Year 11

The Vietcong

I can describe the aims and methods of the Vietcong.

Year 11

The Vietcong

I can describe the aims and methods of the Vietcong.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. The Vietcong were a guerilla group opposed to Diem's government in South Vietnam.
  2. The Strategic Hamlets Program was created by Diem's government to combat the Vietcong.
  3. US President, John F. Kennedy, increased America's involvement in Vietnam.
  4. Diem was assassinated because of his repressive policies, such as the Strategic Hamlets Program.

Common misconception

There is often confusion between guerilla and gorilla!

Same sound, different spelling, very different meaning! 'Guerilla' comes from the Spanish word 'guerra', meaning 'war'.


  • Regime - a regime is a government, especially an authoritarian one, which enforces strict obedience at the expense of personal freedom

  • Hamlet - a hamlet is a small settlement, generally smaller than a village

  • Vietcong - the Vietcong were the communist guerilla group who opposed the South Vietnam army (the ARVN) and US forces with the help of North Vietnam

  • Guerilla - a guerilla is a member of a small, loosely-organised army that fights a larger, stronger force and uses surprise tactics

Encourage students to place themselves in the position of the Vietnamese peasants who were forced to partake in the Strategic Hamlets Program in order to help them understand the sense of injustice the South Vietnamese people felt.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.
  • Contains depictions of discriminatory behaviour.
  • Contains conflict or violence.


Adult supervision suggested.


This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).



6 Questions

Which country was the first in the world to adopt a communist government?
Correct Answer: Russia, russia
Why did anti-communist feeling in the US reduce during the Second World War?
America became communist
The US established profitable trade deals with communist countries
Correct answer: The US fought alongside communists against Nazi Germany
No countries were communist during the Second World War
Complete the sentence: The War began in 1950, when the communist North invaded the democratic South.
Correct Answer: Korean, Korea, korean, korea
Where was the Conference held in 1954 that divided Vietnam temporarily into North and South?
Correct answer: Geneva
Who was the unpopular prime minister of South Vietnam who persecuted Buddhists?
Correct answer: Ngo Dinh Diem
Bao Dai
Ho Chi Minh
Le Duc Tho
Which US president was the first to send aid and advisors to South Vietnam?
Correct answer: Eisenhower

6 Questions

Sort the following events into the order in which they occurred.
1 - formation of Vietcong
2 - introduction of Strategic Hamlets Program
3 - Diem's assassination
How did the Vietcong get support from peasant farmers?
by using napalm
Correct answer: by promising support and helping with work
through the Ho Chi Minh Trail
by supporting Diem's regime
Match the keywords with the correct definitions.
Correct Answer:guerilla,member of a small, loosely-organized army

member of a small, loosely-organized army

Correct Answer:regime,authoritarian government

authoritarian government

Correct Answer:hamlet,a small settlement

a small settlement

What was the objective of the Strategic Hamlets Program?
to increase support for the Vietcong
to address corruption in Diem's government
to provide financial aid to villagers
Correct answer: to counter the influence of the Vietcong
Complete the following sentence. Under Kennedy, US troop numbers in Vietnam increased to ...
Correct answer: 16 000
120 000
238 000
The Vietcong were directed and funded by North Vietnam, supplied via secret jungle paths known as the Trail.
Correct Answer: Ho Chi Minh, ho chi minh, 'Ho Chi Minh'

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