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Civil War in Vietnam

The Impact of Civil War and Conflict on Identity

Themes & Core Questions:

  1. How do people define citizenship or nationality in the times of government crisis?  To what degree does political instability affect the common person?

  2. What are the economic impacts (both positive and negative) of domestic conflict or civil war on the average citizen?  What are some of the survival strategies used to deal with these impacts?

  3. How do the five themes of geography (location, place, human & environmental interaction, movement, and region formation) shape the decisions made by citizens during conflict or civil war?

  4. How do conflicts or civil wars affect religious institutions and the religious beliefs of the average man or woman?

  5. What is the history of power sharing between ethnic groups or social classes in the country affected by conflict or civil war?  How do values and attitudes toward ethnicity, social class, and nationality change during civil war?  What factors have an effect on these changes?

Overview: The lessons on Vietnam include a letter written by Dinh Mai-Ly, the daughter of a rice farmer in South Vietnam, whose brother joins the National Liberation Front in 1960 and later on the Vietminh to fight for North Vietnam against the United States and South Vietnam.

Time Required: 2 class periods or 90 minutes.

Suggested Grade Levels: Grades 8 –12

Interdisciplinary Applications: Social Studies and Literature

NJ Core Content Standards: 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.7, 6.8

Instructional Objectives:

  1. Explain how civil war impacts the common person.

  2. Analyze the effects of conflict on identity using PEERS.

  3. Synthesize the understanding of the impact of civil war or conflict on the common person by developing empathy for the various decisions they have to make.


Lesson 1:

  1. Assign reading for preparatory homework.
  2. Begin lesson by explaining activities.
  3. Students will view Power Point presentation on Vietnamese Conflict.
  4. Discussion based on Power Point presentation.
  5. Assign vocabulary for homework.

Lesson 2:

  1. Review Vocabulary
  2. Students should complete critical thinking questions as class.
  3. Suggested Activity: Assign “Resuscitation of the Dead Earth” for Homework in preparation of Lesson 3 /li>



  • Chung, Ly Qui, Between Two Fires,  “Resuscitation of the Dead Earth”, by Chu Thao, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1970. This is where the short story on Binh Hoa came from.  It is filled with interesting first person stories from the Vietnamese perspective about the war.

  • Larson, Wendy Wilder and Tran Thi Nga, Shallow Graves: Two Women and Vietnam, Random House, New York, 1986.  This is where the poems came from, but there are many more in this book that traces the lives of an American and a Vietnamese woman and how their destinies cross.

  • SarDesai, D.R., Vietnam: The Struggle for National Identity, Westview Press, Boulder, 1992.  A comprehensive book on the history of Vietnamese nationalism, but an easy read.

  • Vietnam Documents at was a great site for primary documents and had a lot of great links at the homepage WWW VL for Vietnam.

  • I found a great map at


Vocabulary worksheet
Critical thinking worksheet

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