The War in Vietnam
Its Impact on Australian Society
by Scott Brodie
After World War II Australians regarded themselves as a warrior nation, able to go anywhere to protect freedom. In the early 1960s, under US pressure, the Menzies government committed a team of military advisers to the War in Vietnam. In 1965 this was expanded to a battalion of combat troops.
It became necessary to reintroduce conscription, provoking one of the most divisive times in Australian history. Although initially popular, the Vietnam commitment eventually divided the nation, family member against family member. A culture of protest erupted across the country.
The involvement conferred a traumatic legacy on those who fought there and a political legacy that lasted a generation. After 1975 Australia welcomed a huge influx of refugees.
This is the story of Australia’s part in the War in Vietnam, and how a generation defied the government and altered history, changing Australian society forever.