The New Zealand’s contribution of military personnel and the involvement in the Vietnam War caused a significant division amongst the nation’s people with people having opposing opinions on whether New Zealand’s response was justified. The Vietnam War was essentially a civil war between the divided South Vietnam and North Vietnam and the two political views that the nation was categorised as; Southern Vietnam primarily being non-communists and the Northern communists. It was the Northern communists whom wanted to conquer the South reuniting Vietnam as a unified communist nation. As this was a civil war foreign nations did not interfere however New Zealand and the United States were amongst the few that had decided to intervene. America was the instigator in joining the Vietnamese civil war which led into New Zealand’s contribution of military personnel to assist there American allies in the fight against communism. It was this military and economic assistance from New Zealand’s government that provoked the nation’s division causing opposing views throughout the country about whether this involvement was a justified response to Vietnam’s civil war.
New Zealand being a democracy led country was highly opposed to communism which was shown by the government’s decision to provide military and monetary assistance in the hope of defeating North Vietnam and their communist views. New Zealand’s response was considered as justifiable due to the importance of the ANZUS pact, the ‘Domino theory’, the Truman doctrine and the SEATO organisation.
The ANZUS treaty the primary source for New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War making the nation’s response justifiable as there was binding alliances that had to be considered before the decision for intervention. The ANZUS a mutual defence pact that bound New Zealand, Australia and America into defending the Pacific Ocean through co-operation creating collective security amongst the three signing countries. As Vietnam was located in the Pacific Ocean New Zealand was pressured into conforming to the ANZUS agreement by assisting America in defending South Vietnam from the Northern threat of communism. New Zealand was obliged to follow the ANZUS policies otherwise they would risk damaging their alliance with America as their co-operation had already been agreed upon in the ANZUS treaty. The alliance with America was vital for New Zealand as it gave a collective security providing the nation with protection from the ever increasing threat that communism posed on the country which is why appeasing America by contributing this assistance was necessary. Britain was also pulling out of her Eastern colonies, which included New Zealand, which made this alliance with America even more important as Britain would not provide protection the country with the required defence which led to the government’s decision of becoming involved in Vietnam as doing otherwise would jeopardise the vital alliance with America. 1“The parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any one of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific.” an excerpt from the ANZUS pact shows that New Zealand only needed to “consult” on Vietnam’s situation rather than intervene like the American’s had insisted. The New Zealand government knew this intervention wasn’t required of them in the agreement yet they still conformed to America’s pressures which show how important their continued alliance was to the country. New Zealand’s contribution was justified by the need to follow the ANZUS to keep an alliance with the Americans intact, New