How Australia reacted to the threat of communism
The “threat” of communism that the Australian government produced is highly debatable issue. Australia was being exposed to Communism, which was spreading south from Russia, through Asia and ultimately to Australia. The domino theory was a key belief in the mind of the public, spreading fear throughout the world. The Liberal party exploited the threat of Communism and the domino theory to help with their election campaign. They attempted to ban the Communist Party from Australian soils. Trade unions and political parties being suspect to communist infiltration, and a possible spy scandal, “The Petrov affair” added to the exaggerated threat of communism. Australia decided to make alliances with other countries and sent troops to the Korean and Vietnam wars. In 1949 the election success of the communist party in China provoked an enormous reaction in the capitalist nations of the world. Ironically, in the same year, Robert Menzies pledged that he would outlaw the communist party in Australia. The success of China’s Communist party combined with propaganda and censorship put to the people by the Australian government, kept the fear of communism alive. Fear of communism was used by various Australian governments to maintain power and to manipulate public opinion. Conservative and right wing governments frequently linked the socialist Labor Party to Communism and Leninist type ideals. In theory, Communism was a sensible ideology, but in practice, too easy to corrupt. Many Australians believed at the time that Asian countries would “fall like dominoes” to the Communist administration, and that Australia was next. The domino theory started as Communists infiltrated surrounding countries. Robert Menzies used this theory in his election campaign to his advantage in order to lead Australians into believing that the threat of communism towards Australia was valid. This was the foundation for Menzies’ election win. The ALP...
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