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Natalie Shell

United States History AP
May 2010


Part A
(Suggested writing time — 45 minutes)
Percent of Section II score — 45

Directions: The following question requires you to construct a coherent essay that integrates your interpretation
of Documents A-H and your knowledge of the period referred to in the question. High scores will be earned only
by essays that both cite key pieces of evidence from the documents and draw on outside knowledge of the

1. The United States’ involvement in Vietnam stemmed only from the government’s unrelenting and persistent
geopolitical goals, completely ignoring the eroding support for the war at home. Discuss using both the
following documents and your knowledge of the period of 1964 to 1975.

Document A


United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore

y be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.


Document B

am. This is a different kind of war. There are no marching armies or solemn declarations. Some citizens of South Viet-Nam, at times wit
repression and murder that would follow…

Document C

Source: Pete Seeger. “Bring Them Home.” Wartime folk song, written 1966.

If you love your Uncle Sam,

Bring them home, bring them home.
Support our boys in Vietnam,
Bring them home, bring them home.

It'll make our generals sad, I know,

Bring them home, bring them home.
They want to tangle with the foe,
Bring them home, bring them home…

Even if they brought their planes to bomb,

Bring them home, bring them home.
Even if they brought helicopters and napalm,
Bring them home, bring them home.

Show those generals their fallacy:

Bring them home, bring them home.
They don't have the right weaponry,
Bring them home, bring them home.

For defense you need common sense,

Bring them home, bring them home.
They don't have the right armaments,
Bring them home, bring them home.

Document D

Document E

rces…[this] would not bring peace; it would bring more war. For these reasons, I rejected the recommendation that I sho
hreatened by Communist aggression, welcomed this new direction in American policy.
edom is threatened. In the previous administration, we Americanized the war in Vietnam. In this administration, we are V
n Vietnam but in the Pacific and in the world.

Source: Los Angeles Times. “Someone Has to Remind Nixon he Promised to End this War,”

Document F

Source: John Filo. Photograph from the shootings at Kent State University, 1970.

Document G

Source: Los Angeles Times. Vietnam War Political Cartoon: “U.S. Bombing,” 1972.

Document H

namese terms.
VN will be ready to accept the NVN proposals, the Communists would probably seek to pressure us, through the Congres

End of Documents for Question 1


List of Outside Information

 Truman Doctrine (Background)
 George Kennan’s containment doctrine/policy
 Domino Theory
 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
 Hanoi vs. Saigon
 North Vietnam vs. South Vietnam
 Teach-Ins/Sit-Ins
○ Port Huron Statement + Students for a Democratic Society
○ College Riots (ex. Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard)
 Draft/Opposition to the Draft
 Kent State Incident
 Anti-War Protests
 Folk Music
 First Indochina War
 Viet Diem, Viet Cong, Vietminh
 Dien Bien Phu
 Ngo Dinh Diem
 Tet Offensive
 National Liberation Front (NFL)
 Johnson, Nixon, Ford presidencies
 Eisenhower, Kennedy (for background purposes)
 “Vietnamization”/Nixon Doctrine
 MyLai Massacre
 “Peace with Honor”
 Henry Kissinger
 “Christmas Bombing” 1972
 Paris Accords (1973)
 Fall of Saigon

Analysis of Documents
Document A

Controversial yet extremely significant, “The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution” is a

necessary document for this question. It explores the lengths to which the United States
government went to ensure unlimited political power in Vietnam. Additionally, this act
of Congress was passed to quiet opposing voices, gave the president full measures to
ensure the continuation of the war, and ultimately, attempted to achieve geopolitical
dominance in Vietnam. Students may also choose to mention the Truman Doctrine and
its policy of containment, which clearly shines through in the “Tonkin Resolution.” This
primary source is extremely useful for the question because it allows students to either
argue against or for the government’s goals in Vietnam. Students can argue that
Congress passed this act not for territorial desires, but for national security. Others may
choose to support the statement by saying that the “Tonkin Resolution” only provided the
United States government with more power to ensure that the war continued in our favor.

Document B

Lyndon Johnson’s “We Will Stand in Viet-Nam” articulates his view on why the
United States is fighting in Vietnam. His language of “conquer the South” and “abandon
our commitment” strongly reflects his desire to stay in Vietnam. Johnson’s pamphlet
directly supports the geopolitical side of the question. The United States government is
in Vietnam to conquer the land and gain economic control. Johnson uses patriotic
rhetoric to arouse the public to unite behind the government’s geopolitical conquest in
Vietnam. This document counters the growing animosity on the home front. He
acknowledges the situation and the difficulty of the war, but spins it to favor the US
government and portray the North Vietnamese as the major enemy. Johnson here, tries to
answer the question of the opposing voices of the war, but succeeds only in explaining
the government’s intentions in Vietnam.

