Australia


Because of its charter membership in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, Australia found herself drawn into the American sphere of influence in the Pacific. And it was a role she did not dislike. After the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Australians progressively warned the United States that the fall of South Vietnam would threaten democracies throughout Asia. Australian officials believed the domino theory. Australia had sent thirty military advisers to work with the ARVN on jungle and guerrilla tactics as early as 1962. After the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, Australia increased its troop contingent in South Vietnam to 1,300 people, with a large combat battalion at Bien Hoa. Under pressure from Washington in 1965 and 1966, Australia increased that commitment, eventually to more than 8,000 troops at its peak in October 1967. Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt constantly offered his support to Lyndon Johnson, politically as well as militarily, even to the point of using a conscription system to supply its troop commitment. Next to the South Koreans, Australia provided the most military support to the United States in the conflict.

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