Effects of the Vietnam War on Australian Society

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The Impact of the Vietnam War On Vietnam Veterans and their Families And the Impact of the Australian Culture The Vietnam War had a lasting impact on Vietnam Veterans, who although they fought their hardest for their country, they returned to a country who saw them as less than heroes. They suffered both psychological and medical problems from open battles, sniper attacks and chemical warfare, and stress from war-life. Although the Vietnam War had some negative impacts, the Vietnam War was the turning point in Australian society, changing to a multicultural community we are proud of today. Vietnam veterans returned home in 1975 to a less than supportive Australia. They were seen as ‘murderers’, no parades were held for them, they were met with contempt rather than gratitude. This, coupled with the trauma of war, Vietnam veterans suffered untreated psychological problems. They felt guilty because they ‘let the South Vietnamese people down’ and the sight of civilians killed in crossfire caused them to be plagued by bad dreams. They developed anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder and found it hard to settle back into daily life. This spilled over into their domestic life, with divorce rates higher than average and 38% reported that their marriage failed within 6 months of returning home. Suicide rates were also higher than average, almost 20- 25 % higher than the Australian average. The psychological impact of the traumas of war had a negative effect on their children, who were 3 times more likely to commit suicide than the general Australian population. Even with the obvious psychological and social problems being experienced by veterans, the government did little to help until after 1983. Vietnam veterans also suffered medical complications that hindered them from settling back into daily life. Vietnam veterans suffered horrific wounds from open battles and often losing an limb by accidentally walking on land mines. Many were injured by ’unfair...
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