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Australia and The Vietnam War

Fascinating People Fascinating Places

Daniel Mainwaring

Documentary, Society & Culture:documentary, Society & Culture, History

51.1K Ratings

🗓️ 29 September 2023

⏱️ 31 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


60,000 Australian troops participated in the Vietnam War. Their experiences differed greatly from those of US troops. In this episode, Dr. Ian Hodges of The Australian Department of Veterans Affairs discusses Australia’s Vietnam War Experience

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On the 3rd of September 1939 Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies addressed the nation.


Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that in consequence of a persistence by Germany and her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that is the result Australia is also war.


Australia's involvement in the war was inevitable just as it had been a generation earlier.


But unlike World War I, where fighting was concentrated in Europe and Asia Minor,


Australians spent much of World War II fighting closer to home in the Pacific and East Asia.


It was here that the Japanese had invaded territories such as Burma and Indochina, which were ruled by Britain and France respectively.


Despite the eventual defeat of the Japanese, the age of empires was all but over.


Two and a half decades later, when Menzies, again in his role as


Prime Minister, saw the Ozies go to war. This time it was about protecting Vietnam, a sovereign nation that a generation earlier had been


part of the colony known as French Indochina. The map had changed and the threats facing Australia and its allies had changed from


fascists for the spread of communism.


In this episode I speak with the award-winning author and historian Dr Ian and Hodges of the


Australian Department of Veterans Affairs about his country's experiences in Vietnam.


Despite the breakup of the British Empire across Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. Australia, like Canada, retained the British


monarch as head of state. In the early 1950s, Robert Menzies was keen to emphasize the closeness of the United Kingdom and Australia.


Australia, some people say, is trailing at the heels of imperialist America.


All I need say is that Australia is British


and has a great and tried and common family allegiance.


Despite these views, Australia's role in the world and its relationship with Britain


was starting to change, as Dr Hodges explains.


Menzies was considered a massive anglophile


and he was in the early part of his long reign as Prime Minister.


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