History paper Vietnam

lx450landcruiser

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Ok I know this is kind of a weird request but I know many of you on here know far more about the Vietnam war then I will even know. Im trying to explore and assess the Vietnam war so that it shows the meaning of democracy, justice, and equality. Im basically examining and critically analyzing the war to determine where these principals have been challenged. Im not very familier with major offensives or anything of that sort as this paper is very early on in the making but i would aprecitate any feed back you might have.


thanks
mike
 
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"Son, all I've ever asked of my Marines is for them to obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese because inside every gook, there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've got to try to keep our heads until this peace craze blows over."

- Full Metal Jacket
 

krzyabncanuck

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My first Platoon SGT was a Nam Vet when I came in the Army in 85. The best place to go and talk to some one about the Nam is your local VFW or American Legion. I belong to both by the way.
 
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Could you clarify the purpose of your paper? Are you attempting to support a thesis that the war promoted democracy, justice and equality? Good luck. :)
 
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The Fog of War has some interesting parts about Vietnam in it, and WWII. It's a documentary with Robert McNamara who was the secretary of war for most of Vietnam.
 

dieseldog

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Google the names Jeremiah Denton, Robinson Risner, John McCain, Lance Sijan, Ronald Bliss and scores more of brave men who served under "difficult" conditions as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. Books have been written on their experiences and one would be well-served to examine some of them. One book I recall is titled Into the Mouth of the Cat, which details the incredible story of Congressional Medal of Honor winner Lance Sijan.

Naval Academy graduate Brigadier General Robby Risner was a fighter pilot (and Ace) who flew combat missions in WWII, Korea, & Vietnam. He was brought down twice in Vietnam--the last being in Nov. 1965. He spent over seven years in Hanoi.

Air Force Academy graduate Lance Sijan carried his indominitable spirit into his service in Vietnam. Repeated escapes and attempts eventually cost him his life as he refused to submit to captivity.

Air Force Academy graduate Ronald Bliss was a Wild Weasel Thud-driver who was shot down over the the North and spent over six years as a POW. After his return from Vietnam, he conquered law school at Baylor in 27 months and became a partner with Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in Houston, TX. I first met him in August 1990 when I moved to Houston. I spent my last two years of law school as a law clerk under Ron and can never repay the confidence he showed in me--hiring me sight unseen when he knew there was a grad in need. To me he was larger than life, and he lived his with gusto and a joy that few of us can ever know. Ron passed away on 02/08/05 after a long battle with cancer.

Whenever I think life is tough or has dealt me the dirty-end of the stick, I think of men such as these and then continue to march. Oh, and Jane Fonda still sucks.
 

Shahram

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lx450landcruiser said:
Im trying to explore and assess the Vietnam war so that it shows the meaning of democracy, justice, and equality. Im basically examining and critically analyzing the war to determine where these principals have been challenged. Im not very familier with major offensives or anything of that sort as this paper is very early on in the making but i would aprecitate any feed back you might have.
No offense, friend, but in terms of the scope of your topic, what you're attempting to do is the literary equivalent of sitting down and eating a herd of cattle.
Literally thousands of books have been published on the subject. To attempt to "assess Vietnam" in some grand sense is impossible, especially in the amount of paper you're willing to write. People, lots of people, have spent their entire careers focused on the subject. You'll never be able to whittle your thesis down to anything less than incohesive, vague assertions and stale rhetoric.
Either way, your paper won't be anything more than dribble.
Instead of concentrating on the entire herd, why not find a good looking cow and cut yourself out a nice, juicy little piece of steak. Find a dynamic event or character involved in the War. Remember to cut off a tiny piece.
Example: don't start off with the Tet Offensive. Start off with some important commander in the Tet Offensive, analyze something he has written about his experience and go from there. Just analyze a few pages, get the meat of the narrative, and explore the piece from some stance. Find the historical, political, biographical, and philosophical reasons that motivated not the event, but what motivated this one particular aspect of the event.
Another example: you couldn't write a paper that coherently analyzed Robert McNamara's involvement in the Kennedy and LBJ administrations. Book after book have been written about the man, including a best-selling autobiography. But to analyze McNamara's involvement in early US foreign policy that led to key events, to analyze one aspect of that, say an autobiographical analysis of what led Robert McNamara to change his mind about the domino theory or a negotiated solution in Vietnam, that is probably something you could intelligently explore in the scope of a paper. Hell, you may even be able to argue both sides of the story, that other players in the White House responded to Vietnam as an act of aggression instead of a civil war, and the tumult that this caused within the Administration left the military with its hands tied, without proper leadership. You may be able to fit that into less than a hundred pages if you really pared it down and edited it down to just the meat.

