Australia’s Involvement in the Vietnam War
By Taylor, Aleisha and Alec.
There were two important reasons for Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War: 1. Fear of Communism
2. Obligations to Allies
Fear of Communism
In the period following WWII there was a growing fear within Australia of communism. The common belief was that communism would spread from the USSR to Asian countries and eventually reach Australia. This theory is known today as the domino theory.
Australia was very concerned by the actions of communist North Vietnam to try and control the whole country. We were worried that if South Vietnam fell to communism it would be another step closer to Australia.
Obligations to Allies
In the 1950s Australia became part of two important international defence agreements: 1. ANZUS (Australia New Zealand United States)
2. SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organisation)
These were agreements to help our allies and as a result of these agreements we felt that we had to help America in their fight against North Vietnam.
The Prime Minister of the time Robert Menzies declared a policy of forward defence and so insisted on helping the South Vietnamese forces to hold back the red tide of communism. As a result in July 1962, Australia sent 30 Military advisers to help train South Vietnamese troops. On 29th April 1965 Menzies announced to Federal Parliament that Australia would send combat troops to help South Vietnam.
Appendix F, "Statistics", Ian McNeil and Ashley Ekins, On the offensive: the Australian Army in the Vietnam War 1967–1968 (Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2003)
FIND CARTOONS SHOWING THE DOMINO THEORY OR POLITICAL CARTOONS ABOUT THE RED TIDE OF COMMUNISM LIKE WE’VE LOOKED AT IN CLASS.
Pasted from <http://se-asia.commemoration.gov.au/images/homecontent/home01_ELL_59_0508_MC.jpg> FIGURE 2
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