The Vietnam War


Explore activities and videos related to The Vietnam War, the latest documentary from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series features archival footage and testimony from nearly 100 witnesses.

  • Forces​ ​That​ ​Fueled​ ​the​ ​Vietnam​ ​War: The United States Becomes Further Involved in South Vietnam

    Students will view selected segments from THE VIETNAM WAR​ ​and analyze how French withdrawal from Vietnam, and the pressures of the Cold War, increased America’s commitment to South Vietnam. 

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Forces​ ​That​ ​Fueled​ ​the​ ​Vietnam​ ​War: The 1954 Geneva Conference Accords

    Students will study the Geneva Conference, which settled the war between Vietnam and France, and its impact of the early goals of the US’s involvement in Vietnam.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Forces​ ​That​ ​Fueled​ ​the​ ​Vietnam​ ​War: An Analysis of Colonialism

    Students will watch selected clips from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine the impact of French colonial rule of Vietnam on both the French and the Vietnamese people. Then, they will conduct a cost/benefit analysis for each country and discuss solutions.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: The Theory and Reality of a War Strategy

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine the tactical plans laid out by the US military command to find and destroy enemy forces. They will then see the reality on the ground as soldiers speak of their experiences and assess the effectiveness of the US military plan.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Reassessing the Crossover Point

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine General Westmoreland’s crossover point strategy and his request for more troops to end the war. 

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Reassessing Rolling Thunder

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine the effectiveness of the bombing campaign known as “Rolling Thunder,” which directed air attacks against Hanoi and Haiphong in hopes of forcing North Vietnam to negotiate a peace settlement. 

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Trying to Find the Right Formula

    In the effort to find the right strategy for winning the war, US General William Westmoreland believed the key was to destroy the North Vietnamese Army and stop its infiltration into South Vietnam. He believed if he could reach a “crossover point” where US and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces were killing more enemy troops than could be replaced, then North Vietnam would have to stop and negotiate for peace. Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and evaluate the crossover point strategy and the use of overwhelming force in fighting the war. 

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Questioning the Mission

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR that examine the concern held by some Johnson administration officials, Congress, and even President Johnson himself over US involvement in Vietnam. Students will view excerpts from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings that took place in 1966 as well as the testimony of various experts about the war’s progress. Students will then consider whether to support future funding for the war.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Early War Strategy

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine communist forces and US military battle tactics during the battle in the Ia Drang (Yuh Drang) River valley. Students will then discuss the results of this pivotal battle and the lessons learned by the North Vietnamese and the Americans.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Both Sides Escalate Their Efforts

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine the war strategies and political tactics of both North Vietnamese leader Le Duan and US President Lyndon Johnson in the war’s early stages.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Fallout after the Diem Coup

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine the situation after the coup of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. Students will assess the South Vietnamese government’s ability to defend itself against the insurgency of North Vietnam after the coup.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • How the War Was Fought: Kennedy’s “Limited War” Campaign

    Students will view selected video segments from THE VIETNAM WAR and examine the Kennedy administration’s deliberation over whether to escalate the effort in South Vietnam, weighing all contingencies of the Cold War, American exceptionalism, containing communism, and the uncertainty of the enemy.

    Grades: 9-13+

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