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POL 406 Seminar: Conflict in Viet Nam, 1940-1975 (3 credits)

Involvement in the Vietnamese conflicts divided the American people more sharply than any other issue since before Pearl Harbor. The causes, events, meaning and consequences of that involvement continue to be deeply controversial both within academia and in national political life. Our examination of these struggles will lead us to confront many of the most fundamental questions of politics. Our perspective will be an unusual one: we will examine these conflicts as events that took place in Viet Nam, conflicts in which many other countries, including the United States, became involved. This contrasts with the usual presentation of the Viet Nam conflicts as things that "happened" to the U.S. or even inside the Beltway. We shall pay especially close attention to the conflict between the French and their Vietnamese allies on one hand, and the Communist-led Viet Minh on the other; the causes and consequences of the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem; the meaning of the Tet Offensive of 1968; and the cutoff of US aid to South Viet Nam after 1973.

Prerequisite: POL 341, 342, 343, 344, 354, OR 363.