Why did Australia join the Vietnam War?

Essay by sydneyh March 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0 6 reviews

Downloaded 108 times

The Vietnam War was different from any other battle fought in the history of mankind. Unlike other wars this confrontation was not engaged in order to conquer but to reform. Greed and desire which are the usual elements that spur wars into existence were absent from this one.

The Vietnam War was fought between 1959 and 1970. It began as a determined attempt by Communist guerrillas in the South, backed by Communist North Vietnam, to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. This struggle quickly widened into a full scale international war and the US promptly sent troops to help South Vietnam in its struggle against North Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by communist USSR and communist China and South Vietnam was assisted by USA and some 40 other countries including Australia. Though the US and its allies were gaining an upper hand in the war Australia decided to help South Vietnam by sending in reinforcements, most of them, the victims of conscription.

The reasons for Australia's voluntary involvement in the war are varied. The most important being the profound impact of the 'Domino Theory' or the forward defense strategy on the society. Australians, along with most other nations believed in this notion. It assumed that if one country fell under the influence of communism, the neighboring countries will also fall, just like a pack of dominoes. This repetitive pattern would never culminate unless forcefully stopped. To some extent this generalization was correct. Communism had spread from the Soviet Union to Vietnam in a very little amount of time. The proximity of the communist Vietnam to Australia was one of the major aspects that made Australians feel that they had to defend their nation from Communism by implementing the forward defense stratagem.

The involvement of the US was another development...