From my own writing experiences, one of the best pieces of advice I could give you is that it is best to say something succinct and poignant. Don't think cow--think ribeye.

Hope that helps.

PS--Also remember to keep an open mind, read carefully, and don't assume s***. Don't even make uyp your mind until you're really really sure of your assertions. There's a good chance that your professor kows something about the subject. Back your arguments with fact; avoid grandstanding and platitudes like the plague. Don't use the words "conservative" or "liberal", unless you really, really have to. Speak in facts, and come prepared, or he or she is gonna rip you a well-deserved new a****** in front of your classmates. Get a good grade, but much more importantly, learn something that you didn't know before. There is nothing more satisfying in this world than shutting down the ignorant.

Wow...you'd think I'd learn to shut up once in a while. Talk about needing an editor...sheesh. :doh:
 

Onur

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Here are a few books to start you off:

F. Fitzgerald: "Fire in the Lake"

NY Times: "The Pentagon Papers"

N. Sheehan: "A Bright Shining Lie"

D. Halberstam: "The Best and the Brightest"

The McNamara movie is really good too--though for a paper, I would stay away from movies and concentrate on primary and secondary sources--movies are tertiary.

-o-
 

HZJ60 Guy

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I didnt serve in Vietnam, I was to young, but I served five years in the Army with W3 and W4 warrent officers who had multiple tours in country. Some commisioned officers too. You have a big task ahead of you. There have been some good points written here. If this for school, I hate to say it but watch yourself. If you present a paper that is in anyway pro South Vietnam or pro the real reason we were there you are going to catch HELL from your liberal anti war prof!!!

I dont need to debate this, the odds are so in my favor this will happen as to not even be worth an argument.

TB
 

Onur

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the real reason we were there
Which was what??

you are going to catch HELL from your liberal anti war prof!!!
How do you back this up? Where are your stats. for this fact?

I dont need to debate this, the odds are so in my favor this will happen as to not even be worth an argument.
So we're just supposed to believe you? :rolleyes:

Best.
-onur
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krzyabncanuck said:
My first Platoon SGT was a Nam Vet when I came in the Army in 85. The best place to go and talk to some one about the Nam is your local VFW or American Legion. I belong to both by the way.
I know very few combat vets that will talk about Vietnam,unless they've had a few drinks!!! I don't think I've ever talked about 'details' to anyone,except another vet.
 
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beno said:
HZJ60 Guy said:
the real reason we were there
Which was what??
Protecting U.S. interests. Defending the South Vietnamese from Communism incursion from the north, aided by China and Russia. They were a pawn in a world power struggle. We checked against the Communists. Like it or not, these were a few of the reasons.



beno said:
HZJ60 Guy said:
you are going to catch HELL from your liberal anti war prof!!!

How do you back this up? Where are your stats. for this fact?


