Primary Source Worksheet: Clark Clifford, Letter to Lyndon B. Johnson

This Primary Source Worksheet: Clark Clifford, Letter to Lyndon B. Johnson worksheet also includes:

Vietnam War did indeed turn into a quagmire. Students of history will gain much from a close reading of this 1965 prophetic letter from the Secretary of Defense, Clark Clifford to President Lyndon B. Johnson, advising the president to limit the ground war in Vietnam.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Ask groups to compare Clifford's views with those of Secretary of State Dean Rusk
  • Ask groups to compare the American involvement in Vietnam with the Middle East
  • Use the document at the beginning of a study of American involvement in Vietnam and have class members chart troop buildups as the war continued
Pros

  • The 1965 letter reveals Clifford's views at the beginning of the Vietnam conflict
  • The provided reading questions are designed to encourage a close and careful reading of the letter
Cons

  • The questions and the suggested activity provide little insight into the importance of Clifford's advice and the consequences of subsequence policy