Australia and the Vietnam War

Report
Australia
and the
Vietnam War
Ashley Wood
St Leonard’s College
Plan for the session
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Unit 4 key quick review
Origins of the conflict
Australia and Vietnam
Useful resources, online, print…
Questions, discussion, approaching the
SAC
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
Dispelling the myth –
70
60
50
40
F ig h t o n
Brin g b a c k
U n d e c id e d
30
20
10
0
S e p -65
S e p -66
M ay -67
O ct-68
D e c-68
A p r-69
A u g -69
O ct-69
O ct3 70
O ct31 70
Gallup Poll on the question ‘Fight on in Vietnam or bring forces back now?’
Origins – French
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•
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•
Influence from 17th 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
Origins – World War II
• Weakening of
European colonial
possessions
• Japan occupied
Vietnam
• Viet Minh fought the
Japanese until the
end of the war
Origins – Ho’s Declaration
• September 2 1945
• 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
Origins – The Indochina War
• 1946-1954
• Vietnamese wanted US help – compared
their situation to that of US before
independence
• Played out against Cold War tensions
• US had other concerns
Origins – Dien Bien Phu
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•
•
•
French out
Communists in
US worried
Geneva ’54
Origins – US involvement
• Elections to be held in
1956
• Communists might win!
• Elections refused
• Insurrection begins
against Diem regime in
the South
News Weekly, July 1954
Nearer, clearer, deadlier – The Bulletin 1950
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
The Red Claw, The Bulletin 1958
US and Australian involvement
• 1962 – advisors from both US and Aust.
• 1965 – 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”
‘A murky shadow has fallen over this part of the world,
reaching to our very shores’ – Menzies
The Australian, June 1965
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
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
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
• “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
Conscription
• Nothing new – 1911-1929, 1940-1951,
1965-1972
• “The government has therefore decided
that there is no alternative to the
introduction of selective compulsory
service”
– Menzies, November 1964
Dispelling the myth –
80
70
60
For
50
Ag ain st
40
Un d ecid ed
30
20
10
0
Jun61
J u n - Au g - J a n 62
63
64
No v - S e p 64
65
Ap r-
J u l-
66
66
No v - No v - D e c - Au g 66
67
68
69
Gallup polls on conscription 1961-1970
O c t-
Ap r-
O c t-
69
70
70
Supporting the myth –
60
50
40
30
Send to Vietnam
K eep in Aust.
20
U ndecided
10
0
D ec-65
Feb-66
Apr-66
Jul-66
D ec-66
Gallup Polls on sending conscripts to Vietnam
Aug-67
80
70
1 6 -2 0 yrs
60
2 1 -2 9
50
3 0 -4 9
40
5 9 -6 9
30
Ov er 70
20
10
0
E n d C o n s c rip tio n
C o n tin u e
U n d e c id e d
C o n s c rip tio n
Opposition to conscription by age (1971)
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!..’
Save Our Sons
• 1965
• Opposed conscription
• ‘hysterical’, ‘communist’
SOS
Paul Rigby, The West Australian, 1966
Youth Campaign Against Conscription
• Opposed conscription, but more so
deployment to Vietnam
Key events 1965-1970
• October 1966 – LBJ’s visit
Key events 1965-1970
• 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
“Let this session of congress be known as the session which
declared all out war on poverty” – LBJ January 1964
Bruce Petty
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
What changed public opinion?
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Publicity
Australian deaths
Tet and the ‘television war’
Media
Broader base of the protest movement
International pressures
Remember – April 1970
70
60
50
40
F ig h t o n
Brin g b a c k
U n d e c id e d
30
20
10
0
S e p -65
S e p -66
M ay -67
O ct-68
D e c-68
A p r-69
A u g -69
O ct-69
O ct3 70
O ct31 70
Gallup Poll on the question ‘Fight on in Vietnam or bring forces back now?’
Preparing for SAC/Exam
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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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