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Vietnam War Era: Web Sites
This research guide supports the study of the Vietnam War Era, and the 2009 First-Year Experience Course and its primary text, Tim O'Brien's THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.
On this page you will find a sampling of web sites that
focus on -- or otherwise contain information relative to -- the Vietnam War
era.Many of these sites are hosted by
academic institutions, museums, libraries; and offer perspectives from a
variety of disciplines such as history, political science, literature,
sociology and the arts.When searching
the Internet in conjunction with academic research, we recommend that rather
than relying upon the generic Google search box you instead use Google Scholar
and Google Books.The advantage to this
method is that Google Scholar and Google Books can be much more effective in
leading you to resources that are more appropriate for academic research, in
addition to directing you to the libraries nearest you that hold resources that
may be useful for your topic.
"On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh square. The first lines of his speech repeated verbatim the famous second paragraph of America’s 1776 Declaration of Independence."
"For the people of Vietnam, who were just beginning to recover from five years of ruthless economic exploitation by the Japanese, the end of World War II promised to bring eighty years of French control to a close. As the League for the Independence of Vietnam (Vietnam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi), better known as the Viet Minh, Vietnamese nationalists had fought against the Japanese invaders as well as the defeated French colonial authorities. With the support of rich and poor peasants, workers, businessmen, landlords, students, and intellectuals, the Viet Minh (led by Ho Chi Minh) had expanded throughout northern Vietnam where it established new local governments, redistributed some lands, and opened granaries to alleviate the famine."
From the Library of Congress, American Folklife Center, this is a collection of video oral histories and additional material—memoirs (some lengthy), letters, diaries, photo albums, scrapbooks, poetry, artwork, and official documents—from American veterans of 20th-century wars. The site currently provides digital materials from 4,351 veterans from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and the Iraq War, and other similar events.
"The 226 video interviews currently available range from 25-minutes to two hours in length. The material presented is part of a rapidly growing archive, the Veterans History Project, created by Congress in 2000 to collect stories from the 19 million veterans presently alive. Other sections highlight World War I; World War II’s forgotten theaters in China, Burma, and India; and 27 other unique war experiences. Visitors are encouraged to participate in this project to document veterans’ experiences by interviewing relatives, friends, and acquaintances. The materials provide an array of personal views on the American war experience along with visual examples of oral history methods."
"The Free Speech Movement (FSM) Digital Archives document the role of Mario Savio and other participants in the Free Speech Movement (University of California, Berkeley, September-December 1964), as well as its origins in political protest and civil rights movements and its legacy of political activism and educational reform that can be traced throughout the country and the world down to the present."
A well-designed and innovative approach to teaching history, this site, designed by Karl Miller, Ellen Noonan, and John Spencer; three Ph.D. candidates at New York University, presents multifaceted perspectives on the May 8, 1970, attacks in New York City on Vietnam War protesters by hundreds of construction workers.
"Users can enter the site by selecting any of 12 photographs, nine newspaper headlines, three places in the city where rioting occurred, or 10 summaries of views on the events and their meaning by historians and journalists. Selected items link to additional resources, including a police report and interviews with a student and a construction worker. The creators challenge users to fit the riots into wider contexts and to assess variant attempts at historical understanding. Offers about a dozen suggested activities for high school and college teachers. Though limited in scope and quantity of material, this site is of great value to those studying social class in the Vietnam War era, labor history, and media influence in American life."
This site is a "... searchable archive of politically significant audio materials ... and is a component of the 'Historical Voices' funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the Michigan State University."
Searching for the Vietnam War, you will find webcasts that include autobiography, poetry, a talk by Tim O'Brien, and a number of other presentations by historians, writers, commentators, and political figures. The Library of Congress webcasts are not limited to history;however, but also include the sciences, the arts, religion, technology and a wide variety of other fields.
"The heart of this collection of material about Lyndon Baines Johnson is the group of 64 oral history interviews selected from a collection of more than 1,000 ... A selection of 20 speeches and nine messages to Congress ... address issues such as the Great Society and limitations on the war in Vietnam ... Facsimiles of 98 National Security Action memoranda discuss policies towards Vietnam, nuclear weapons, and Latin America, among other issues."
From Stanford University, the Project features texts by and about Martin Luther King, Jr., compiled as part of an effort to “publish King’s most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts.” The site contains approximately 1,400 digitized speeches, sermons, and other writings, mostly taken from the four volumes the Project has published to date, covering the period 1929–1968.
