Saturday, October 10, 2009

DSST A History of the Vietnam War

A month ago, I knew almost nothing about the Vietnam War. But with the help of YouTube, Wikipedia, and a free Sunday, I passed DSST's Vietnam War exam with flying colours.

I recommend knowing a bit about the history of Vietnam before the war, when the war began and where, how the United States got involved, a bit about Ho Chi Minh's biography, and the policies of different presidential administrations as the war went on.

Key things to know include:

Fall of Saigon
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh Trail
Ia Drang
Invasion of Cambodia
Operation Rolling Thunder
Strategic Hamlet Program
The Tet Offensive
Viet Cong
Viet Minh

You can read a detailed timeline of the Vietnam War here.

Also, YouTube has a wealth of videos about the war which provide a lot of clips of embedded journalism. I found it very helpful to watch what would have been current event television news in the sixties. Here's but one example of the footage available online:



And here's a good documentary on the Battle of Khe Sanh:







I also recommend watching "Vietnam - A Television History" (read the online companion here). This was produced by PBS and provides an extensive history of the war. Watching the series alone should give you sufficient knowledge of the war to pass the exam (though you should still study the other materials in this guide). Below is the first part of the series, the rest of which can be viewed by opening the video in a new window and clicking on the related videos at the right side of the page:



The DSST fact sheet for the Vietnam War exam can be found here.

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