DSST History of the Vietnam War Exam Practice Questions Answer Key

1. B: The Vietnamese leader was driven by nationalistic concerns and wanted his country to be free of domination from foreign governance. Ho Chi Minh had no “hatred for Western civilization.” In fact, he saw himself as emulating George Washington. Any notions of expanding “cultural and economic influence” would have been absurd, given that his country had been dominated by the French colonialists and Japanese imperialists.
2. D:Ho Chi Minh began his leadership of the country as a nationalist with socialist leanings who wanted an independent Vietnam. He wanted to rid the country of its powerful foreign colonialist and/or imperialist governors. France had no legitimate claims upon the country-her purposes were exploitative-so answer “a” is untrue. Answer “b” is patently absurd and had nothing to do with the French and the Chinese; the Paris Accords were between North Vietnam and the U.S. Nor was Ho Chi Minh concerned with the modern-day notion of “diversity.” He wanted a unified, independent Vietnam, not the “diversity” of answer choice “c.”
3. B: Answer “a” is incorrect because the Japanese were not much interested in Viet nationalism-quite the contrary. The Japanese were interested in dominating all of Asia, including French Indochina. Answer “c” is ruled out because it didn’t happen. While Ho Chi Minh did once travel to Britain on a French merchant ship, it was to work as a cook in London’s Carlton Hotel circa 1911, long before World War II. That leaves only answer choice “b,” the correct answer. The Viet leader met with an American intelligence official in 1945 to obtain support for his cause.
4. B: Most such declarations have values in common with other worldwide documents of social, political, and religious texts, so it is likely that there are elements of all the answer choices in the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. However, the Vietnamese declaration begins with certain unmistakable words that determine its lineage consistent with the U.S. Declaration. It begins: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” You should recognize answer “b” as the correct choice.
5. C: An important concept to know is that Ho Chi Minh’s original guerrilla army was termed the Viet Minh. The Viet Cong (or Vietcong) was a term used much later when the Americans had arrived in the country. While both terms refer to Ho’s guerrilla fighters, the use of one term will define the struggle against the French and the other will describe the conflict against the Americans. Choice “c” is the correct answer. “D” is incorrect because they were not separate forces that could join together. If you understand that the two terms describe different time periods, you will also know that choice “d” is also the wrong one. Choice “b” is incorrect because the matter was decided by a decisive Viet Minh victory in battle and not by a peaceful meeting at the table.
6. A: The situation in Vietnam at the end of World War II was muddled, to say the least. Ho probably made the smart move in compromising with the French colonialists so that he could get rid of Chiang’s Chinese forces who occupied the north. The British were in control of the country below the 16th parallel. Ho regarded French colonial rule as the least of all evils, knowing it would be temporary, and because he gained considerable autonomy for Vietnam with the agreement mentioned in choice “a.” “D” is incorrect-Ho was more interested in independence than the economy. Choice “b” refers to the “Democratic Republic of Vietnam”-which didn’t happen for many decades. Choice “c” is tempting but not the best answer, as Ho Chi Minh formulated the solution of French rule.
7. B: The French command was significantly outnumbered at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, so “a” would be the wrong choice. The French also respected the fighting abilities of their foes and considered them a match for their own experienced forces; therefore, answer “c” is a false statement. While option “d” is a largely true statement, the Viet Minh were also entrenched around the hillsides and had artillery at their disposal. In fact, the Viets had accomplished a miracle of supply; they had plenty of ammo, artillery, and fighters, and were very well supplied. Answer “b” is the right answer; that’s what the French believed. They were wrong, of course.
8. D: As a battle plan, choice “a” would be impractical and possibly suicidal. Option “b” might serve well as a Hollywood film script with Tom Cruise leading the team, but that would be no real plan at all. No such plan was ever conceived. British Spitfires would have helped pin down the Viet Minh to their positions, but why strafe when you can bomb? The correct answer is “d”; General Eisenhower ultimately decided against implementing a plan to send 200 bombers from Manila to destroy Giap’s forces.
9. A: The country was partitioned merely as the result of an agreement between the major powers. However, the United States was not a signatory to the Geneva agreement, leaving open the option of future military aid to South Vietnam. Option “c” is partially true but was not the dominant current of political thought. The Geneva agreement called for a “reunification” vote after two years. Choice “d” is ridiculous and makes no sense under the political/military conditions of the day. “B” is obviously false because there were no battle lines in this type of combat.
10. B: Religion provides a clue and can eliminate option “a” because Diem was a Catholic, though he governed a country that was more than 90 percent Buddhist. Diem was not related to the former emperor, which eliminates choice “c.” Choice “d” is out because there is the religion issue again-Diem was Catholic-even if you didn’t know that Diem didn’t raise an army while in exile. The attributes described in answer choice “b” did make him the likely choice for American support.


Last Updated: June 18, 2021