"In addition, 16 chapters of materials collected from diverse sources and published by the Project in 1998 as The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. are available. Includes important sermons and speeches from later periods, including the 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the March on Washington address; the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech; and “Rediscovering Lost Values,” a sermon from 1954. The site also provides an interactive chronology of King’s life, two 1,000-word biographical essays by project director and historian Clayborne Carson; 23 audio files of recorded speeches and sermons; 12 articles on King by scholars and others; over 30 photographs; and 11 links to other resources. The site additionally offers a searchable inventory to King’s major papers and recordings. Regularly updated and expanded, this site is useful for studying the development of King’s views and discourse on civil rights, race relations, non-violence, education, peace, the war in Vietnam, and other political, religious, and philosophical topics."
“A collection of textual and audio documents concerning ‘arguably the most important Supreme Court case ever on freedom of the press.’ The case revolved around the 1971 decision to lift prior restraint orders instigated by the Nixon Administration to prohibit publication of the government’s secret historical collection of documents labeled ‘United States-Vietnam Relations 1945–1967.’ These quickly became known to the world as the ‘Pentagon Papers’.”
Also “ … includes recently released audio files and transcripts of Nixon Administration telephone conversations and meetings; Supreme Court briefs (including some material originally kept secret) and opinions; audio files and transcripts of oral arguments before the Court; appellate court documents; and excerpts from memoirs by Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and H. R. Haldeman. Also provides a 4,500-word commentary on the documents.”
This is an extensive image gallery from the New York Public Library, and though only four images are found when searching "Vietnam War" these images help represent how this war reached all segments of American society: Three of the four images relate to anti-war protests within the gay community.
"Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history."
Sponsored by the Viet Nam Generation, Inc., and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, this site is a resource for teaching and researching America in the 1960s and during the Vietnam War.
The site contains links to primary documents, including documents from the Black Panther Party, the Free Speech Movement, and GI’s United Against War in Viet Nam. You will also find images of political buttons and posters from the era and a full-text version of VIETNAM: AN ANTIWAR COMIC BOOK, written by civil rights activist Julian Bond (who was expelled from the Georgia legislature for protesting the Vietnam War). Additional items on the site include several full-text back issues of Viet Nam Generation, a journal of recent history and Vietnam War studies published between 1988 and 1996. The site also contains syllabi for courses on the 1960s and the Vietnam War. Users of the site may contribute their own personal narratives about the 1960s.
Listen to tapes of four telephone conversations about the Vietnam War secretly recorded by Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office in 1964. This site is related to the Houghton Mifflin textbook, CHALLENGE OF DEMOCRACY, and to "History and Politics Out Loud", a web site created by Jerry Goldman, one of the book’s authors.
In his four-minute conversation with Adlai Stevenson, Johnson attempts to get the U.N. Ambassador’s opinion on the situation in Vietnam and Laos. McGeorge Bundy spoke to Johnson for seven minutes about communicating with North Vietnam through Canada. Johnson spoke to Press Secretary George Reedy for ten minutes about Dean Rusk’s activities. Johnson spoke with Richard Russell for 26 minutes about his anxieties regarding American involvement in Vietnam. The site offers 30-word descriptions of the conversations.
Directed out of Buffalo State College, "The Vietnam Veterans Oral History and Folklore Project is engaged in an ongoing undertaking to collect, preserve and make better known the folklore, especially the folksongs, of Americans in war." What distinguishes this site is its focus on " ... the songs made by the American men and women, civilian and military, who served ... (in Vietnam), for themselves."
In April 2000, the Gerald R. Ford Library released approximately 40,000 pages of classified documents concerning the Vietnam War. Many are from National Security Advisors Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft and their staffs and deal with the decision to evacuate U.S. forces from Vietnam in April 1975.
This site also provides 15 samples of the newly declassified material, 27 additional documents related to the war already available, 17 photographs of Ford and his advisors during meetings, and finding aids for those planning to travel to the Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The sample documents include important memos, letters, and cables regarding corruption in South Vietnam; “ominous developments” by the North Vietnamese reported to Kissinger in March 1975; the evacuation decision and its execution; the seizure of the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez by a Cambodian gunboat crew in May 1975; the plight of Vietnamese refugees; “lessons of the war” imparted to Ford by Kissinger; and notes from Scowcroft to Ford on the then-ongoing reconstruction of Cambodian society by the Khmer Rouge. This site will be valuable for those teaching courses on the Vietnam War and its aftermath and the internal workings of the Ford Administration.
