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Australia and the Vietnam War Ashley Wood St Leonard’s College.

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Presentation on theme: "Australia and the Vietnam War Ashley Wood St Leonard’s College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Australia and the Vietnam War Ashley Wood St Leonard’s College

2 Plan for the session Unit 4 key quick review Origins of the conflict Australia and Vietnam Useful resources, online, print… Questions, discussion, approaching the SAC

3 Unit 4 Australian History Attitudes to the Vietnam War 1965 & 1970 – A range of attitudes at each point in time – The connections between the two significant points in time – The degree of change in attitudes between the two significant points and the reasons for any change

4 Dispelling the myth – Gallup Poll on the question ‘Fight on in Vietnam or bring forces back now?’

5 Origins – French Influence from 17 th Century 1858 French attacked Da Nang 1884 Vietnam fully occupied 1897 with Laos and Cambodia became Indochina Resistance from a range of groups and individuals, including the Indochinese Communist Party led by Ho Chi Minh

6 Origins – World War II Weakening of European colonial possessions Japan occupied Vietnam Viet Minh fought the Japanese until the end of the war

7 Origins – Ho’s Declaration September Declaration of the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Quoted directly from both the US Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the Declaration of the French Revolution of 1791 The French negotiated with Ho but talks broke down and conflict began in December 1946

8 Origins – The Indochina War Vietnamese wanted US help – compared their situation to that of US before independence Played out against Cold War tensions US had other concerns

9 Origins – Dien Bien Phu French out Communists in US worried Geneva ’54

10 Origins – US involvement Elections to be held in 1956 Communists might win! Elections refused Insurrection begins against Diem regime in the South

11 Nearer, clearer, deadlier – The Bulletin 1950 News Weekly, July 1954

12 Domino Theory “If South Vietnam were allowed to fall under communist rule, the rest of South East Asia could not long remain free. The extension of Chinese Communist pressures would be only a matter of time.” – Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 1964

13 The Red Claw, The Bulletin 1958

14 US and Australian involvement 1962 – advisors from both US and Aust – commitment of ground troops Menzies – 29 April 1965 – “The takeover of South Vietnam would be a direct military threat to Australia…It must be seen as part of a thrust by Communist China between the Indian and Pacific Oceans”

15 ‘A murky shadow has fallen over this part of the world, reaching to our very shores’ – Menzies The Australian, June 1965

16 ANZUS obligations ‘…act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes [in the event of] an armed attack on a member’s territory, island territories, armed forces, public vessels or aircraft’ Gulf of Tonkin – August 1964

17 Brownie points “Our objective should be to achieve such an habitual closeness of relations with the United States and sense of mutual alliance that in our time of need, the United States would have little option but to respond as we would want. The problem of Vietnam is one where we could without a disproportionate expenditure pick up a lot of credit with the United States.” – Allan Renouf, Australian Embassy in the US

18 Reactions “I say that we oppose the government’s decision…we oppose it firmly and completely. We do not think it is a wise decision. We do not think it is a timely decision. We do not think it will help the fight against communism. On the contrary, we believe it will harm that fight in the long term.” – Arthur Calwell, Opposition Leader

19 “The government could not shirk its responsibilities there.” The West Australian, 1 May 1965 “These are inescapable obligations…There was no alternative but to respond as we have” The Age, 30 April 1965 “We have made the necessary commitment.” The Adelaide Advertiser, 1 May 1965 “No Australian…can doubt that this is a right and indeed inevitable decision.” The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 April 1965 “The Menzies Government has made a reckless decision on Vietnam which this nation may live to regret” The Australian, 30 April 1965

20 Conscription Nothing new – , , “The government has therefore decided that there is no alternative to the introduction of selective compulsory service” – Menzies, November 1964

21 Dispelling the myth – Gallup polls on conscription

22 Supporting the myth – Gallup Polls on sending conscripts to Vietnam

23 Opposition to conscription by age (1971)

24 Paul Rigby, ‘Ballot day for National Service’ The West Australian, 1965 “Lo! The smell of battle in the air and sounds of distant musketry… ’tis the call to arms!..’

25 Save Our Sons 1965 Opposed conscription ‘hysterical’, ‘communist’

26 SOS Paul Rigby, The West Australian, 1966

27 Youth Campaign Against Conscription Opposed conscription, but more so deployment to Vietnam

28 Key events October 1966 – LBJ’s visit

29 Key events Long Tan – August 1966: 18 killed, including conscripts Widening of US bombing into Laos and Cambodia Tet Offensive – January 1968 Draft Resistance Movement formed 1968 My Lai massacre – March 1968 (public 1969) Nixon wins 1968 US election Nixon ‘Vietnamisation’ of the war 1969

30 “Let this session of congress be known as the session which declared all out war on poverty” – LBJ January 1964

31 Bruce Petty

32 Moratoriums Anti-War movement grown into mass protest movement Broad cross section May 1970 – largest protests Influence on politics? – Polls suggested many Australians opposed the Moratoriums – Nixon’s announcement of withdrawal was late 1969 – Gorton followed with Australian announcement in April 1970

33 What changed public opinion? Publicity Australian deaths Tet and the ‘television war’ Media Broader base of the protest movement International pressures

34 Remember – April 1970 Gallup Poll on the question ‘Fight on in Vietnam or bring forces back now?’

35 Preparing for SAC/Exam Document – written or visual Pro or Anti war 1965 or 1970 Definitely can be prepared Three paragraph responses are best, dealing with each of the three dot points


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