Reasons For Australia's Involvement In The Vietnam War

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In 1955 the Vietnam war was started by the Vietnamese helped by the American forces. It wasn’t until 1962 that the first Australians arrived in South Vietnam. This was the beginning of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. A question to be asked is why did Australia decide to be involved? This is the first of many questions concerning Australia’s involvement during the Vietnam War.

In 1954 the French signed the Geneva convention, leaving Vietnam separated into two parts: the North and the South. The North side of Vietnam was occupied by the Viet Minh’s which was a communist group working with the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, while South Vietnam was supported by the US and its allies. During this period the U.S President
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That country was the USA. Before the Vietnam War, Australians had helped the Americans out elsewhere; South Korea. By supporting the U.S during the Korean War it had allowed Australia to show the US our good faith towards them, confirm our support for a highly visible US presence in Asia and provide a practical example of the ‘forward defence’ strategy. This is evident in Allan Renouf's, “the Australian Ambassador in Washington”, speech. “Our objective should be…to achieve such an habitual closeness of relations with the United States and sense of mutual alliance that in our time and need…the United States would have little option but to respond as we would want”. This therefore, introduced a type of insurance policy, which was if we help America, they would help us. By introducing this insurance policy this lead to Australia signing the ANZUS (Australian New Zealand United States) treaty for political and diplomatic reasons. This treaty was made so that if any one of these three countries were to fall to communism the other two would come to their aid. During the time of 1962 to 1973 over 60,000 Australian troops were sent over to help fight against …show more content…
The SEATO treaty was made to stop the spread of communism in South-East Asia. Australia signed the treaty for first of all, they wanted to stop communism before it reached their shores but secondly, Australia wanted to show to America their support and trust. SEATO was as well very similar to the idea of ‘containment’. The idea of containment was to stop communism before it arrived near allied shores. This was, again, related to the idea of ‘forward defence’. Containment was as well easily seen with our concern over Indonesia. Australia feared that if Indonesia were to be taken over by communist countries that Australia would be invaded too, due to its proximity to Indonesia, their over population, the PKI (the communist party of Indonesia) and our xenophobia towards Asian people.

In conclusion, Australia had many reasons for entering the Vietnam war, from proving to America how loyal we were, to showing how powerful we could be, as well as strategised. This showed as well how Australian politicians such as Menzies used peoples fear of communism for political gain. For Australia this war was the cause of the greatest social and political dissent since the First World

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