Alfred Deakin Research Institute

Australia: fighting other people's wars?

Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:45:00 +1100

Alfred Deakin Research Institute Adjunct Professor, Peter Edwards, has a brand new book available:

Australia and The Vietnam War.

From UNSW Press:

The Vietnam War was Australia's longest and most controversial military commitment of the twentieth century, ending in humiliation for the United States and its allies with the downfall of South Vietnam. The war provoked deep divisions in Australian society and politics, particularly since for the first time young men were conscripted for overseas service in a highly contentious ballot system. The Vietnam era is still identified with diplomatic, military and political failure.

Was Vietnam a case of Australia fighting 'other people’s wars' ? Were we really 'all the way' with the United States? How valid was the 'domino theory'? Did the Australian forces develop new tactical methods in earlier Southeast Asian conflicts, and just how successful were they against the unyielding enemy in Vietnam?

In this landmark book, award-winning historian Peter Edwards skillfully unravels the complexities of the global Cold War, decolonisation in Southeast Asia, and Australian domestic politics to provide new, often surprising, answers to these questions. From the Cabinet room in Canberra to the Viet Cong strongholds in Phuoc Tuy province, Australia and the Vietnam War provides fresh insights drawn from three decades of work by the historians and researchers who produced the highly acclaimed Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975. Told through the experiences of politicians, diplomats, military leaders, protesters, and soldiers and their families, this book is much more than a war history: it is a major contribution to understanding Australia as it faces the challenges of the twenty-first century.
 

Peter Edwards was the Official Historian and general editor of the nine-volume Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975. He was also the author of the volumes dealing with politics, strategy and diplomacy, Crises and Commitments (1992) and A Nation at War (1997). His other books include Robert Marsden Hope and Australian Public Policy (2011), Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins (2006), Permanent Friends? Historical Reflections on the Australian-American Alliance (2005), and Prime Ministers and Diplomats (1983).  Currently an Adjunct Professor at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute of Deakin University, he is a Member of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and a former Trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

Order online

Watch Peter interviewed by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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Image of ADRI Adjunct Professor Peter Edwards' latest publication.
ADRI Adjunct Professor Peter Edwards' latest publication available now through UNSW Press.
Showcase facts
  • Peter Edwards is a Member of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and a former Trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
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