Responses to communism:
How did Australia respond to the threat of communism after World War II? (Syllabus Question)
Australia’s response to the threat of communism in Asia after WWII included:
ANZUS Treaty (1951)
SEATO Alliance (1954)
Australia’s response to the threat of communism within Australia included:
Referendum to ban Communist Party
The background to communism after 1945:
After WWII, a new conflict arose called the Cold War:
Cold War: A contest between the democratic, capitalist nations of the West, led by the USA , and the communist countries in the East, lead by the Soviet Union.
Communism: State ownership of all enterprises; a centrally controlled economic system that would provide equally for everyone, and a one-party (communist) state.
Non-communists: Private ownership, allowing the free forces of the market to run the economy and giving the people a democratic choice of government.
The cold war:
Had a policy of trying to dominate certain parts of the world
Used spies, economic pressure and propaganda against each other
Steadily built up all types of weapons
‘Took each other on’ by threatening armed conflict but always pilling back from the brink.
Supported ‘proxy wars’ around the world (helped smaller nations or groups who were fighting nations or groups sympathetic to or receiving aid from the other side).
Western capitalist nations feared communist spread and hence Americans sought policy of containment (prevent further spread of communism).
Eastern communist nations believed the capitalist West were trying to destroy communism.
The spread of communism:
1945 Onward – There was a great fear in the West that communism had become an unstoppable force that might take over all capitalist countries.
There were many attempts by communists to seize power in many parts of the world, e.g. Latvia, Estonia, Lithuanian, Eastern Europe (except Yugoslavia), East Germany, China, South Korea and French Indochina.
As communism was spreading all over the world, it was feared that it might come to Australia by one of two ways:
From communist China pushing down through Asia
From within, as a result of Communist Party activity in Australia
The Korean War:
Following Japan’s defeat in 1945, the Korean Peninsula was temporarily occupied by Soviet forces in the north and US forces in the south.
US forces left the peninsula in 1949.
Consequently, in June 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea.
The US sought UN action against the invading North Korean forces.
The UN voted to send multi-national UN force to support South Korea.
Australia’s Involvement in Korea:
A naval force comprising an aircraft carrier and two destroyers
A squadron of the RAAF
Two army battalions
The ANZUS Treaty (1951):
In September, 1951, the United States, Australia and New Zealand signed the ANZUS Treaty
It implied that each nation would assist the other in the event of such an attack.
The Australian government feared the aggressive communism and needed a strong ally in the dangerous cold war climate of the time (US and New Zealand).
The ANZUS Treaty still exists and was used by some to justify Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War of 2003
New Zealand is currently not a part of the ANZUS Treaty.
The SEATO Alliance (1954):
In September, 1954, the South East Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) was signed.
It was a treaty between, US, Britain, Thailand, Pakistan, the Philippines, France, New Zealand and Australia. It implied the defence of each nation in the event of an attack.
It bound Australia closer to the US, acknowledged the dangers in the region and backed the idea of ‘forward defence’ as it took Australia’s ‘front line’ into Asia.
The response of Australian governments to the threat of communism (Syllabus Question):
The response to the threat of communism within Australia included:
Referendum to ban the Communist Party
The Petrov Affair
In 1949, the Liberal Part of…