History – Evaluate the impact of the Vietnam War on Australia’s veterans and families.
The Vietnam War was a war between the North Vietnamese (communists) against the South Vietnamese supported by U.S, Australia and its allies. This war had a significant impact on the physical, psychological and financial health of Australian veterans and their families.
Approximately 49,000 personnel were deployed into the Vietnam war. 521 Australians had died in action and 2400 veterans had been wounded. Veterans suffered horrific injuries, medical problems and even permanent disability. As a result, many veterans found it hard to settle back into their normal life. Some veterans had to adjust their homes because of the their medical problems and some could never work again.
Another major physical impact of the Vietnam War on the veterans and their families was Agent Orange (herbicides and insecticides used during the war period). The veterans that were exposed to the poisonous chemicals were known to have symptoms of cancers, tumours, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastro-urinary problems, muscular and nervous system disease, blurred vision, nasal problems, and blisters on the skin. In 1978, a report linked Agent Orange with causing these medical illnesses. However, it was not until 1994 that the Australian government acknowledged that Agent Orange was responsible for these diseases. It also affected the physical health of the children born to the veterans because they were more likely to have abnormalities and brain dysfunctions. Their wives were also more likely to suffer from miscarriages.
The Veterans lost two years of their life due to the war. Many Veterans found that when they came back to Australia, everyone had moved on without them. In addition, the Australian community resented them and didn’t highly regard their war efforts compared to previous war veterans. The veterans didn’t receive a “Welcome Home” parade until 1987, 20 years after the last soldiers...