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        Popular Beliefs and Misconceptions: Classroom Activity Pack | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Students will view selected video segments from The Vietnam War that explore the impressions Americans had about Vietnam, the Vietnamese people, and the Vietnamese governments. Students will examine the reality American policy makers espoused about the war versus the situations and conditions that soldiers experienced on the ground. Periods covered include: 1960-1962 (Activities 1-4), 1961-1963 (Activity 5).

        • How did preconceptions and misunderstandings affect the war efforts of the Vietnamese and the United States?
        • Why is it important for a nation’s leaders to fully understand their adversaries and the physical and political environments in which they find themselves?

        Visit The Vietnam War website to learn more.

        Activity 1: Analysis of Early US Strategy - Myth and Reality | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Click on the image to see Activity 1 where students will learn about early direct US involvement in the war in Vietnam.

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        Activity 2: The Political Philosophy of Ho Chi Minh and US Foreign Policy | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Click on the image to see Activity 2 where students will learn a brief history of Ho Chi Minh’s political activity.

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        Activity 3: The Diem Regime and US Misperceptions | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Click on the image to see Activity 3 in which students learn about the Diem Regime in South Vietnam and the US impressions of it.

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        Activity 4: American Power | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Click on the image to see Activity 4 in which students learn about the US involvement in Vietnam in the early years of the war and how perceptions evolved as the conflict progressed.

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        Activity 5: The Battle of Ap Bac | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Click on the image to see Activity 5 where students will learn about the strategic importance of the battle of Ap Bac and how it highlighted the US military’s misunderstanding of the enemy and the terrain.

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        Graphic Organizer: Analyzing Early US Strategy - Myth and Reality in Vietnam | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Click on the image to the graphic organizer which lists the summarizing points of the video segment "JFK Confronts Communism," and includes space for taking notes and developing discussion questions.

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        JFK Confronts Communism | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        The new President, John F. Kennedy, gathers around him an extraordinary set of advisors who share his determination to confront communism.

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        Ho Chi Minh | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Learn about the life of Ho Chí Minh, Prime Minister and President (1945–69) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), and how he became a communist and founded the Viet Minh, a national independence coalition.

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        Ho Chi Minh’s Quest to End French Colonial Rule | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        By the spring of 1945, more than three years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States government was looking for allies behind the lines in Vietnam.

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        The French Regain Control of Vietnam | ​Ken Burns & Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        In the fall of 1945, French troops began arriving in Saigon. They quickly established control of the city and set out to reoccupy the entire country.

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        The Strategic Hamlet Program | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Learn about the Strategic Hamlet Program, which was part of the effort to win the hearts, minds, and loyalty of the Vietnamese people.

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        Press Coverage of Vietnam | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        In the tradition of previous wars, most press coverage of Vietnam was upbeat. However, a handful of young reporters began to share a different perspective of the war.

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        Ngo Dinh Diem’s Regime | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Learn about the regime of the South Vietnamese politician Ngo Dinh Diem.

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        Cold War Ideology | Ken Burns & Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Cold War ideology stated that if South Vietnam was lost, the rest of Southeast Asia would fall to communism.

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        Fighting an Insurgency | Ken Burns & Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Few advisers understood the unique challenges of fighting an insurgency in Vietnam better than Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann.

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        Friend or Foe? | Ken Burns & Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Each of South Vietnam's 44 provinces had its own chief. Some were just political appointees, corrupt allies of President Diem. Tran Ngoc Chau, Province Chief of Kien Hoa, was different. He was absolutely incorruptible.

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        The Battle of Ap Bac | ​Ken Burns & ​Lynn Novick: The Vietnam War

        Learn about the Battle of Ap Bac, a major battle fought in Vietnam on January 2, 1963.

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