Why did the US fail to achieve its objectives in Vietnam?


Discussion Questions

  • Was the strategy of “flexible response” the culprit?
  • Would another containment strategy have worked better?
  • Was the problem about the arrogance of the “best and the brightest”?
  • How did the “strange dread of American irrationality” affect policy choices?
  • Why was it so difficult to “monitor implementation” in Vietnam?
  • How did the failures in Vietnam create problems elsewhere for US policy?


Vietnam Timeline


Recalling the Turning Point:  Tet Offensive (1968)

Here are video clips of Walter Cronkite’s original February 27, 1968 CBS Evening News Broadcast on the Tet Offensive, illustrating a turning point in the “living room war.”