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Access to History: The USA and Vietnam 1945-1975

By | Copyright Year:2007 | ISBN-13: 9780340929308

The third edition of this best-selling title has been revised and updated to reflect the needs of the current specifications and provides a thorough and lucid account of America's involvement in Vietnam during the period 1945–75. It starts with an introduction to the events that led to France's withdrawal from Vietnam and US support of Diem's government and goes on to examine how the conflict escalated and the USA became fully involved. The book also looks at the pressure for peace on the US home front and how this had an impact on the eventual withdrawal and fallout from the war. The role of key figures in the conflict, both American presidents and Vietnamese leaders, is analysed throughout.

Throughout the book, key dates, terms and issues are highlighted, and historical interpretations of key debates are outlined. Summary diagrams are included to consolidate knowledge and understanding of the period, and exam-style questions and tips for each examination board provide the opportunity to develop exam skills.


Chapter 1 Introduction: The United States and Vietnam
1. Introduction
2. Overview of the War
3. Overview of the Debates on the Vietnam War
Chapter 2 Vietnam and Foreigners before 1953
1. Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Nationalism
2. The United States and Vietnam, 1941–5
3. The Reasons for the Early American Involvement in Vietnam
4. 'These Situations ... Have a Way of Snowballing'
5. Key Debates on the Truman Years
Chapter 3 Eisenhower and Two Vietnams
1. Ho, Giap and the French Failure in Indochina
2. Dienbienphu – the Debate over American Intervention
3. The Geneva Conference on Indochina, 1954
4. Two Vietnams and Two Leaders
5. Assessment of Eisenhower’s Policy
6. Key Debates
Chapter 4 'Vietnam is the Place' – the Kennedy Crusade (1961–3)
1. Introduction: Kennedy's War?
2. Kennedy’s Early Ideas about Vietnam
3. The President and his Advisers
4. Kennedy’s Actions in the Third World
5. Kennedy and Diem
6. Conclusions
7. Key Debates
Study Guide
Chapter 5 'Johnson's War'?
1. Why Johnson Continued US involvement in the War
2. How Johnson Was Able to Escalate the War
4. 'Where Are We Going?'
5. Historians and 'Johnson's War'?
Study guide
Chapter 6 Why the USA Failed: I – The People in Vietnam
1. The Vietnamese
2. The Americans
3. Key Debates
Chapter 7 Why the USA Failed: II - US Politicians and People
1. Problems with Johnson’s Aims and Methods
2. Why and How Johnson was Forced to Retreat
3. Johnson’s Last Months
4. Conclusions about Johnson and the War
Study Guide
Chapter 8 1969–73: Richard Nixon – Diplomatic Genius or Mad Bomber?
1. The Transformation of a Cold Warrior?
2. President Nixon
3. 1969–71
4. 1972 – Getting Re-elected
5. Assessment of Nixon’s Vietnam Policy
6. Key Debates
Study Guide
Chapter 9 Conclusions
1. Summarising the Debates
2. The Effects of the War
3. The Lessons of the Vietnam War


Vivienne Saunders is an experienced A-Level teacher and author, specialising in American History.


Now with revised and updated study guides for the 2008 specifications. Written by examiners to provide support with assessment and exam skills.

Redesigned to allow greater accessibility to a wide range of AS and A2 students.

New features such as definitions, summaries and exam tips to aid learning.