Australian Soldiers in South Africa and Vietnam: Words from by Effie Karageorgos, Jeremy Black

By Effie Karageorgos, Jeremy Black

The South African and Vietnam Wars provoked dramatically various reactions in Australians, from pro-British jingoism at the eve of Federation, to the anti-war protest hobbies of the Sixties. against this, the letters and diaries of Australian squaddies written whereas at the South African and Vietnam battlefields exhibit that their reactions to the battle they have been battling have been strangely not like these at the domestic fronts from which they got here.

Australian infantrymen in South Africa and Vietnam follows those wrestle males from enlistment to the warfare entrance and analyses their phrases along theories of soldiering to illustrate the transformation of squaddies as a reaction to advancements in army process, in addition to altering civilian opinion. during this method, the booklet illustrates the power of a soldier's hyperlink to their domestic entrance lives.

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In December 1972, Labor’s Gough Whitlam won the Federal Election, breaking a pattern of Australian Liberal Party rule that had lasted since 1949. 138 The last troops returned to Australia in June 1973, spelling the completion of over a decade of participation in Vietnam, which saw almost 60,000 Australian men fight, approximately 15,000 of which were National Servicemen. Those who lost their lives while in Vietnam numbered 521, a total of 200 of these being conscripts. These numbers contrast greatly with American deaths during the war, which exceeded 50,000 men, and provide some context as to Australia’s contribution to the war, but in no way diminishes the impact of the war on Australian society.

37 Financial concerns did not always cause eagerness for the war – in fact, in a few cases the very opposite resulted. Some parents of military age men attempted to convince authorities that their sons were not eligible to enlist, for fear of losing some extra help at home. 41 In these cases, it is clear that family priorities outweighed the need to demonstrate loyalty to the Empire, which would have intensified for rural residents, particularly in a time of drought. Although there was no apparent disapproval expressed by authorities towards those who wrote the above letters, many who appeared unenthusiastic about the war effort were often branded disloyal, or a ‘pro-Boer’.

Those who lost their lives while in Vietnam numbered 521, a total of 200 of these being conscripts. These numbers contrast greatly with American deaths during the war, which exceeded 50,000 men, and provide some context as to Australia’s contribution to the war, but in no way diminishes the impact of the war on Australian society. The war itself ended in 1975, after six years of gradual withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. 139 The triumphant entry of North Vietnamese tanks into Saigon on 30 April, after the final offensive of the war, saw a communist victory and cessation of hostilities in Vietnam.

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