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The Australian Experience In The Vietnam War.

2954 words - 12 pages

Between 1962 and 1972, Vietnam was the battleground for Australia's largest war commitment to date. No other issue in Australian society has seen as much controversy for so long as the question and wisdom of the Australian involvement in the Vietnam War. During this ten-year period, many protest movements arose and questioned this involvement and the suffering it was causing, not only on Australians but also on the local Vietnamese. An end to Australian involvement was demanded in many pretests and rallies that were held all around the country. The results of these movements were unheard of leading to the removal or troops and a change in government. Even though this war ended some thirty-one years ago, the veterans and people of the time are still paying for the resulting atrocities.But why did Australia get involved in a conflict that had no direct effect on the people. The prime minister of the time, Robert Menzies, now Sir Robert Menzies, would like us to believe that we got involved due to the domino theory. This theory suggests that if Vietnam were to succumb to communism, then its surrounding nations may choose or be forced into also accepting communism. Much the same way in which one falling domino in a line causes a chain reaction for the rest to fall.The Australian public later found out that the domino theory was not the only reason behind Menzies pledging Australian forces in Vietnam. Menzies believed that the troop commitment in Vietnam would setup an insurance policy for Australia. Due to our treaty arrangement of ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand and United States) and SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organisation) Australia also pledged it's help. These treaties stated that is Australia were ever to be called upon by either the United States, New Zealand or any free country in South East Asia, then Australian troops would be there to help. So Menzies told the Australian public that he was just adhering to Australians treaties and as South Vietnam had asked for help through SEATO and America through ANZUS then we need to send troops. What Menzies did not tell the public is that south Vietnam wanted to keep the number of intervening countries to a minimum and that it was America that had in fact asked for Australian aid to which Menzies agreed as he believed in the "forward defense strategy.'Even though Menzies wanted to maintain the strong ties that had been developed between Australia and Great Britain, he saw the USA as a more powerful ally and defender to have. During World War II Britain had proved incapable of defending Australia and it was the USA that has intervened and protected Australia. Menzies believed that is Australia showed it's support in the years after the war ended then if the occasion ever became evident, the USA would be there once again protect the nation. Hence the Insurance Policy was born.So in 1962, the Australian government of the time, the liberal party, led by Menzies, sent a team of thirty military advisers...

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