How Did Australia Respond to the Threat of Communism in 1950

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Why did Australia fight in Vietnam?
Retro 2, p. 202-203. One land many stories, p. 182-183

Inquiry question. Why was Australia involved in the Vietnam War? How did various groups respond to Australia‟s involvement in the Vietnam War?

From 1962 until 1972 Australia was involved in the Vietnam War. Approximately 47 000 Australian men and a large number of women severed there. The decision to commit troops to the conflict centred on the fear of communism.

Why did Australia become involved in the War?

The two main alliance agreements establishing Australia security were:  _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________  _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

The Korean War had reinforced the sense of a monolithic communist system but had also been a big step in securing a firm alliance for Australia with the United States. The strong anti-communist stand taken by the Menzies Liberal government in the 1950s and 1960s led to Australia taking an active part in the politics of the East Asian region. We sent armed forces to Korea, as part of a United Nations force. To stop the advance of North Korea and Chinese communism. We also sent forces to Malaya to help Britain control the communist insurgents there and we were very supportive of General Soeharto‟s overthrow of the „procommunist‟ Sukarno regime in Indonesia.

After Australia‟s experience with the Japanese in WWII, we were prepared to support any United States action against what we might see as an aggressor in Asia, like communism. The Menzies government also believed in the „domino theory‟, which said that of one country in South-East Asia falls to communism, they will all fall, until communism reaches Australia, which will also fall. In 1951 Menzies had warned Australia to be prepared for a war against Soviet communists within three years. In August of that year, compulsory military training and universal conscription was introduced. In 1955, Australian troops were sent to Malaya to assist the British against communist guerrilla forces. In March 1960, the Indonesian president, Sukarno, claimed the Dutch controlled territory of West Papua New Guinea for an independent Indonesia. Strong communist influences in the Indonesian government gave rise to a sense of threat and communist aggression.

Where did Australian troops get sent to help battle communism? (inc. years)

The outbreak of war in Vietnam was seen as further communist aggression. For many Vietnamese the division into north and south was artificial. Under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, the people had struggled against Japan in WWII and fir their efforts had been promised independence by the Americans. But after WWII the Americans supported the return of the French because of the Allies agreement that all colonies would be returned to their colonial rulers.

When was Australia involved in the war in Vietnam? _____________________________________________________________________________________ Why was Menzies so worried about communist coming to South East Asia? _____________________________________________________________________________________ What part did communism play in the Menzies government‟s view of East and South East Asia? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________...
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