Vietnam: international perspectives on a long war
An international conference at the Australian War Memorial
Thursday 15 – Friday 16 August 2013
The Vietnam War continues to cast a long shadow. At the height of the Cold War it dominated global attention for over a decade. Although the war
ended almost 40 years ago, it confronted political leaders, military commanders, and soldiers in the field with dilemmas that are still relevant today. Controversy over military intervention and the conduct of the war generated deep divisions in political and cultural life and left an indelible impact on American and Australian society. The war also shaped Australian and US defence and foreign policy for a generation and left lingering after-effects in Vietnam and the neighbouring nations of South-east Asia.
Many questions remain about the war: whether the strategic goals were relevant or attainable, whether the tactics employed were effective or appropriate, and whether the morality, cost and consequences of the long war could be justified by either side.
This conference gathered leading historians, authors, former war correspondents, and veterans from Australia and overseas to bring multinational perspectives to bear on these and other questions as they reflected on the course and conduct of the military struggle, and the enduring memory of the conflict. This was an informative and engaging experience for all participants and should serve to reshape many popular perceptions of our longest and most controversial war.
The proceedings were televised by Sky News for their Public Affairs channel, and the papers will be published by the Memorial in due course.
The conference was convened by the Australian War Memorial, and was proudly supported by Boeing Australia.
The support of the Australian Government through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is gratefully acknowledged.