The Vietnam War began in 1960 with the introduction of American troops into Vietnam. At this time my father was 7 years old and can not recall knowing much about the war.
Australia fought in the Vietnam War from 1965 until 1972. At that time the war was being fought between the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong on one side and the Americans, Australians and South Vietnamese on the other. The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were fighting to unify North Vietnam and South Vietnam as a communist country. The Americans and Australians were fighting alongside the South Vietnamese armed forces to stop the takeover.
The fear of communism eventually overtaking Australia was the initial and main reason for Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1962 Prime Minister Menzies introduced the belief to the Australian public, that if Vietnam fell to communism, then other countries in South East Asia would fall one by one to communism. This theory was named the "domino theory." And was the reason for our desire to be closely aligned with the USA for our protection.
Menzies re-introduced conscription in 1965. This decision caused one of the greatest divisions in public opinion in Australia's history. The manpower in Australian armies was not great enough to continue sending men to Vietnam. Fortunately the war finished before my fathers" name went into the "Conscription Lottery." He believes he was very fortunate because he did not want to go to war, as there appeared to be little justification for being there.
At the start of Australia's involvement in combat in Vietnam in 1965, most Australians supported sending Australian troops to fight in it, however as the years passed their views changed. Many did not believe that Australia should be involved in fighting in Vietnam at all, like many others of that time my father strongly opposed the Australian involvement. There was no justification for us being there, he said, except in response to the propaganda that the " Red Tide" (communism) was taking over the world.