HY311GC      Half Unit
Limited War During the Cold War Era: The US in Vietnam (1954-75) (Spring Semester)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Steven Casey SAR 2.10


This course is available to General Course ‘Spring Semester’ students.

Course content

Based on a variety of primary sources, and a wide range of secondary reading, this course will explore US attitudes and policies towards and during the Vietnam War.

JFK and Vietnam; LBJ and the decision to escalate; LBJ as Commander in Chief; the war on the ground in Vietnam: ‘search and destroy’ versus ‘hearts and minds’; the Tet Offensive; the media and military at war; the US home front during the Korean War; Vietnam and US Cold War strategy: détente and triangular diplomacy; fighting while negotiating, 1969-73; legacies.


110-minute weekly seminars, on campus or online as circumstances dictate, with various weekly activities determined by the teacher.

Students are expected to keep up with the readings (documents and secondary literature) for the weekly meetings, and to participate in seminar discussions.

There will be a reading week in the Lent term.

Indicative reading

A detailed course outline and reading list, as well as handouts, will be available as the start of the course.  The following works are recommended: George Herring, America’s Longest War (various editions); David L. Anderson, Shadow on the White House: Presidents and the Vietnam War (1993); David L. Anderson (ed), The Columbia History of the Vietnam War (2011); Robert J. McMahon, The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia since World War II (1999).


Essay (40%, 3500 words) in the LT.
Essay (60%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills