Australia became involved in the Vietnam War because Australia felt threatened by the expansion of communism. Many people within Australia believed that if South Vietnam became a communist country, other countries would soon follow. Some Australians saw what was happening in Vietnam as a threat to Australia’s security. This was called the “domino effect.”
Growing tension between The USSR and the USA In the fifties And sixties was another reason too strengthen Australia’s defence alliance.
The SEATO treaty of 1954 was, the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty provided for collective defensive action to be taken in the event of an attack on the United States, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand or Pakistan.
The possibility of communism spreading to Australia from Asia was regarded with increasing seriousness as political change came to the region. It was believed that if one nation fell under communist domination, its neighbours would fall like in a line of dominoes. In 1955, Australian troops were sent to Malaya to assist the British against communist guerrilla forces. In March 1960, there were strong communist influences in the Indonesian Government giving rise to sense of threat of communist aggression close to Australian territory.
The Indo-Chinese region had been a colony of France during the nineteenth century. During this time and early twentieth century, resentment against French rule was growing. By 1930 only twenty five percent of Vietnamese farmers owned their own land. A national movement of independence and freedom from foreign rule began.
In 1941, Ho Chi Minh founded the League for Vietnamese Independence. This movement aimed to free Vietnam from the French and Japanese, who were taking their place.
By 1945 the Japanese were withdrawing, Ho Chi Minh declared the free public of Vietnam. The French refused to recognize the new republic and war broke out. From 1945 to 1954 the Vietminh fought the French, finally defeating them.
In July 1954 the Geneva Accords were signed to conclude the Indochina War and Vietnam was temporarily partitioned, at the 17th parallel, into a Communist-ruled north, backed by the USSR and China, and non-Communist south, supported by the United States. Under the terms of the accords national elections were to be held by July 1956 to decide on the unification of the country. When the elections were stalled, North Vietnamese forces and Communist guerrillas resumed an insurgency war of terror and political indoctrination against the government and people of South Vietnam.
In 1962 was Australia’s first active involvement in Vietnam when a group of military advisors were sent to train the South Vietnamese army. From 1955 to May 1960 the USA sent three hundred, then up to six hundred and eighty five advisors to train the South Vietnamese army. In 1960 the USA’s President Kennedy increased the number of advisors to three thousand two hundred. By 1968 five hundred US troops were involved.
The first Australian troops were sent in nineteen sixty five, the first infantry battalion and HMAS Sydney were sent to Vietnam. Around this time war escalated on North Vietnam