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4 Pages Essays / Projects Year: Pre-2020

The last of Australia’s Vietnam war servicemen returned in 1972. They returned to a society in the process of transforming itself. In particular, Australians were reassessing the place of the soldier in nationalist mythology; many expressed disillusionment with Australia’s military past. Nevertheless, all returning units received their Welcome Home marches. But their admittance back into civilian life entailed a silencing of their Vietnam experience. The Vietnam war—the “dirty war”—was dropped from the media and rarely discussed in the public sphere. Many measured their subdued reception in relation to the respect that soldiers of previous wars received. Consequently, some found this “public silence” humiliating, expressing feelings of rejection and neglect.

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