Australia and the Vietnam War Era:
Communism: a political system in which the government, not individuals, control property. Democracy: a political system in which the power is exercised by the people or their elected representatives. Capitalism: an economic system in which the means of production, distribution and exchange are privately owned and managed Ideology: an economic or political theory that seeks to explain events or justify actions. Foreign policy: The policies that one nation follows in relation to other nations of the world, especially diplomatic and political dealings. Forward Defence: The policy followed by the Menzies’ government in the 1050’s and 1960’s that Australia should have the capacity to defend itself by fighting away from the Australian mainland. Pre-Vietnam: Coming of the Cold War: -Russia had set up communist governments in the eastern European states. -In Asia, communism seemed to be on the march -Australia’s foreign policy from 1949 was that communism was a threat to Australia, Australia could never adequately defend herself, that Australia still had to prove its loyalty and its best interest was to meet any threats as far away as possible known at the ‘Forward Defence’. Australia’s Response to Communism: -Believed in the ‘Domino Theory’, where it was thought that if communism was not stopped it would spread to south-east Asia. -Australia signed the ANZUS (Australia New Zealand United States) Treaty which included Australia, New Zealand and the United States and SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organisation) which included South-East Asian countries opposed to communism. -The Communist Party was banned in Australia in 1950. -Australia introduced compulsory conscription, seen as being prepared for a military engagement. Australia’s Participation in Vietnam:
From 1962, Australia was involved in the Vietnam War with first sending over diplomats and training soldiers. -
In 1964, the US claims its ships had been torpedoed in the Gulf of Tonkin and bombing raids began. -
Australia, in 1966, sent its first battalion, along with HMAS Sydney to Vietnam to fight. -
In April of 1966, Australia’s troop commitment trebled.
When, later in 1966, the Liberal Government was elected and Australia still support the war movement and so troop numbers were increased -
From 1962 to 1972, Australia committed approximately 47,000 Australian men and women.
Conscription and ‘Save Our Sons’: -Conscription was reintroduced when Australia faced the Indonesian threat. -Throughout there were protests and conscientious objectors who for personal or religious reasons will not take part in military services....
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