The Vietnam War was a civil war, a war between the ideologies of capitalism and communism and a war that involved the great powers and their smaller allies, including Australia. The Australians were involved in the Vietnam War from 1962 until 1972. The main reasons that the Australians were involved were the fear of communism, the forward defence policy and Australia’s commitment of troops to the United States and the two alliance agreements. The main reason that made Australia involved in the Vietnam War was the fear of communism.
Australian’s were feared because of the invasion of North Korean communists into democratic South Korea in the 1950s was seen as a threat to democracy. Therefore, sending Australian troops to Vietnam was a move to support democracy. Also, Australians feared the “domino effect”, so the decision to send troops to fight in Vietnam was because if South Vietnam was taken over, it would be a direct military attack on Australia. The forward defence policy was a tactical reason by Prime Minister Robert Menzies for Australia’s involvement.
This was a policy against the “domino theory”. The “domino theory”, was if on nation fell under communist domination, its neighbours would fall like a line of dominoes. Therefore, if South Vietnam was taken over, all of south-East Asia would be taken over by communism, including Australia. As a result, to overcome communism, Australia duty was to fight in the Vietnam War to prevent the domino effect and communism reaching Australia’s shore. Australia’s security will be gone without supporting the United States and the two alliance agreements in the Vietnam War.
Therefore, it was critical for the Australians to help the United States in the Vietnam War because they were there closest allies and Australia had to pay off debt when United States helped Australia in world war two. Also, Australia signed the ANZUS agreement in 1951, which included Australia, New Zealand and the United States to come help one another if in the event of attack. It also went in the SEATO treaty in 1954 which was the South-East Asia collective defence.
For those agreements Australia were forced to be in involved in the Vietnam War because of the United States being in the two alliance agreements. However, this is a benefit for the Australia because they will be helped if they were in an event of attack. In conclusion, the involvement of Australia in the Vietnam War was because of the fear of communism to support democracy, the forward defence policy to not fight in Australian soil and supporting the two alliance agreements, especially the United States.
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