lecture will be a public event on campus.  It focuses on her research of the book and on the issue of Amerasian children as part of the Vietnam War legacy for both Vietnam and the United States.  
Students are also required to write a two-page long response paper to Professor Phan's lecture and her book, We Should Never Meet.   The paper is due the week after the lecture event.  Absence from the guess lecture will reduce your total grade for this assignment.

Late paper without advanced permission from the instructor will result in 10 points deduction per day delayed.  

5. Granted absence from class attendance requires official document from departments (including
ROTC units, Athletic department, field trip, etc.) or instructors concerned to show the dates needed to be missed and reason of absence for school related activities only. 

Grade Scale
        A=500-450       B=449-400       C=399-350       D=349-300       F=299 and below
Graduate Students must see the instructor to get separate graduate assignments. 

Academic Honesty

This instructor requires the entire class to follow the Policy of Academic Honesty from the University of Idaho.  Attached to the course syllabus is a copy of the UI policy on Academic Honesty.  Finding of violation of this policy in student’s course assignment will result in “0” grade for the assignment, and possibly an “F” for the course.  Please read the policy carefully and follow it to the letter.  The instructor will not negotiate this university policy in any way.  Please refer to the UI Policy of Academic Honesty attached at the end of the syllabus.

Course Schedule

Week 1         Jan. 11-13 (class begins on Wed.)
                       Introduction to the course
                         Vietnam in early history
                         Culture & traditions

Week 2        Jan. 18-20 (No Class on Monday, Holiday)
                      Vietnam against Colonialism
                        The French Indochina
                        Ho Chi Minh & Vietnamese Nationalism
                        The Viet Minh
                        Reading: Baritz: pp. 1-16; Turner, chpts. 1

Week 3        Jan. 23-27
                    U.S. Postwar Asian Policy
                        America’s South Vietnam
                        Eisenhower & Domino theory
                        Reading: Baritz: chapt. 1; Turner, chpt. 2

Week 4        Jan. 30-Feb. 3
                      Vietnam and the Cold War
                        Kennedy’s strategies
                        NLF & VC
                        Credibility & Quagmire theories
                        Reading: Baritz: chpt. 2, Turner, chpt. 3

Week 5        Feb. 6-10
                        Gun & Butter
                        LBJ’s “Great Society” program
                        The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
                        Reading: Baritz; pp. 128-171; Phan, chpt. 1; Turner, chpt. 4

Week 6        Feb. 13-17                     
                    War Psychology

                        Conventional vs. guerrilla warfare   
                        Ho Chi Minh Trail
                        Reading: Phan, chpt. 2; Turner, chpt. 5

<>Week 7        Feb. 22- 24 (No Class on Feb. 20, President Day)
                        The Tet Offensive
                        Reevaluate US strategy
                        Reading: Baritz: pp. 171-187; Phan, chpt. 3; Turner, chpt. 6

Week 8        Feb. 27- Mar. 3
                        Home Front, USA
                        Anti-war movement
                        Counter-culture trend
                        Reading: Baritz: pp. 233-250, Phan, chpt. 4, Turner, chpt. 7            

 Week 9        Mar. 6-10                      
Home Front,
                         Reading: Baritz: 250-281, Phan, chpt. 5, Turner, chpt. 8                      
                         **Mid-term Exam on Wednesday

Week 10       Mar. 13-17, Spring Recess, No Class

Week 11      Mar. 20-24
                        Invasion of Cambodia
                        Madman’s theory
                        Reading: Baritz: pp. 188-213, Phan, chpt. 6; Turner, chpt. 9

Week 12      Mar. 27-31
                      “Peace with Honor”
                        Peace talks
                        China & Soviet factors
                        Reading: Baritz, pp. 213-230, Phan, chpt. 7; Turner, chpt. 10

Week 13      Apr. 3-7
                      The End of the War
                        U.S. withdrawal
                        The fall of Saigon
                        Reading: Baritz, pp. 282-293, Phan, chpt. 8
                        **Term Paper due on Friday

Week 14       Apr. 10-14
                        Casualties of War
                        My Lai
                        “We Should Never Meet”
                        Reading: Baritz, pp. 293-320,
                        **Prof. Phan's lecture on Friday

Week 15       Apr. 17-21
                       Reporting Vietnam
                         Role of the Media
                         Literature & movies
                         Reading: Baritz, pp. 321-334
                   **Response paper to Phan's book & lecture due on Friday

Week 16       Apr. 24-28
                       Remembering the Vietnam War
                         The Memorial
                         Veterans of both sides
                         Reading: Baritz, pp. 334-350

Week 17       May 1-5
                         Vietnam under Communism
                         U.S. Vietnam policy

Final Examination: 10:0012:00, May 9, Tuesday

**The instructor reserves the right to change this schedule if necessary. 

University of Idaho

Student Code of Conduct


1.  Cheating on classroom or outside assignments, examinations, or tests is a violation of
this code.  Plagiarism, falsification of academic records, and the acquisition or use of test
materials without faculty authorization are considered forms of academic dishonesty and,
as such, are violations of this code.  Because academic honesty and integrity are core
values at a university, the faculty finds that even one incident of academic dishonesty
seriously and critically endangers the essential operation of the university and may merit
expulsion.  [rev. 7-98]

2.  The operation of UI requires the accuracy and protection of its records and documents. 
To use, make, forge, print, reproduce, copy, alter, remove, or destroy any record, document,
or identification used or maintained by UI violates this code when done with intent to defraud
or misinform.  Entrance without proper authority into any private office or space of a member
of the faculty, staff, or student body is a violation of this code.

3.  Instructors and students are responsible for maintaining academic standards and
integrity in their classes.  Consequences for academic dishonesty may be imposed by the
course instructor.  Such consequences may include but cannot exceed a grade of “F” in the
course.  The instructor should attempt to notify the student of the suspected academic
dishonesty and give the student an opportunity to respond.  The notice and the opportunity
may be informal and need not be in writing. Penalties for any disciplinary infraction
must be judicially imposed.  [See 1640.02 C-5[rev. 7-98]

4. Instructors may report incidents of academic dishonesty to the dean of students.  Upon
receiving such a report, the dean of students shall provide the student with written notice
that a report has been made and an opportunity to meet with the dean to discuss the report. 
The dean of students shall maintain the report and any record of the meeting for a period
of time deemed appropriate by the dean.  The dean of students may file a complaint against
the student after the meeting has taken place or the student has elected, either affirmatively
or through inaction, not to meet with the dean.  [add. 7-98]