An introduction to the history of the Vietnam War, this site was developed for a course taught by Robert Brigham in the history department at Vassar College, “the first American scholar given access to the Vietnamese archives on the war in Hanoi.” The site offers an overview of the war featuring 20 primary documents and 47 links to related resources both historical and contemporary.
The primary documents in the 3,000-word overview of the war includes the 1954 Geneva Peace Accords, the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and several items translated by Brigham, such as a 1965 letter from the Hanoi Politburo to the Communist Party in the South. This is a useful site that concentrates on the military and diplomatic dimensions of the war.
This PBS web site on the Vietnam War is part of the "American Experience" series. It includes an extensive timeline of the war, a "Who's Who" section, information on the weapons of war, the My Lai Massacre, the M.I.A. issue, a list of terms and acronyms used in the war, a list of primary sources, a maps section, personal reflections from people with a connection to the war ("Reflections"), place where readers can share personnel reflections, and a teacher's guide.
Moise is a professor of history at Clemson University who teaches on the Vietnam War. His bibliography is extensive and covers all aspects of the war and includes both items published commercially and by government agencies. Publications from countries outside the United States are provided and a wide variety of viewpoints is represented. Dr. Moise also links to a web page he has developed for his students titled "Writing a Term Paper in Military History."
Part of the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections, this small collection of 232 items “contains leaflets and newspapers that were distributed on the University of Washington campus during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. They reflect the social environment and political activities of the youth movement in Seattle during that period.” The collection can be browsed in 24 thematic categories that include Vietnam protests, pro-Vietnam War, “Age of Aquarius,” and …
Also, human rights, gay rights, feminism and women’s issues, racism, socialism and labor, farm workers, peace candidates, environment, religion, fanaticism, civil liberties, freedom of speech, anarchy, communism, and Palestinian protests. Basic keyword and advanced searches are available. This website is a useful resource for researching the history of campus protest in the 1960s and 1970s.
"Offering access to more than 2,500 hours of White House recordings of six American presidents between 1940 and 1973, this website presents recordings from Franklin Roosevelt (8 hours), Harry Truman (10 hours), Dwight Eisenhower (4.5 hours), John Kennedy (260 hours), Lyndon Johnson (550 hours), and Richard Nixon (2,019 hours)."
"A brief introduction to each set of recordings is provided and edited transcriptions of the Kennedy tapes are available. “From the Headlines” relates current events to the recordings. Eight exhibits with short scholarly essays utilizing clips from the presidential recordings feature such topics as the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” and the Space Race. Additionally, the site presents 16 pre-selected multimedia clips that include recordings of Kennedy discussing withdrawing from Vietnam, Johnson talking to McNamara about leaks, Johnson discussing women in politics, and Nixon discussing Mark Felt during the Watergate cover up. The site provides links to more than 40 related articles and, for each of the six presidents, links to the presidential libraries, document collections, related websites, and articles. An outstanding resource for researching the administrations of these presidents."
Virtual Library's directory of websites in American history. Topical areas include Women's History, Ethnic Studies, the Beat Generation, U.S. Military History, Radicalism and Reform, the Cold War, Generational Studies and more.
"During World War II, the U.S. collaborated with the resistance group the Vietminh and their leader, Ho Chi Minh, in their fight against Japan. In the postwar period, however, the U.S. feared Communist expansion into Southeast Asia. In 1954, as France withdrew its forces in defeat, the Geneva Accords established the countries of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Vietnam was partitioned into north and south sectors until elections to be held by 1956. Fearing a victory by Ho Chi Minh, the Eisenhower administration collaborated with the South Vietnam leadership to prevent elections and subsequently sent military aid and advisors. Under President John F. Kennedy, the number of “advisors” increased to more than 16,000, some of whom engaged in counterinsurgency efforts and actual combat. Although Kennedy opposed large scale U.S. involvement, his successor, Lyndon Johnson, began regular bombings and escalated troops to more than 500,000 by 1967. Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, scaled back to 39,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam by September 1972, but initiated bombing raids into Cambodia in 1969 and sent ground troops there in 1970. The U.S. and North Vietnam reached a cease-fire agreement in January 1973, and the South Vietnamese regime fell in April 1975. More than one million people died during the war, including an estimated 925,000 North Vietnamese, 184,000 South Vietnamese, and 57,000 American soldiers."