Impact Of The Vietnam War On Australia
Social, Economic and Political Effects of the War.
The controversial Vietnam War had a huge impact on Australian society in the 1960's/1970's. It affected all aspects of society, such as the social, economic and political issues. Vietnam was known as a 'TV War'. A lot of violent and gruesome footage of the war was broadcasted right into people's homes. People felt the need to report their own opinions and a very biased view of the war, they were not concerned with the thoughts of the Vietnamese people and their say in what was going on.
The Australian government was criticized for being selective in what it showed to the public. They altered it to suit their own opinions. One lie that it pushed was the thought that the war was helping the Vietnamese people, and also that the government was determined to disprove that it was blindly supporting and following the USA into an unnecessary war. Because of all these many viewpoints and all the news coverage, society itself seemed to be split in who to believe and what was right. Many protests were the result of this.
Conscription had forced young men to fight away from their home country. Many people saw this as unfair and wrong. This too caused a lot of controversy and many arguments were made against the government for introducing this.
This public opinion also sparked the interest of the political parties. The Labor and Liberal parties had both opposite opinions of the war, and used Vietnam as more like a tool of election propaganda. The Labor party spoke out against the immorality of Vietnam and people were supporting then claiming that it was unjust and cruel. The party organized the first Moratorium, where more than 120,000 people took part and expressed their opinions. The protesters had hoped that Labor would win the 1966 elections and would then withdraw the soldiers. When the Labor party was defeated, the protest movement had died down for a while.
After the war, thousands of Vietnamese boat people have come to Australia. This was because the people had dissatisfaction with the Communist government and that Australia was within reach by boat.
How and why Support for the War changed over time.
--- At the beginning of the war, surveys found that the Australian public at first supported the idea of a small military team based in Vietnam training Vietnamese soldiers. In 1965 when 800 combat soldiers were sent to Vietnam, again the public still generally supported it.
Though in 1967 there was a change, most Australians still supported the idea of helping the South Vietnamese government but they were against sending any more Australian soldiers. But still, more were sent.
Between 1967 and 1969 there was a definite change and eventually most Australians were in...
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The Impact of the Vietnam War on Australia’s Relations with Asia.
The Vietnam War impacted Australia’s fundamental perception of the Asian region.
1950s and 1960s, Australia’s relations with Asia were heavily diminished due to influence from the
Cold War and the fear of communism. Australia viewed communism as a threat in this era of politicalinstability and resisted communist expansion in Asia, including Korea and Vietnam. The end of the
war instigated the beginning of a significant development in Australia’s relations with Asia.
Asopposed to identifying themselves as Europeans, Australian governments from 1972 recognised thatAustralia was a vital part of the Asian region, that there were enormous trade opportunities and thatthe links to Britain were declining.
Australia’s links with Britain
(as well as America) have declined since the Vietnam War. SinceFederation, Australia had perceived itself as an essentially European country, a view asserted by theWhite Australia Policy. At the end of the Vietnam War, with the new Labor government under GoughWhitlam, Australian foreign and domestic policy changed dramatically. A fortnight after beingelected on 2 December 1972, Whitlam officially recognised the communist government of thePeople's Republic of China and opened up diplomatic relations. Australia soon reopened its embassyin Beijing which had been closed in protest in 1949 when the communist government assumedpower, and established diplomatic relations with North Vietnam. Whitlam was determined that inthe future, Australian foreign policy would be Australian and not dependent on Britain or America.For years, the racially-charged mistrust of Australia had prevented interaction in its own region.Whitlam wanted to change that. He also wanted to divorce Australian foreign policy from Australiandefence policy. The 'forward defence' policy of the Menzies government was discarded as ineffectiveand backward-looking. The abandonment of the White Australia Policy allowed the arrival of millionsof Asian refugees. As America withdrew from Vietnam, and as Britain moved towards the EuropeanEconomic Community (EEC - later the European Union), Australia began to realise the importance of developing regional links.Prior to the war, Australia saw itself as a Western nation on the rim of Asia. The abolishment of theWhite Australia policy, however, changed this. Australia began welcoming Asian people as Australiancitizens, particularly Indochinese refugees escaping the new communist regimes. The fact that somany Asians resettled in Australia after the war prompted Australia to cooperate with Asia morethan ever. The government sent aid to help with reconstruction. The Vietnamese Family MigrationProgram was set up by the Australian and Vietnamese governments to help reunite families that hadbeen separated in the chaos of the aftermath of the war. Up until 1975, there were fewer than 2000Vietnam-born residents in Australia. Today, 200 000 Australian residents are of Vietnamese ancestry,
part of 2.4 million Australians of Asian ancestral background. Australia’s multiculturalism has
allowed the integration of Australian culture and Asian culture, strengthening Australian relationswith Asia.Australia has growing economic and trade links with Asia today. For many years, Britain was
Australia’s major trading partner. In 1906, it accounted for 59% of imports and 49% of exports.
Bythe 1960s, Japan had
overtaken Britain as Australia’s main export market, with 25% of exports going
to Japan and 11.8% to Britain. In 2006, the UK accounted for only 4% of both imports and exports.
China and Japan are now Australia’s two largest trading partners, followed by
the US and Korea. This
is supported by Australia’s trade agreements, most significantly, the two regional ag
reements of the