America's longest war ended more than two decades ago, yet a number of significant and important questions remain unanswered: What was the nature of the modern Vietnamese revolution? How can we explain the American intervention? Why did the war drag on so long?
Critics of the American intervention claim that the war was unnecessary and immoral and that policymakers in Washington dragged the country into an unwanted war. In contrast, a small group of scholars and military leaders offer an emotional defense of American intervention. A careful examination of the myriad sources reveals that neither view is entirely accurate and that the interplay of events was far more complicated than most accounts suggest.
This site, developed around the course materials for Robert Brigham's senior seminar on the Viet Nam War at Vassar College, offers students an opportunity to examine some of those sources, including numerous official documents. Brigham was the first American scholar given access to the Vietnamese archives on the war in Hanoi. Included here are his translations of some of the Hanoi documents, offered for examination and study.