Allies in name alone

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  • Published 20150414
  • ISBN: 9781922182807
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

THE VIETNAM WAR lingers in the collective memory like some unspeakable crime, locked away in the nation’s attic. Contrary to popular belief, America did not compel Australia to join the war in Vietnam. Australia leapt at the chance – an opportunity to find ‘a way in and not a way out’, as Prime Minister Robert Menzies told his Cabinet on 17 December 1964.

Australia entered the war hoping its alliance with the United States would deliver real military and economic benefits. Australians dared to dream that the US would replace Britain as their regional protector and financial benefactor. However, when Australia withdrew from Vietnam it was left with less military and financial security, and more isolated in the Asia–Pacific region than ever. In hindsight this was easy to predict, but even at the time there were many warnings of such an outcome.

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