Changing Attitudes to the Vietnam War

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Explain the changing attitudes to Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam War was the long struggle between nationalist forces attempting to unify Vietnam and prevent the spread of communism. Australia was involved in the Vietnam War from August 1962 – December 1972, with approximately 60,000 men and women serving. Australia was called to fight by the United States and on the request of the South Vietnamese government for assistance. The war was seen as necessary at first because of their fear of communist advancement and the Domino Theory and it was seen as a good idea to fight off Australian soil. As conscription began to rob many Australian’s of their lives and as the public came to believe that the war was being lost, opposition grew a great deal until more than 200,000 people protested against the war in the early 1970s. The opposition towards the war led to the government sending troops back home in March, 1972. The government was always supporting the war until the very end, until the Labor Party took power and chose to bring home troops. During the War, attitudes towards the Vietnam War changed greatly due to two main contributing reasons. These reasons were the media and television viewing the prominent issue of conscription.The Vietnam War was supported by almost all people at first but opposition grew as many people found out and realised the true reality of the war.

The positive attitudes towards the Vietnam War were mostly seen by the Australian government in power. The Liberal Party was in power at the start of the Vietnam War in 1962 to December 1972. Three days before the Liberal Party lost power, they sent the troops home. From the start to the end of the Vietnam War, the government supported the war. The government wanted to prevent Australia from falling to communism by using the concept of forward defence. The Liberal Party’s support for the war is shown by Robert Menzies saying, ‘It took us not five minutes to decide...
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