Essays academic service


A overview of australias presence in the vietnam war from 1962 to 1972

Thirty-seven men died while on active service and 187 were wounded. Two civilians serving with the surgical and Red Cross teams also lost their lives.

NZ's Vietnam War April 1963: NZ civilian surgical team arrives in Vietnam June 1964: V Coy replaced by V2 Coy December 1967: V2 Coy replaced by V3 Coy November 1968: W Coy replaced by W2 Coy May 1969: V3 Coy replaced by V4 Coy November 1969: W2 Coy replaced by W3 Coy May 1970: V4 Coy replaced by V5 Coy November 1970: W3 Coy withdrawn from Vietnam January 1971: Training teams withdrawn from Vietnam March 1975: NZ civilian surgical team withdrawn from Vietnam April 1975: More than one million soldiers and perhaps two million civilians died during the war.

This was the first war in which New Zealand did not fight alongside its traditional ally, Great Britain. Instead, our participation reflected this country's increasingly strong defence ties with the United States and Australia. New Zealand's involvement in Vietnam was highly controversial and attracted protest and condemnation at home and abroad. Few New Zealanders waved placards in the streets in 1965, but by the end of the decade thousands were marching against the war.

For a growing number of New Zealanders, their country's participation in the conflict triggered a re-examination of its foreign policy and identity.

Vietnam War

New Zealand joined its major allies in recognising the French-sponsored Bao Dai regime in 1950, but remained unsure about the strength and legitimacy of the non-communist forces in Vietnam.

The second Indo-China War began as a civil war. The New Zealand government resisted American pressure to contribute to the conflict because it doubted the effectiveness of external intervention and feared that this could spark a wider war, possibly with China. New Zealand certainly saw the fighting in Cold War terms. While firmly committed to the Western Allies' policy of containing the Soviets, it was reluctant to become involved in Vietnam.

Officials and politicians in Wellington had doubts about the prospects of success in defending South Vietnam. With substantial forces stationed in Malaysia in Confrontation with Indonesia from 1963New Zealand had few military resources to spare for Vietnam without introducing conscription.

The Vietnam War

Following the end of the Indonesia—Malaysia Confrontation, New Zealand came under renewed pressure from Washington to expand its commitment in Vietnam. Most operations in Phuoc Tuy were regular patrols or cordon and search operations. Large-scale actions such as the 1966 Battle of Long Tan were uncommon. A second, 18-strong team arrived in March 1972.

The Vietnam War had spilled over into neighbouring Cambodia in 1970. Training South Vietnamese soldiers As the training teams began their work, New Zealand progressively withdrew its combat forces, in line with reductions in American strength in Vietnam.

  • There has been much resentment within their ranks at perceived official and public indifference to the physical and psychological problems experienced by so many veterans due to exposure to Agent Orange and post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • In December 1972 they became the last Australian troops to come home, with their unit having seen continuous service in South Vietnam for ten and a half years;
  • V4 Coy replaced by V5 Coy November 1970;
  • All nine RAR battalions served in the taskforce at one time or another — at the height of Australian involvement it numbered some 8,500 troops;
  • NZ civilian surgical team withdrawn from Vietnam April 1975;
  • All were gone by the end of 1971.

All were gone by the end of 1971. All who served were regulars, or personnel who enlisted in the Regular Force in order to join V Force. Its small size meant that New Zealand, unlike its American and Australian allies, did not have to introduce conscription. The anti-war movement grew during the closing stages of the Vietnam War.

All New Zealand troops in Vietnam were volunteer regular personnel, so the protest movement did not have an anti-conscription edge, as it did in Australia and the United States. Anti-Vietnam War protesters, 1971 While the anti-war movement had little impact on New Zealand foreign policy, it did cause the National government to mount a detailed public defence of its stance on Vietnam.

It stressed that it was fulfilling treaty obligations and upholding the principles of collective security that had been so important to New Zealand since the Second World War. In the end, it was changing American policy, rather than protest activity, that led the New Zealand government to begin its own phased withdrawal of troops. The conflict and the anti-war movement ushered in a new era of debate about New Zealand's place in the world.

There were calls for a more independent foreign policy that was not subservient to the United States.

  • To that extent, the Holyoake government attained the central objective of its Vietnam policy;
  • The 8th Battalion departed in November but, to make up for the decrease in troop numbers, the Team's strength was increased and its efforts, like those of the taskforce, became concentrated in Phuoc Tuy province;
  • The Vietnam War had spilled over into neighbouring Cambodia in 1970.

Participation in the Vietnam War fractured what had largely been a foreign policy consensus between the two major political parties, National and Labour. While National continued to accept the need for 'forward defence' and regional alliances, Labour leaders advocated new thinking in foreign policy to allow New Zealand to follow a more independent course in world affairs. In terms of national security, our combat involvement represented the culmination of a line of official thinking based on the ANZUS alliance, the perceived dangers of Asian communism, and the commitment to forward defence in South-East Asia.

The outcome of the war prompted New Zealand to re-evaluate its alliance policy — most notably the forward defence strategy.

Indo-China War

Johnson The Vietnam experience was also important as a test of the country's relationship with the United States. To that extent, the Holyoake government attained the central objective of its Vietnam policy: For those who served in Vietnam, the war left a searing legacy. New Zealand Vietnam veterans, like their Australian and American counterparts, had to adjust to various consequences of fighting in an unpopular war. There has been much resentment within their ranks at perceived official and public indifference to the physical and psychological problems experienced by so many veterans due to exposure to Agent Orange and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another source of bitterness has been the sense that, unlike Second World War veterans, they did not receive adequate recognition for their professional service in a demanding theatre of operations.

Vietnam veterans march at Tribute 08 In recent years, there has been greater official sensitivity to these concerns. Parade 1998, a national reunion in Wellington in June 1998, received government assistance. The agreement also included an oral history project and the creation of a digital archive www. In 2014 it was revised by Gareth Phipps.