Throughout the late fifties and sixties Australian diplomatic circles were firmly convinced of a rebellious "Communist Threat" outside Australia. This threat, initially directed by Moscow, and later by Beijing, dominated Australian diplomatic thought for approximately fifteen years. The anti- Communist policy of the government under Menzies became electorally self-rewarding and they sought to use it wherever possible.
Essay: Australia in the Vietnam War
This does not deny that they were not totally convinced for the best of reasons but that they also managed to convince the electorate that Communism must be opposed wherever possible. When Menzies made his statement suggesting, "The takeover of South Vietnam would be a direct military threat to Australia," the anti-Communist convictions developed over the previous five years were now convincing them to intervene and this action led Australia into the "dilemma of the Vietnamese civil war. Communism was seen as an aggressive force to destroy the western society of capitalism and democracy.
In , there was one Communist state in the world, Russia by with the establishment of the Communist Peoples' Republic of China led by Chairman Mao, 11 countries were now communists. The Australian Government was also concerned that United States involvement in the South East Asian area should be encouraged and supported in case of future threats in the region. With this growing fear in mind, Australia had long suffered from a sense of unease about its position as the only European settled country in Asia.
Australian society had long harbored a fear of the "yellow hordes" waiting to "descend upon Australia" and steal it away from the privileged few white colonialists living here. The fear of this Communist aggression was founded upon what was referred to as the "Domino Theory" by its exponents. Unless this aggressive action by China was stopped in Vietnam, the theory ran, that after Vietnam had fallen, the surrounding countries would follow, just like a row of Dominoes. These countries, which tended to be neutral in their outlook, favouring neither east nor west, might become involved in another war like Vietnam, or they might defect to the Communist line.
It was feared that this "domino" action would eventually lead to Australia's shores and then the policy of forward defence would mean the war would be in Darwin instead of Vietnam and Australia would be in imminent danger.
The involvement of Australian forces in Vietnam was a continuing development of increasing commitment that took place over a period of several years against a background of Cold War concerns with regional security and fear of Communist expansion. The basis of Australian defence planning in the early s was 'forward defence', a concept which complemented the United States policy of 'containment' of Communism in south-east Asia and embraced Australia's obligations under the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation SEATO formed in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were also guaranteed protection.
This formalised the relationship between Australia, America and New Zealand and one would come to the other's aid in the event of attack.
The Malayan Emergency was the only war the West won against insurgent communism. Australia contributed troops in , to help the British in preventing Malaya becoming a communist state of China. Strong communist influences in the Indonesian government gave rise to a sense of threat and communist aggression close to Australian territory, so Australia pulled out of the dispute against who should own the territory seized. For many Australians who had lived through World War 2, there was greater fear because they could see the parallels between the imminent threats of invasion through communism with the threat that the Japanese had produced 20 years earlier.
The same sort of pattern could be seen with the domino effect, how they were slowly jumping from country to country gaining more power and Australia would be at threat if action weren't taken.
The Vietnam War
As it was when Japan closed in on Australian shores, the only real solution was to send troops off to contain and stop forces before they reached our land and became a direct military threat. Politics Australia had reasons for wanting to join the Vietnam War, quite apart from considerations of South Vietnamese independence.
It was considered necessary to maintain good relations with our alliance partners the USA and constituted a critical step in maintaining a defence on our home front. The Vietnam War, was Australia longest ever fought in combat, at a cost of Australian soldiers dead and over 20, wounded on foreign soil Powerful Essays words 4. The question then has to be asked, why Australia has been involved in so many conflicts. By far the conflict that drew the most outrage from Australian citizens was the Vietnam War. Australia has been drawn into these conflicts through a number of treaties and alliances made with other countries Free Essays words 1.
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Essay: Australia in the Vietnam War
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