In the 1960s communism was spreading to the biggest nations in the world. Communism is where by the government controls the nation. When communism was in Vietnam it hit North of Vietnam and slowly it was going to spread to the South. The ANZUS forces wanted all nations to be under capitalism. Capitalism is where there is private ownership of a business and property. When the news spread about communism there was a fear of communism in Asia and soon Australian. The Australian population was divided when it came to sending Australian soldiers to the Vietnam to help the America in the war. Some Australians felt that the decision to go to war in Vietnam was a good idea. These groups were the liberal government catholic church. Some groups like the R.S.L opposed to going to Vietnam War and the s.o.s mums and the Protestant Churches.
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When the Menzies government declared publicly that Australian troops were going to be sent to Vietnam there was a huge division in Australian society. Many people supported the government’s decision and many people opposed the government’s decision. The Liberal Party was all the way with the Menzies decision and the actions he had taken. When Menzies decided resigned in 1966. Harold Holt had taken over his position, the liberal party was behind him in every decision he made. Holt brought Australia in a very close relationship with America. He was very close friend with the American President Lyndon Baines Johnson. People referred to him as LBJ. In 1966 after a visit to Washington DC, where Holt was given a kind welcoming by Johnson, he acknowledged that when it came to Vietnam, Australia was behind America and ‘All the way with LBJ’. If South Vietnam were to fall to communism, and as the domino effect theory suggested would happen to other Asian countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Malaya were to follow and after the world would go under communism. Many people didn’t even care about Vietnam until they herd it was going to be under communism. Beside the reaction at the election polls, opinion polls also showed widespread support among the people for the government decision to go to war. In a Morgan Gallup a poll held in May 1965, 52% said they supported government policy in Vietnam, 37% opposed it and 11% were undecided. Some Australians thought that going to war was the right thing to do as some Australians have that mentally.
The anti-war protest began in 1962 when the first Australian troops were sent to Vietnam to fight with America. Most of the protest/anti-war movement was strongly against conscription. Many of the trade unions called the governments support of America’s decisions and foreign policy in Vietnam ‘blood for dollars’, or ‘diggers for dollars’. They believed the Australian government believed that if they sacrifice Australian troops America will boost Australia’s economy. In later years, no other group would be more associated with anti-war activities, but reaction in the universities immediately after the announcement was quite mixed, with some support as well as opposition. Every evening, television broadcast the horror of Vietnam around the world and brought it into Australian homes. By 1970, the anti-war sentiment had rapidly grown into huge rallies, marches, church services, sit-ins and candlelight processions. These united protest movements demanded a moratorium (a suspension) of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War moratorium rallies of 1970 appealed to people as a way of displaying their support for the end of the war. The first Moratorium Day was held in the United States with hundreds of thousands of people stopping work in a mass protest demanding that the United States government withdraw from Vietnam immediately.
Psychologically, Australia had been prepared for another war since the conflict in Korea. Compulsory military training and universal conscription had been briefly re-introduced in 1951. The Australian people had been told so often to prepare for war that they all thought it was only a matter of time before they would have to go into battle with the communists. Many people were thinking why wait until it’s too late and fight them when they invade our own land – let’s go out and meet this threat head on. This reason is pretty straightforward and is linked to the fear of communism. Geographically, Vietnam is on Australia’s doorstep. If South Vietnam were to fall to communism, and as the domino effect theory suggested would happen – other Asian countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Malaya were to follow. So Australia to go to war, in my opinion, was the right thing to do.
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