Vietnam War Impact on New Zealand

870 Words Mar 11th, 2013 4 Pages
The Vietnam War had several social effects in New Zealand. The New Zealand publics’ opinion was polarized due to New Zealand’s involvement in the war, and public debate was generated over New Zealand’s foreign policy in particular how it relied on an alliance-based security. An anti-war movement developed in New Zealand, who disagreed with the strategy of forward defense. They also questioned the validity of the domino theory, and thought communism in south-East Asia did not in any way threaten New Zealand. The members of the anti-war movement also condemned the western intervention in Vietnam; they argued that they should not support a corrupt regime such as Ngo Dinh Diem, that it was immoral. The anti-war activists urged the New Zealand …show more content…
National however remained committed to an alliance based foreign policy, arguing a small country such as New Zealand had to rely and co-operate on powerful allies. New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War lead to the end of the earlier Bipartisan cold war consensus between National and Labor on foreign policy, marking it a significant turning point in the development of a new direction for New Zealand’s foreign policy.
The Vietnam War had both long term impacts on the New Zealand soldiers involved and more immediate impacts. A more immediate impact was while in Vietnam New Zealand soldiers were put under a lot of stress. The Viet Cong were an “invisible enemy” who fought using guerilla tactics. New Zealand soldiers also patrolled in silence, using hand gestures to communicate, so as to not reveal their position to the enemy. This meant the soldiers did not know where the Viet Cong were, and knew they could appear at any moment. This would have frightened the soldiers and put more stress on them, as they were never sure when they would run into the Viet Cong, knowing that each time they went round a corner they could run into the Viet Cong. Veterans recall “endless fear, tension and adrenalin.” during their time in Vietnam. Some of the missions New Zealand soldiers were required to go on resulted in the deaths of Vietnamese women and children, many soldiers suffered psychological damage as a result of