Why Did Australia Become Involved in the Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War which went from 1965 to 1975 involved America and its allies, including Australia, aiming to prevent South Vietnam from an invasion by the communist North Vietnaese. There were many key reasons for Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The Americans provided valuable support when they arrived at our aid during the WWII so Australia felt a responsibility to return a favour to the US to maintain healthy foreign relations. Australia also became implicated in the war due to the threat posed by the expansion of communism, known as the “Domino Effect”. On the political front Australia was also very anticommunist and believed to stop the war arriving at our front step we should use the forward defence approach. For these reasons Australia found itself entrenched in an exhausting war.

Australia was in a position where it needed to think about its countries welfare, and its responsibility to America. After World War I Australia knew it could not defend itself against any enemy on its home ground, so Menzies sought to strengthen Australia’s relationships with United States and Britain relying on “great and powerful friends”. The ANZUS treaty (1951) and the SEATO treaty (1954) were a way to create a closer link to America, although it does not say that US must help Australia’s it gives them a closer relationship. The SEATO treaty linked the United states, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Pakistan and the Philippines this gave Australia strong alliances with nations equally apposed to the communist ‘disease’ in South East Asia.

Australia as a nation was fearful of the ‘reds under the beds’ and it had a strong belief in the merits of Eisenhower’s Domino Theory. The Domino effect meant that after Vietnam had fallen, the surrounding countries would follow, just like a row of Dominoes eventually leading to Australia. The expansion of communism was a great threat to Australia as its proximity to South East Asia intensified

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