Beno, did you ever attend college? If so, where? It's common knowledge that many professors were, and are now, heavily anti-war, especially concerning Vietnam. Two professors that I had in the U.C. Davis Anthro Department were Ph.D's from Stanford, and were both self-avowed Socialists and openly practiced and taught subversion towards, and encouraged undermining of, the United States Government. The rest of the professors were just good old fashioned liberals who hated the U.S. Government in general. These plain old fashioned liberals were liberal to the extent of being as extreme left wing as the KKK is extreme right wing. Mention Reagen as a hero and you're sure to get an F grade on your midterm and a lecture in the Prof's office afterwards. Open thought was encouraged as long as it fit their agenda. Those who challenged their educated opinions saw it reflected in the GPA.
Don't be ignorant. You're a smart guy. Statistics and studies have shown that U.S. college professors are largely liberal, vote for socialist oriented policies, are against war and aggression even in defensive situations, and tend to attempt instilling these philosophies upon their students and assistants. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall. :rolleyes:



beno said:
HZJ60 Guy said:
I dont need to debate this, the odds are so in my favor this will happen as to not even be worth an argument.

So we're just supposed to believe you?


Yes. If you don't, ask around. Do some research. Go to university department websites, look at the faculty and read their research directives and published works. You will find little promoting protection for the South Vietnamese and their plight with the incursion of Communism from the north. You will however find plenty against them. You'll see the same today regarding the war against terror/Iraq/Afghanistan. Make your own judgements in those conflicts. I'm only pointing out that the universities are dealing in a world of Idealistic Philosophy and miss out greatly in the World we call Reality.

Statistics? I've got your statistics! You can do further research on these quotes, but they are readliy documented and quoted from multiple sources in this article.


"Evidence of the atypical uniformity of American universities grows by the week. The Centre for Responsive Politics notes that this year two universities—the University of California and Harvard—occupied first and second place in the list of donations to the Kerry campaign by employee groups, ahead of Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft et al. Employees at both universities gave 19 times as much to John Kerry as to George Bush. Meanwhile, a new national survey of more than 1,000 academics by Daniel Klein, of Santa Clara University, shows that Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. And things are likely to get less balanced, because younger professors are more liberal. For instance, at Berkeley and Stanford, where Democrats overall outnumber Republicans by a mere nine to one, the ratio rises above 30 to one among assistant and associate professors. "(The Economist)


"For instance, nearly half said that their professors "frequently comment on politics in class even though it has nothing to do with the course" or use the classroom to present their personal political views. In answers to other questions, the majority acknowledged that liberal views predominate. Most troubling, however, were the responses to the survey item "On my campus, there are courses in which students feel they have to agree with the professor's political or social views in order to get a good grade"--29% agreed." (Opinion Journal)

http://www.professorbainbridge.com/2004/12/the_great_deser.html

Why do I bring up these points? You asked for them, and we don't want lx450landcruiser to get screwed on his grade because of a viewpoint that he's legally entitled to, but will possibly be denied. In the last quote, 29% agreed that a differing viewpoint would affect their grade. Been there, done that. That statistic should be 0%. Nobody should have to feel threatened to alter their views, just because a grade based on a well thought out opinion, has a opposing view by the grading professor. The professor is paid to teach his course material, not indoctrinate students with personal political philosophies and political viewpoints outside of the course cirriculum.
 
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In general I feel you are right on, White Shark, but when you start using opinion polls as scientific evidence, you get into a gray area with me. For instance, 29% of students answering a poll thinking they have to agree with the professor to get good grades constitutes proof of absolutely nothing, in my mind.

A recent news item http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20050521-1503-bush-religion.html relates Mr. Bush's visit to Calvin College in Michigan. About a third of the faculty signed an open petition opposing Mr. Bush in his middle eastern adventurism, saying that promulgating his war policies is not "what we as Christians are called to do".

Now, is this proof of what you say? That colleges are full of antiwar liberal professors and faculty? Or is it proof that fundamentalist Christians are actually antiwar liberals? Or does it actually prove that Bush's adventurism is actually anti-Christian anti-conservative liberalistic and parallels exactly the adventurism of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations?

