Author(s): Roberto Rabel
The Vietnam War provoked a major crisis in New Zealand attitudes to foreign policy, breaking for the first time the almost universal consensus about how the country should handle political and military issues beyond its shores. The despatch of troops to assist the US in Vietnam divided the country, enraged a generation and forced the government to publicly defend its policy. This is the first detailed study of these events and is the fruit of many years of research in government archives, newspapers, records of the protest movement and a range of other sources. Starting with the first Indochina War in the 1950s it covers the story of New Zealand's relations with Vietnam up to the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s. It explores the diplomatic history of the engagement, which is not well known or understood, and shows that officials and politicians in fact entered the war with extreme reluctance. Its account of the passionate domestic politics provoked by the war will also be of wide interest.
"A particularly refreshing addition to the Vietnam War canon, offering a new perspective into the conflict . . . [a] thorough and well-researched journey." --"British Review of New Zealand Studies"
Roberto Rabel, previously in the history department at the University of Otago, is now director of the International Office at that university. His published work includes Between East and West: Trieste, the United States, and the Cold War, 1941-1954 (Duke University Press, 1988). He has edited several books including, The American century?: in retrospect and prospect (Praeger, 2002). He has contributed chapters to various works such as, A Fair Sort of Battering: New Zealanders Remember the Italian Campaign, Megan Hutching (ed), for which he wrote the Introduction; The Oxford Companion to Military History edited by Ian McGibbon, for which he wrote the Vietnam war essay; Kia Kaha: New Zealanders in the Second World War, John Crawford (ed), to which he contributed, "'A hell of a way to end a war': New Zealanders in Trieste, 1945"; Going Public, Jock Phillips and Bronwyn Dalley (eds), which included his chapter "War as Public History: Past and Future" and Immigration and National Identity in New Zealand: One People, Two Peoples, Many Peoples?, edited by Stuart William Greif for which he collaborated with historian Tom Brooking to produce "Neither British nor Polynesian". He has written many articles relating to the diplomatic, political and social dimensions of New Zealand's involvement in the Vietnam War and other aspects of New Zealand's diplomatic and military history as well as many academic book reviews, conference papers and seminars.
Introduction; 1. New Zealand and the First Indochina War, 1945-54; 2. From Geneva to the Tonkin Gulf: a Decade of Decisions Deferred, 1954-64; 3. In the Cold War's Shadow: The Origins and Evolution of Domestic Debate about the Vietnam War, 1945-64; 4. 'An acceptable Price to Pay': The diplomacy of Combat Intervention in the Vietnam War, December 1964-May 1965; 5. The Domestic Politics of Combat Intervention, January-June 1965; 6. Part of the Way with LBJ: New Zealand's Deferment of an Expanded Commitment, June 1965-December 1966; 7. "A War of Words": Defining the Domestic Political Debate About Vietnam, June-December 1965; 8. The Domestic Politics of the Vietnam War in an Election Year, 1966; 9. Paying a Higher Premium: The Escalation of New Zealand's Military Effort, 1967-1968; 10. Dialogue of the Deaf: The Domestic Politics of the Vietnam Conflict, 1967-1968; 11. "Concluding a Chapter": The Diplomacy of Military Disengagement from Vietnam, 1969-72; 12. The Fracturing of Foreign Policy Consensus, 1969-72; 13. Epilogue: New Zealand and the Ending of the Vietnam War 1972-75; 14. Conclusion: The Historical Significance of New Zealand's Vietnam Experience