Document C

“Bring Them Home” represents the voice of those completely against Lyndon
Johnson’s argument in Document B. Pete Seeger’s song is a direct contrast to the
president’s pamphlet to Congress. The song expresses the view of Americans opposed to
the war. Bluntly jabbing at the administration, “Even if they brought their planes to
bomb/Bring them home, bring them home/Even if they brought helicopters and
napalm/Bring them home, bring them home,” Seeger’s song helps the potential writer
gain an understanding about the voices opposed to the war. The song blends criticism,
out roar, and general resistance into one as Seeger campaigns against the war.
Essentially, the song pokes at the administration’s inability to “bring them (the soldiers)
home,” referencing the draft, and the government’s choice to bomb Vietnam into

Document D
Nixon’s “Vietnamization” speech or the Nixon Doctrine is an extremely
significant primary source and cannot be left. He, like Johnson, argues why the
government is invested in Vietnam. Unlike some of his colleagues, Nixon acknowledges
the opposition to the war. However, he slams it in the face by refusing to remove troops
from Vietnam. Nixon’s determination is favorable of the government’s geopolitical goals
during its involvement in Vietnam. While the term and limits are vague, Nixon argues

for “peace with honor” as the only course. Similar to Johnson’s pamphlet and Congress’
“Tonkin Resolution,” Nixon’s speech helps students with the “yes, but…” thesis. While
he does discuss the United States’ stiff determination to stay in Vietnam for our own
intentions, he also discusses the policy of containment and the threat of Communism, and
acknowledges the opposition to the war. To further their argument students should
mention Nixon’s days on the HUAC Committee and how his experience “hunting” for
Communists is reflected in his speech. Nixon, like Johnson wants the US to control
Vietnam, but for other reasons in addition to geopolitical control.

Document E

In direct contrast to Nixon’s speech, the LA Times’ cartoon “Someone Has to

Remind Nixon He Promised to End This War” represents those who felt their pacifist
voices were completely ignored. This cartoon demonstrates many American’s desire to
end the war, and their disappointment with Nixon as he chose not to immediately
withdraw troops. Referencing the 100-day mark (established during FDR’s presidency),
the cartoon calls for the swift and necessary action by the government to end the war. It
shows that the war has been dragging on and Nixon’s unrelenting position to remove
troops. Using this document as a contrast and example of the ignored opposing voices,
students can support their argument of the question because the document illustrates
many Americans’ unhappiness with the war.

Document F

John Filo’s famous photograph also represents the ignored voices of opposition
and the lengths to which the government will quiet them. In the picture, a college student
mourns over another student’s body that was killed by Ohio National Guardsmen during
the Kent State shootings. Additionally, outside information such as of teach-ins, sit-ins,
the Port Huron Statement, and Students for a Democratic Society can be used to
successfully support this argument. All of the information and the photograph support
the strong resistance, especially among college students, to the war. Furthermore, the
intense emotion and power surrounding the Kent State events are important to mention in
response to the question. The Kent State incident exemplified the Tonkin Resolution’s
“necessary steps” used to prevent war, or in this case, opposition to war. Tragic and
terrifying, Kent State demonstrated the government’s disregard of the growing hostility
towards the war on the home front. The United States entered Vietnam solely for
geopolitical goals, and would go to any lengths to quiet opposition, as shown in Filo’s
powerful photograph.

Document G

Another political cartoon from the Los Angeles Times, “U.S. Bombing” expresses
the hypocrisy of the United States involvement in Vietnam. While the government tries
to obtain “peace with honor” the Times candidly points out the actual situation of
constant bombing of Cambodia and Vietnam. “We must stay in Vietnam to prevent a
Communist bloodbath.” The quotation from the bottom of the cartoon directly outlines
the government’s statement versus reality. In reality, the United States did not prevent a
communist bloodbath, it was the United States own “bomb blood” that poured all over
the two countries. Arguably, the government desires to prevent Communism masked and
aided the hidden intentions of obtaining geopolitical control of Communist Vietnam. The
government can project Americans’ fears of Communism and try to stop the “threat” of
Communism by taking over Communist land for our benefit. Potential writers should

express that the cartoon challenges the beliefs of the administration and represents the
opinion of those opposed to the war.

Document H

The secret/sensitive memorandum from William Stearman outlines the

government’s goals in Vietnam. Using catchphrases such as “ ‘Repeat 1968,’ ‘Attack as
in 1972’ and ‘Achieve a victory like Dien Bien Phu’” the government argues for a swift
and easy victory in Vietnam. Dien Bien Phu is a reference to the battle when the
Americans helped the French attempt to regain their colony post World War II. Such as
catchphrase could be used to encourage the behavior of treating Vietnam like a colony to
the United States, which consequently, reveals the geopolitical intentions of the
government. By implementing these phrases into the army, the United States government
uses patriotism and a little bit of vocal propaganda to help spread the belief of American
superiority. Again, it demonstrates the extreme lengths to which the government would
go to ensure a victory in Vietnam. The document also stresses the immediate necessity to
reinforce the South Vietnamese forces as the North Vietnamese forces plan for an intense
“spring offensive.” There is no mention of the opposing side to war, and this primary
source can be effectively used to support the government’s geopolitical desires during the

Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey. 13th ed. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill
Publishing, 2008. Print.

Filo, John. Kent State. 1970. Kent State University, Ohio. Life Magazine, 1970.

Johnson, Lyndon B. “We Will Stand in Viet-Nam.” National Archives and Records
Administration, 28 July 1965. SIRS Decades. 19 May 2010.

Nixon, Richard M. “Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam.” Richard Nixon
Library & Birthplace, 3 Nov. 1969. SIRS Decades. 19 May 2010.

Seeger, Pete. "Bring Them Home." Young vs. Old. Columbia Records, 1971. Record.

“Someone Has to Remind Nixon He Promised to End the War.” Los Angeles Times, 29
Aug. 1969: C9. SIRS Decades. 19 May 2010.

Stearman, William L. “Ominous Developments in Vietnam.” Gerald R. Ford Library, 12

Mar. 1975. SIRS Decades. 19 May 2010.

United States. Congress. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Joint Resolution of Congress.
Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1964. Print.

“U.S. Bombing.” Los Angeles Times, 6 August 1972: J2. SIRS Decades. Web. 19 May
2010. <http://decades.sirs.com/decadesweb/decades/do/article?urn=urn%3Asirs