The steamy jungles of south-east Asia presented the stage for one of the deadliest confrontations of the Cold War where the philosophies of democracy, communism and nationalism clashed in bitter, brutal and bloody warfare.
Vietnam was born out of the ashes of the collapse of the French Empire but was a country divided with both sides dreaming of unification but without compromise when it came to their own beliefs. Lasting 19 years and claiming over two million lives, the Vietnam War was as much a battle of wills as it was of tactics and weapons and in this regard, the communist north and their supporters in the south – the Viet Cong – had will to spare, so much so that not even the technology of the west could blunt their drive for victory.
While South Vietnam eventually fell to the communist north, history particularly in the west views the conflict as an American tragedy given the damage it did to American prestige, influence and even its own society. However, the United States was by no means alone when it came to defending the South Vietnamese. Far from it for they called upon a number of key allies to support them not just militarily but diplomatically. In this episode, we will examine the involvement of one such key ally in the war for Vietnam – Australia.