Australia’s Involvement in the Vietnam War

Topics: South Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam War Pages: 10 (3805 words) Published: February 22, 2011
Source C: Leaflet by the Seamen’s Union of Australia

Source C is a segment of a leaflet which highlights the perspectives of three individuals from the ‘Seamen’s Union of Australia’ on the issue of cargo handling during the Vietnam War. The leaflet is an official primary produced in 1966, incorporating a mixture of images and written text by William Flint, Basil Box and Raymond King.

The perspectives of the three authors on the issue of cargo handling and the Vietnam War seem fairly clear in this source. All three writers were against cargo handling for South Vietnam and refused to take part in the process as they believed that it was simply a ‘war against women and children’. The writers agreed that their involvement was not helping the people of Vietnam, but rather harming and creating more chaos. War opposers, like the Seamen’s Union, had plenty of relevant reasons at the time to support their idea of discontinuing Australia’s support in Vietnam. The most significant, I believe, is to persuade Australians to believe that ending the war in Vietnam is the right way to act at the time. It was a significant time in which the source was released as it could persuade many people that were unsure, undecided or even those who originally supported the war but slowly feel it was a bad idea. The alarming witnesses and experiences of the three writers in Vietnam could further persuade the opinions of Australians to the issue. An aim by this organisation was to bring back Australian troops, due to the lack of success in the war. Our purpose of helping out our allies seemed more and more irrelevant as our costly process of sending troops and resources slowly began to affect Australia negatively, especially in economic factors. Using this excuse as an excuse to bring back the troops was a good motive as it would mean re-building Australia economically, financially and socially. It is also in the nature of these three Australians to put a stop and discourage unfair treatment of people, whether it is their enemies or allies. In publishing this source, the Seaman’s Union could definitely influence the attitudes and actions for the war in Vietnam. An important factor was that without the support of cargoes from Australia delivered by this organisation, the Vietnam War could end in the war in Vietnam sooner then expected. Bombs in particular were the most important weapon at the time for both attack and defence as it is easy to wipe out a large scale of area and targets. Targeting this leaflet to the Australian government and people would have been a major contributor in change as large numbers of people can influence change.

In my opinion, I believe that this source is generally unreliable even though it contains witnessed information of unfair treatment of women and children. I believe that it was published for propaganda, something which could influence the Australian public. It is exceptionally biased as it only contained relevant information and evidence which opposed to the war. The leaflet from the Union did not include everyone’s opinions on the Vietnam War: only three perspectives were shown. We are able to interpret this source as biased because the ‘Seamen’s Union’ was a large organisation at the time, and there must have been members who supported the war or at least had differing opinions to those three authors. Another reason that suggests this source was unreliable is the images of children on the leaflet and idea of a ‘war against women and children’, which is highlighted within this source. The children in the image may not have been injured from the attack and defence of South Vietnam. The children may not have directly been attacked but were hit by accident. They may also have simply just been caught in the crossfire of battle or even received the injuries from situations not related to war at all. The purpose of the war, according to the Seamen’s Union, was against only the innocent women and children; which...
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