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Major Battles & Offensives of the Vietnam War: Learning Objectives & Activities

Instructor: Jessica Lyons
This chapter will teach about the major battles that took place during the Vietnam War. You can use the key questions and learning activities to apply your knowledge after watching the lessons.

What's This Chapter About?

The Major Battles & Offensives of the Vietnam War chapter will teach you about major battles, strategies, and key events of the Vietnam War. Each lesson will profile a different event of the war, and you'll learn about the important individuals, groups, and places involved in each one.

Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, you'll be able to:

  • Analyze the causes and impacts of the Battle of Ap Bac
  • Explain the purpose and events of Operation Starlite
  • Compare and contrast various battles and operations of the Vietnam War
  • Analyze the causes of the My Lai Massacre
  • Explain the events of the Easter Offensive

People to Know

  • Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann - American advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during the Battle of Ap Bac.
  • General William Westmoreland - Commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).
  • Colonel Harold Moore - Commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Division during the Ia Drang Valley battles.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson - The 36th President of the United States, who served from 1965-1969 and escalated military aggression against North Vietnam.
  • Lieutenant William Calley - Led a search-and-destroy mission on March 16, 1968, in My Lai, which turned into a massacre.

Vocabulary to know

  • Credibility gap - There was a distinct difference between how government personnel reported on the war and how news organizations reported on the war from Vietnam. This caused credibility problems for the government.
  • Search-and-destroy operations - Operations or missions designed with the intent to seek out and terminate the enemy.
  • Army of the Republic of Vietnam - The army of South Vietnam, who fought with the U.S. troops against the North Vietnamese.
  • National Liberation Front - One of two major military and political organizations of North Vietnam during the war.
  • People's Army of Vietnam - One of two major military and political organizations of North Vietnam during the war.
  • Tet Offensive - A major invasion carried out by North Vietnam against South Vietnam, which was one of the most important battles of the war.
  • Operation Linebacker I - A large-scale bombing campaign carried out by Richard Nixon against the North Vietnamese during the Easter Offensive.

Key Questions

After completing the lessons in the chapter Major Battles & Operations of the Vietnam War, answer the following questions to test your knowledge.

  • What were some of the causes and impacts of the Battle of Ap Bac?
  • What was the purpose of Operation Starlite?
  • What were the successes and failures of Operation Masher/White Wing from the United States' perspective?
  • What were the successes and failures of the Ia Drang Valley battles from the United States' perspective?
  • What were some of the factors that contributed to the My Lai Massacre?
  • What was the intent of the Easter Offensive? What were the results?

Build on Your Learning

After reading the lessons in the chapter Major Battles & Operations of the Vietnam War, you can use the activities below to apply what you've learned.

Analyze

One of the primary strategies of the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War was the search-and-destroy method. Analyze this method, and make an argument for or against its use in the war.

Evaluate

Evaluate the importance and impact of the air mobility strategy, and explain its use in the Vietnam War.

Create

Pretend you are a North Vietnamese advisor who is working as part of the Tet Offensive. Write a short, persuasive essay encouraging the civilians of South Vietnam to turn against their own government, as well as the United States. What can you offer them? What do they stand to gain by turning on the armed forces that represent South Vietnam?

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