The Vietnam War

WHEN: Saturdays in April and May (Apr. 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23) 1:00 to 2:00 PM USA Pacific Time

WHERE: Online teleconference (Zoom)


TUITION: $210 Full Access – $125 Recorded Video Access – Special Rates Available for COVID-19 Impact

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In this interactive class, conducted entirely online, Dr. Sean Munger will take you along on a deep dive into the Vietnam War: its background and origins, what happened, the places it happened, why it happened, and how it changed history. He will use his signature “geohistory” approach of showing you the real places associated with the war, via Google Maps software.

In six weekly sessions of an hour each, held online through Zoom software, you and your fellow participants will receive in-depth historical analysis of the events of the war, their context and meaning, while seeing with your own eyes the important sites of the Vietnam War through your computer screen. The course is extensive in its treatment of the war, from the origins of the conflict in Vietnam’s colonial past up to and even beyond the end of the fighting in 1975. You will experience historical detail that you would have to read dozens of books to get. And you’ll see sites researched and chosen by Dr. Munger for their historical significance. You cannot get this experience from books, TV documentaries or YouTube…it’s like having a guided tour with a history professor, except it’s not boring and you don’t have to leave home. (Especially if you’re sheltering-in-place from COVID-19).

This class was suggested by a student of one of Dr. Munger’s former classes!

This is not just a series of static video lectures. It’s an interactive class in real time. Discuss with your fellow participants! Ask questions! Follow up! A written guide will be provided. No “homework!” Even if you choose not to participate “live” and instead view the recorded videos, you will have special access to Dr. Munger for any discussion or follow-up questions you may have. He will even research specific questions for you, if you have them!

The Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington D.C. is one of the most emotional places associated with the conflict. What were the factors that led American politicians to sacrifice these lives? You’ll find out.

This is a proven and unique concept in online teaching, combining history with geography through an online interface. The understanding you will get from this event is simply not available outside of a university (and in some cases not even there). You can’t get it from Ken Burns, PBS or the History Channel. [NOTE: there is no university or other scholastic credit associated with this course.]

Dr. Munger is deeply experienced in the online teaching of history, and making complex historical events understandable, interesting and real to learners of all ages and backgrounds, from high school to senior citizens.


  • Class I: Origins & Background. What is Vietnam’s deep history? What were the French doing there? Who was Ho Chi Minh? Why was it of strategic interest to the United States?
  • Class II: America Drawn In. How did the United States get pulled into the war? What were Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson hoping to accomplish? What was the “Gulf of Tonkin” episode and why was it controversial? Why did Johnson escalate it?
  • Class III: Fighting The War. How did American military commanders see the war? How did the soldiers on the ground see it? What battles took place, and where? Why was the Tet Offensive so pivotal?
  • Class IV: America Divided. Why was the war so controversial and traumatic in the United States? How did it intersect with the Civil Rights movement? Who was against the war? Who was in favor of it?
  • Class V: The Late War. How did the conflict change in 1969? What other countries were involved? What happened to American P.O.W.s? What did Watergate have to do with Vietnam?
  • Class VI: Ending and Aftermath. How did the U.S. finally get out of Vietnam? What happened after that? What was the Cambodian Genocide? How did Vietnam and the U.S. remember the war differently within their own societies?

The Vietnamese used this system of trenches and tunnels to achieve a strategic miracle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 that shocked the world. How did it happen? This is one of many questions we’ll explore.

Some Places You Will See: 

The sites for the course have been carefully chosen. Some the places we will visit–and which you will hear about and see through your computer–include:

  • The Imperial City of Hue, where Vietnam’s emperors reigned before (and theoretically during) colonial rule
  • Palace of Nations, Geneva, where a fateful treaty was signed that failed to stop the fighting
  • The Gulf of Tonkin, where a torpedo boat attack that happened (and one that didn’t) resulted in a deadly escalation
  • The streetcorner in Saigon, where one of the most horrifying images of the war was captured by a journalist
  • The bridge of the USS Lexingtonthe aircraft carrier that launched aistrikes in Vietnam during Operation Flaming Dart
  • Hoa Lo Prison, known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” where captured Americans (including John McCain) were held captive for years
  • 22 Gia Long Street, Saigon, the building where people clung to the skids of the last American helicopter to leave the city
  • And many, many, many more.


The class will meet on successive Saturdays beginning April 18, 2020, 1:00-2:00 PM, Pacific time. All meetings are virtual and occur on the web. Meetings are recorded and playback is available for those who miss specific sessions.

This is the bridge of the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier, now a museum, that helped project American air power into Southeast Asia. What were the consequences of sending forces like these into Vietnam? You’ll learn all about it.


I taught a previous course online about the American Revolution. Here are some testimonials from students who took that course:

As a long-time student of military history in general and the American Revolution in particular, I can say this was the most unique class I have ever taken.  Not just because it was an online class, but because of the superb way the class explored the political, economical, and cultural causes of the war…The genius of Dr. Munger in putting this all together into a challenging but thoroughly delightful class gave us a refreshing departure from the mundane lectures of facts and dates usually associated with history courses.  I fully enjoyed the class and would recommend anyone interested in history to partake of other course offerings by Dr. Munger.”

“Enjoyed the class very much.  Learned things that had never crossed my mind as a discussion point.  Definitely will take more classes from Sean, as he is an excellent teacher.  Makes things interesting with lots of side notes.”


The cost to participate is $210 for the full flight of 6 classes if you want to experience the sessions live. You will also have access to the videos.

If you want access to the recorded videos only, the cost is $125. You will receive the same written materials that all other participants do.

If you have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and cannot afford the tuition, email Dr. Munger and an alternative arrangement can be worked out (such as access to the course in exchange for testimonials). We do not want anyone who is interested in this class to be “priced out.”

You can pay by PayPal, here!

After you make your payment, please send me an email that confirms the email address you’d like the Zoom link and written materials to be sent to. This is required to keep the class secure.

We look forward to exploring this complicated subject.