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Senior: 11 & 12: Unit 4: Vietnam War

Suggested Primary Sources

Australia / Vietnam
Quotes by Australian soldiers in Vietnam :  Australian War Memorial

Quotes by US Vietnam Vets : interviews in both PDF and MP3 recorded at Ball State University 

Documents on Australia’s involvement in Vietnam : Department of Veteran’s Affairs

History of Australia and the Vietnam War : Department of Veteran’s Affairs
Details of preparation / battles / public opinion / conscription / aftermath of war

Trove Newspapers (National Library of Australia) provides an archive of public and media opinion of the Vietnam War
Example:  Article in the Sydney Tribune (1967) questions the loss of Australian life in the Vietnam War

United States of America / Vietnam
Vietnam War Documents :  Wilson Centre Digital Archive
Documents on the Vietnam War. These telegrams, minutes, and discussion notes range from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1970s, and most come from Chinese and Albanian archives

Selected Documents on the Vietnam War 1953 – 1976
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Digital Library 

Defoliant Operations in Vietnam (1961-1962) :  John F Kennedy Presidential 
Several documents linked to the National Security Action Memoranda number 115 (NSAM 115) titled, "Defoliant Operations in Vietnam," which discuss the use of herbicides to clear jungle and inhibit the growth of crops.  Some discussion also centres around the issue of whether a defoliant violates any international law concerning the conduct of chemical warfare.

Anti War primary sources – University of Washington

Documents on Indochina: Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Spans from 1950 to 1964, ending with President Lyndon Johnson’s reaction to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, providing a narrative of the run up to war as told in diplomatic cables, government statements, and presidential addresses. (Avalon Project, Yale Law School)

The Pentagon Papers: Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force The complete report, declassified and with no redactions, available online in PDF format. This report was originally commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967; small portions were leaked to the press in 1971. The online release includes significant amounts of content never before available. (National Archives)

Vietnam War Ephemera Collection Leaflets and newspapers that were distributed on the University of Washington campus by the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s and 1970s; covers hot social issues of the time, including the antiwar movement. (Univ. of Washington)

President Lyndon Johnson and Ho Chi Minh: Letter Exchange, 1967
Modern History Sourcebook: 

Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, 1945

Useful PRINT books from the Library Catalogue

 NAM - The BEST book on the Vietnam War! Has short, illustrated chapters on EVERY topic!

 Vietnam by Philip Sauvain - Excellent resource with lots of short chapters - just the right length

Oliver Library Catalogue

The Oliver library catalogue is your go-to spot for searching library resources (books, eBooks, websites, DVDs). You do not need to login to search; however, if you do, you have extra functions available such as the ability to reserve books and reborrow items.


The ENTIRE collection of resources provided by the BBC Birtles Library can be searched on ONE single, powerful search platform, which retrieves print books, eBooks, database articles and websites. Click HERE for assistance.

Useful Websites

General Sites on the Vietnam War

Australia and the Vietnam War

Useful eBooks from the Library Catalogue (General)

 Vietnam War: the essential reference guide

Includes an overview of the war, as well as articles on Causes and Results of the War, Public Opinion, Cambodia, Laos, Cu Chi Tunnels, Domino Theory, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nion, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh Trail; Kent State Massacre; Battle of Khe Sanh; Henry Kissinger; Strategies and Tactics; Tet Offensive; Air Operations, My Lai Massacre, Rolling Thunder, Search and Destroy, General Westmoreland.

 The Vietnam War

Includes primary source material and information on public opinion back in the United States.

 Vietnam War

Includes articles on John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Nixon, Air Operations, Weapons and Tactics (including Guerilla Warfare), Protests, Soldiers and the Ground War.

 Encyclopedia of insurgency and counterinsurgency

Search for information on Cambodia; Ho Chi Minh; Ho Chi Minh Trail; Viet Cong; Viet Minh and Vo Nguyen Diap.

 Atrocities, massacres, and war crimes

Scroll down to find information on the My Lai Massacre.

 American arsenal

Includes a chapter on Napalm, and a chapter called 'Lessons from Vietnam', which discusses The Redeye Missile, Agent Orange, the M16 rifle, and Bombing Strategy (including Rolling Thunder).

 The history, use, disposition and environmental fate of Agent Orange

A whole book on AGENT ORANGE.

 Vietnam airmobile warfare tactics

Explains the composition, capabilities, equipment and missions of the US Army and Marine Corps HELICOPTER and airmobile units in the Vietnam war - and exactly how they carried out their missions.

 The Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive, 1968

Discusses every detail of the Tet Offensive, and also the role of Rolling Thunder (chapter.4), The Helicopter (chs. 5 & 10) and what happened at Khe Sanh (ch.10).

 Great battles in Australian history

Includes an article on the Battle of Long Tan.

 Australia's battlefields in Viet Nam

Includes Cu Chi tunnels, and battles of Long Tan and Vung Tau.

 Australia's military operations in Vietnam

Includes information on Long Tan and Viet Cong.

 The Encyclopaedia of Australia's battles

Discusses the Battle of Long Tan on p. 282

 Westmoreland's war : reassessing American strategy in Vietnam - Call Number: 959.704 DAD

Westmoreland has long been derided for his failed strategy of "attrition" in the Vietnam War. Historians have argued that Westmoreland''s strategy placed a premium on high "body counts" through a "big unit war" that relied almost solely on search and destroy missions. Many believe the U.S. Army failed in Vietnam because of Westmoreland''s misguided and narrow strategy. In a groundbreaking reassessment of American military strategy in Vietnam, Gregory Daddis overturns conventional wisdom and shows how Westmoreland did indeed develop a comprehensive campaign which included counterinsurgency, civic action, and the importance of gaining political support from the South Vietnamese population.

 Napalm - See Chapter 7: The Vietnam Syndrome.