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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3888 The Global Vietnam War

40 creditsClass Size: 16

Module manager: Y Thien Nguyen

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

From the Second World War to Vietnam's withdrawal from Cambodia in 1989, a series of multifaceted and interconnected conflicts gripped the Indochina peninsula. During this time-span, the wars in Vietnam evolved from anti-colonial struggle to superpower confrontation, and were central to the decades-long global encounter known as the Cold War. As the struggle for Vietnam grew in intensity and complexity, it took on increasingly global implications, drawing in a diverse range of rival states, citizens' movements, and other non-state actors whose interpretations and responses to the war were conditioned by a variety of competing local agendas.This module will consider a number of critical historiographical questions, including: What were the Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodian origins of the conflict? How and why did anti-colonial Vietnamese become so divided? Why did Cold War superpowers commit so much to a small, distant country? What role did the larger Cold War play in shaping overseas powers' decision-making? What was the impact of each party's respective domestic politics? How and why did the conflict end the way it did? And what are the global legacies of the war?The module will consider the Vietnam War as first and foremost a Vietnamese conflict, one which acquired increasingly global significance. In addition to exploring the domestic causes and dynamics of the Vietnam War, we will also consider the conflict - a seminal episode in the global Cold War - as a lens for analyzing a wide range of international events and trends. These include Empire and Decolonization; the Non-Aligned Movement; the Chinese Civil War; the American "Red Scare"; the Korean War; Development and Modernization Theory; the Sino-Soviet Split; China's Cultural Revolution; Detente; the rise of American Conservatism; the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian Genocide; and the origins of ongoing strategic tensions in the South China Sea.


- To identify the principal causes of the Vietnam War
- To explore the factors prompting global powers to intervene, including the United States, France, the Soviet Union, South Korea, China, and Cambodia.
- To assess the global impact of the Vietnam War
- To engage with a range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding the war
- To evaluate important methodological and historiographical trends relating to the conflict

Learning outcomes
Learning Objectives
- Analyse a range of relevant primary and secondary sources.
- Apply the skills acquired in formulating nuanced and sophisticated arguments supported by historical evidence
- Apply transferable skills including effective written and oral communication, time management, and project management and completion, among others.
- Demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skill, and the ability to articulate complex ideas and interpretations verbally and in writing.
- Evaluate the interplay between domestic politics and foreign affairs in a wide range of global contexts.


1-2 Introducing Vietnam

3-4 Vietnamese Anti-Colonialism

5-6 Origins of the Cold War

7-8 Choosing War

9-10 Modernization and Counterinsurgency Theories

11-12 Vietnam and the Sino-Soviet Split

13-14 Home-fronts: Pro- and Anti-War Movements

15-16 Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War

17-18 D├ętente and Denouement

19-20 Aftermaths

21-22 Reflection and revision

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours352.00
Total Contact hours48.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

- the completion of recommended reading and self-directed reading in preparation for seminars;
- the preparation and completion of a group presentation exercise;
- research and writing of a 4,000-word essay;
- exam preparation and revision.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly seminar
Office hour and tutorials

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 word essay to be completed by 12 noon Monday of Exam Week 2, semester 140.00
PresentationVerbal presentation, various points throughout the module as directed by tutor10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/09/2022


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