Impact of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Australia's involvemet in the VietNam war was due to an alliance with America and a fear that the spread of communism would see them on our doorstep soon (we had already been fighting communist insurgents in the Malaya emergency). It started off similarly to the US with military advisors and support troops, but eventually escalated into a full blown conflict. As Australia had a small army, the Government decided there was no alternative to conscription to get the manpower needed to continue the fight. This was done by ballot whereby all able bodied men had to register, except those in excluded occupations or university, and birthdays were drawn out of a barrel like a lottery. If your birthday was called, you had to report to the military.
Conscription was a very contentious issue with two referenda having been defeated in WW1. The Government of the day passed it as law even though it was highly unpopular. VietNam was also known as the living room war, where people watched on the TV the war unfolding and saw the rising body counts. There were protests against the war, initially by radical Uni students, but eventually by the wider community. Eventually the Government started pulling troops out, but the timing was too late and a new government was swept to power, after having promised to pull the remaining troops out.
in all over 50,000 soldiers sailors and airmen served in VietNam and over 500 were eventually killed. Communism did not continue to grow and the war was lost militarily following the capitulation of the South. When the VietNam troops first marched in a street parade, they were spat upon and daubed with red paint and called baby killers and murderers. The war polarised the nation and for a long time, the VietNam veterans were second class citizens, shunned by the Government and the wider community.