“You Can Trust Communists(To Be Communists)” by Dr. David Swartz is a fascinating work. Selections can be read from the collection of works found on the web page; www.writing.upenn.edu. Dr. Swartz brings to light several ways in which communists were a very real threat during the 1950’s. He not only mentions the foreign threats of the Soviet Union and China, but also how communists could destroy America from within and gain unwitting allies in the form of Christian Americans. The most interesting portion of his article are the selections; on communist relativism, on the manipulation of truth, on brainwashing and language, on communist use of the term "peace".
Swartz’s ideas would be a great way to discuss what it was about communism that scared patriotic Americans and worried good Christians. Another interesting exercise could be done in a political science or contemporary issues type class. The word Liberal or Leftist, could be inserted into any of his articles, on communist relativism, on brainwashing and language, on the manipulation of truth are particularly similar to rhetoric of the left wing of the Democratic Party.
When teaching about the Vietnam conflict as part of the cold war, the reading; “Kennedy Administration on Vietnam and China - legacy of the red-baiting of the "China hands" has enormous potential as a resource. This reading can be found at www.writing.upenn.edu . This reflection on the decisions made by the Kennedy administration gives the reader a platform to discuss the reasons for escalating the conflict as well as the reasons why it was such a difficult fight for the American military. Robert S. McNamara describes assumptions that the U.S. made about the Soviets and China. It is interesting to examine the role of Vietnam as well as its value in the Cold War. Vietnam’s value to the U.S.S.R. and China in reality and through the U.S. perspective is something that would provoke a discussion. Ho Chi Minh's role and his own ideology is also something to discuss.
This reading is short but does offer information and ideas to view the Vietnam Conflict as part of the Cold War as well as an isolated conflict or civil war within a Nation.