And what about the majority?

I think it shows that opinion polls are not scientific, are not to be trusted, and that they don't prove a thing, and that Mike should do what Shahram said before and pick a limited topic, then write well and not worry about the professor's political views. :)
 
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I'm not trying to make judgements based on opinion. I'm just showing that many students feel that grades depend on agreeing with the instructor's viewpoint. You can't disagree with that.
The hard facts state that liberal viewpoints dominate public and most private schools. Many schools will not fit that mold, i.e. Harvey Mudd, BYU, Calvin College, etc., but they are statistical outliers.
The statistical majority of schools have liberal faculties (especially in liberal arts, social sciences, and arts) many of whom air their political viewpoints to the extent of affecting student grades. Do conservative professors do the same? Sure, but the statistics say that liberal professors greatly far outnumber conservative professors, thus supporting our (Dieseldog and My own) argument regarding students airing conservative views around potentially liberal professors. Especially around those professor's who have a dim view on:
1.) conservative viewpoints
2.) those who risk airing their conservative viewpoints in public
3.) those who dare to be held in "contempt of professor" by challenging the sanctimonious, quasi-religious philosophy and tenured professorial entitlements found in the classroom

I agree that this issue is a difficult one to prove, but the statistic regarding the imbalance of liberal to conservative representation does exist. It would be wise to take that into consideration before airing political commentary as it could affect one's grade in a negative manner. With the imbalance weighing heavily on the liberal side, that would show that lx450 would be wise to consider this when weighing his options regarding paper topic, viewpoints, and conclusion. Pretty basic, I'd say. Once again, not rocket science, just plain old common sense. Better safe than sorry.
 
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Lx450, if you want specific info, you need to tell us exactly what the professor wants. What is the exact topic in regards to Vietnam? Foreign policy? Economy? U.S. versus Communist influence? You need to focus on one particular problem and address that issue with viewpoints to back the argument you are trying to pose. You will find few subjects, that have as many opinions as the Vietnam War. Remember that opinions are like A-holes. Everyone has one.
If you present a sound, rational, fairly factual and unopinionated article, using good references and politically neutral source materials, you will likely come out with a good grade regardless of the professor's personal views. They may diasagree, but if you avoid inflammatory statements and pose a sound argument and back it up, they will respect your efforts even if they disagree with the content. Good luck.
 
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HZJ60 Guy said:
I didnt serve in Vietnam, I was to young, but I served five years in the Army with W3 and W4 warrent officers who had multiple tours in country. Some commisioned officers too. You have a big task ahead of you. There have been some good points written here. If this for school, I hate to say it but watch yourself. If you present a paper that is in anyway pro South Vietnam or pro the real reason we were there you are going to catch HELL from your liberal anti war prof!!!

I dont need to debate this, the odds are so in my favor this will happen as to not even be worth an argument.

TB
Most of my profressors (and I go to a VERY liberal school) don't want people to just read, regurgitate and agree with them. They enjoy reading essays that oppose their viewpoints. If you're at a university or college that is worth a s***, they will be more pleased that you are showing independant thought than just being a yes man.

History teachers are famous for it. History is never static-- as new facts come to light, history professors love debating them, and discussing what they mean in the grander scheme of things. Ask me how I know. (hint: History Degree from Univeristy of Michigan and University of California) I can't tell you how many times I got a paper back saying "I don't necessarily agree with you on some of your hypotheses, but you do bring up some interesting facts and have shown remarkable skill in making your argument. A+"

And not all profs are liberal. One of mine has "Dumbya '04" and NRA stickers all over the back of his gas hog Expedition that he parks next to the "Womyn's [sic] Studies" professor's Honda Insight.

Steve
 
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Ever seen "Apocalyse Now: Redux?" There is a scene in there that was not in the original cut-- the French Platation Scene. IN that scene, the French platation managers complain about Dien Ben Phu, and how the Viet Minh (the precursor to the Viet Cong) were trained by, and assisted by, none other than the United States Marine Corps.

