Kennedy and Southeast Asia

President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Their ardor for confronting communism in the Third World helped contribute to an expanded US commitment in Vietnam. 
This class will focus on the sticky issue of understanding John Kennedy's Vietnam legacy. What motivated a President known for his normally astute response to international affairs to dramatically increase the US role in Southeast Asia? What were his long-term intentions toward the region? Did he have other policy options?

Note: The Vietnam reading for this class involves exclusively primary documents; the secondary reading looks at JFK and the Middle East.

bullet Little, American Orientalism, pp.


bullet Rusk-McNamara report (1961, excerpts), advocating increased aid for South Vietnam
bullet Rusk instructions on handling Ngo Dinh Diem (Aug. 1963)
bullet NSC meeting on Vietnam (Oct. 1963)
National Security Action Memorandum 263 (Oct. 1963)
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Southeast Asia at the time of the Geneva Accords, 1954

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The enemy situation in South Vietnam, early 1964