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Teaching Guide

Teaching The Vietnam War

Shmoop will make you a better lover…of history.


Your students are no strangers to controversial wars, but they might need to brush up on their Vietnam War history. While you're not in danger of sending a nation to war (we hope), we'll make sure you don't make any other unnecessary mistakes.

In this guide you will find

  • lessons that analyze quotes, videos, and documents from the time period.
  • an activity showing students that Jane Fonda is more than just the babe from the work-out tapes.
  • discussion questions to put history into context.

And much more.

What's Inside Shmoop's History Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring history to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

The American press chronicled the Vietnam more thoroughly than previous wars. Taped footage from the front aired nightly on the news, and American newspaper and magazine provided graphic images of the character and the costs of the war in Vietnam.

Ask your students to examine each of these images and write a sentence or two on a how it might have affected public perceptions of the war.

Instructions for Your Students

American reporters had covered earlier wars, but never as extensively or graphically as they did during the Vietnam War. The nightly news included regular reports from the front, and newspapers and magazines provided thousands of images. You will be examining some these. Think about how they might have affected the American public—especially as the war dragged on and questions about American policy increased.


Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    
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