The French performed risk analysis studies on all of their colonies and holdings. The French determined that, as soon as the Viet Minh got their hands on heavy artillery, that the cost of keeping the place as a colony would be more expensive than if they just bought their rubber from somewhere else.

At Dien Ben Phu, the Viet Minh got their hands on some French 75s-- a 75 mm artilley piece, and managed to shell the French Foreign Legion outpost at Dien Ben Phu-- which was nothing more than a crossroads the Legion protected to keep the rubber getting to port smoothly.

The French asked Eisenhower to send a nearby aircraft carrier to provide close air support to the Legionaires.... Eisenhower was considering doing it until he learned that he'd be bombing USMC advisors along with the Viet Minh. Ike was pissed that nobody told him there were Marines fighting the FFL in French Indochina....

Anyway, lots of History professors love that story, and just love it when a student manages to dig it up out of the remains of the so-called "History" we teach in High Schools...

It's a good topic-- not sure if you can wrap it to fit your topic though.

As an interesting side note, when my prof at University of Michigan discussed this in class he said "........the Viet Minh managed to get their hands on some old French 75s. can anyone tell me what a French 75 is?"

I put my hand up and said "1 ounce of gin, 4 ounces of champagne and a teaspoon of powdered sugar?" The professor could barely contain himself and announced to the class that I was the "only one in here getting an A this semester." I then told Him it was also a 75 millimeter artillery piece, and once he was finished laughing, we continued on in the lecture.

Steve
 

krzyabncanuck

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Mountainman , That is why I said go to the VFW and talk to some of them, they will be drunk , trust me. And from there you can get an idea of either a certain mission you want to write about or you can get a bunch of views of people that were there in the trenches.

And YES HANOI JANE is a B***H from you know where.
 
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White Shark said:
I'm not trying to make judgements based on opinion. I'm just showing that many students feel that grades depend on agreeing with the instructor's viewpoint. You can't disagree with that.
I can! :grinpimp:

The proportion you mention who feel this way is a distinct minority. They might feel that way because they are lousy students (a certain proportion are) and then rather than accept they deserve poor grades, they blame the professors' presumed political views. Or maybe they think it, but are just wrong (that's been known to happen!). Both are alternative explanations for that statistic. While I would be the last to say that political prejudice never happens in the classroom, I would be cautious about saying it is common.

As far as using Kerry vs. Bush political contributions as a measure of liberal thinking among university faculty, American Conservative Magazine rated Kerry as the more truly conservative in his policies than Bush. So maybe university faculty is just better at discerning a liberal from a conservative than what common knowledge would have us believe.

Just an alternative viewpoint. :)
 
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PolterGeist said:
Ever seen "Apocalyse Now: Redux?" There is a scene in there that was not in the original cut-- the French Platation Scene. IN that scene, the French platation managers complain about Dien Ben Phu, and how the Viet Minh (the precursor to the Viet Cong) were trained by, and assisted by, none other than the United States Marine Corps.... .

Steve
Reminds me of a paper I wrote at UC Santa Cruz (in another incarnation) comparing Apocalypse Now to Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad's story upon which the movie is based). It was for a history class titled, more or less, "Vietnam Interpreted by Popular Culture" and studied such things as protest songs (obvious ones like Fortunate Son, ...Fixin' to Die Rag, Sky Pilot, Ohio but also a bunch of others my generation - born 1964 - didn't even recognize as protest songs until the lyrics were explained).

I learned a lot from my professors who served in Vietnam.

No real message here, other than to point out that Vietnam discussions, like many important ones, invariably sound like blindfolded people describing an elephant by feel, where everyone is touching a different part.

I also consider myself lucky to be able to talk/write/think about it objectively when so many others were affected personally. Again, oldest child, born in 1964.

David
 
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