2. Vietnam War: Videos and activities

On this page you will find some suggestions and links to videos that can be used as well as teacher notes with suggestions as to how the videos can be used with students. Questions for some of the videos are also on separate worksheets that can be handed out to students. There are many, many videos on the internet for Vietnam and these are just some examples of our favourite ones.

Note that there is a series on Vietnam by Ken Burns (Sept 2017) which is fabulous and has recently been screened on PBS and BBC.

1. CNN Cold War: Episode 11 Vietnam

This episode on Vietnam from the CNN cold war series gives an excellent overview of the key events of the war up to 1968 with great interviews. the timings are below. Click on the eye to see questions you can set with this video.

The questions are also on a separate sheet attached below.

2 mins:   Dien Bien Phu

3 mins:   Ho and actions in the North

4 mins:   Diem and growth of opposition

5. 30:     Kennedy

6 mins:   domino theory explained

6.30:       actions of Communists in South Vietnam and the response of Diem's government

8 mins:    immolation of Buddhist monks

10 mins:  coup against Diem

11 mins:  Johnson

12. 30:    Gulf of Tonkin incident

14. 20:    Viet Cong/NLF actions in Vietnam

17. 30:    links between N Vietnam and China and USSR

18.30:     Rolling thunder and decision to introduce troops

20 mins:  bombing of US Embassy in Saigon and Johnson's speech on Domino Theory

25 mins   Battle of Ia Drang

26 mins:  difficulties faced by the US fighting in Vietnam - including Search and Destroy

29. 45:    Ho Chi Minh trail

32 mins: role of USSR and China - impact of Sino-Soviet split

34 mins: impact of US casualties

35 mins: opposition in US

38.20: Tet offensive

  1. What was the significance of the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu according to Giap?
  1. Why did the Americans not allow the 1956 elections to take place?
  1. Why did some Vietnamese flee from North to South?
  1. What words are used to describe Diem?
  1. What was the National Liberation Front?
  1. What was Kennedy’s promise regarding fighting communism?
  1. What was his objective in Vietnam according to McNamara?
  1. What actions did Communists take in the South of Vietnam?
  1. What was the response of Diem’s government?
  1. How effective were these measures?
  1. What type of opposition developed against Diem?
  1. What was the US’ role in the coup against Diem?
  1. What was the impact of Diem’s assassination on US policy?
  1. What was the significance of the Gulf of Tonkin incident?
  1. What kind of attacks were launched by the Viet Cong?
  1. What two actions did the US take now against North Vietnam?
  1. What was Johnson’s belief re the true aim of communist actions in North Vietnam?
  1. What was the role of the USSR in Vietnam?
  1. What tactics did the USA use in Vietnam (keep coming back to this question)
  1. What was the impact of Vietnam being ‘a television war’?
  1. What problems did the the US face in fighting this war? (keep adding to this question)
  1. What was the impact of the US bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail?
  1. How did the Sino-Soviet split affect the Vietnam conflict?
  1. What kind of opposition developed in the US against the war?
  1. What was the nature of the Tet offensive of 1968?
  1. What was the significance of the Tet offensive?
  1. What was the attitude of Nixon towards peace initiatives?

Questions for CNN Cold War video on Vietnam

2. CBS news documentary on Vietnam

This video also has a very good chronological overview via CBS news broadcasts. It is good also for reinforcing the fact that this was 'a television war'.

3. Battlefields: the Tet Offensive

The Snow team cover the Tet Offensive in this documentary which includes the causes and effects of the war in general; some good graphics to show the bombing of Vietnam and some good emphasis on the nature of the fighting.

4. People's Century: the war of the flea

This video has some excellent interviews and a good overview focus on the guerilla tactics used by the VC. Start from 12 minutes 40 seconds and watch to 38 minutes.

Students could watch this video and note down

  •  different tactics used by the Vietcong.
  •  the motivations for people to join the Viet cong.
  • mistakes/difficulties made by the South Vietnamese goverment and the US in dealing with the Communist threat

5. People's Century: 1968 New Release

There are a couple of good sections on this People's Century on the impact of the war on Americans and the nature of protest.

Show sections  23; 50 to 27:45 and  32 mins to 34 mins and 41.50 to 47 mins

NB Note there is bad language used by students in places

6. The Camera at war

This is an excellent video which can be shown in sections; it gives the story behind some of the iconic photographs of the war including 'napalm girl', the 1968 'execution' and the My Lai massacre photos

Each photo is shown first before the story so the video can be paused and discussed before the story is revealed.

7. Dear America: Letters from Vietnam

This is an excellent overview of the war told through letters from US soldiers read by famous actors and with a backdrop of 1960s music.

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