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The American Alliance

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago

The American Alliance


"All the way with LBJ"



Keshia Cohen and Tom Williamson







Australia has often been a strong ally of the United States of America, since the fighting in the Pacific theatre towards the end of World War II. Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt was a likeable man and managed to establish a personal friendship with the US President Lyndon Baines Johnson. This was important as the Vietnam War was unpopular within the United States and Australia offered much needed support in the war effort. The phrase 'all the way with LBJ' originated when Holt announced Australia's support for the United States in a visit to Washington in 1966. It had earlier been used by the Democrats in their campaign to rally support for Johnson during US Presidential elections. Johnson also valued Holt's support and was the first US president to visit Australia while in office. A poll by The Australian in 1966 showed that 64% of the population still supported the war effort, and Johnson's visit coincided with an upcoming federal election, allowing Holt to score a tremendous electoral victory (a record majority of 41 seats in the House of Representatives). The closing of the Australian-American alliance during the Vietnam War built the foundation on which the relations between the two nations could then flourish. This relationship still holds particular significance for modern Australia.




The Changing Relationship with Britain and the US


During WWII, Australia's relationship moved away from Britain and towards the US. Australia had always depended on a greater power for protection and that power had traditionally been Britain. Britain had become more interested in furthering their interests in Europe, rather than fighting in the Pacific, and so Australia had to find the support of the US, who had been brought into the war by the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Prime Minister John Curtin was simply stating the obvious, that the US had both the power and the capacity to aid Australia in fighting Japan. Australia was one of the best points to launch a counter-offensive against Japanese forces and in 1940 the US planned to use Australia as a military base. In the same year Australia established its first embassy in Washington. At the close of 1941, after Pearl Harbour but before the disaster at Signapore and attacks on Australia itself, Curtin made powerful appeal not to Britain, but to the US. This signalled the closening of relations with the United States and LBJ.




The Pearl Harbour attack brought the United States into the war

(from http://www.freedom.hu/IIvh/Esemenyek/1939-41/pics/pearl/PearlHarbourColorado.jpg)




Johnson and Holt's Personal Relationship


It was Harold Holt ‘most spectacular friendship’ with US President Lyndon Johnson that indicates the importance for Australia of the relationship with the United States in 1966 and 1967. As mentioned before, Holt was a likeable person and appealed to Johnson. Holt had first met Lyndon Johnson in Melbourne during 1942. More than 20 years later, both men had become the leaders of their respective nations, and Holt met with President Johnson on a visit to Washington in July 1966, en route to England. At that meeting, Holt picked up the Democratic Party’s campaign slogan ‘All the way with LBJ’. He first used the slogan in a speech in Washington, June 1966. This speech was published in The Australian newspaper on July 1 1966.


"You have in us not merely an understanding friend but one staunch in the belief of the need for our presence in Vietnam... We are not there because of our friendship, we are there because, like you, we believe it is right to be there and, like you, we shall stay there as long as it seems necessary to achieve the purposes of the South Vietnamese Government and the purposes that we join in formulating and progressing together... And so, sir, in the lonelier and perhaps even more disheartening moments which come to any national leader, I hope there will be a corner of your mind and heart which takes cheer from the fact that you have an admiring friend, a stauch friend that will be all the way with LBJ."


It was the strength of this unusual personal relationship between the two world leaders that aided in the strengthening of the relationship between the two nations in a tumultuous period of time. Transcript of a phone call between the two leaders.




 Harold Holt with Lyndon Baines Johnson in Melbourne

(from http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/cmsImages/pm/holt_harold/thumbs/th_a1200_L59270.jpg)


(Left: http://abc.net.au/news/indepth/featureitems/2002/foreignpolicy/all_the_way.jpg; Right: http://www.nps.gov/archive/lyjo/Jpegs/LBJ-all-the-way.jpg)



ANZUS- Australia's Treaty with the US and New Zealand


The  was developed during WWII, where Australian, New Zealand and US troops all fought together to counter the threat of the Japanese invasion. The Vietnam War created similar fears of a Communist invasion, and thus the ANZUS treaty become important in the support of both New Zealand and Australia in the war effort. ANZUS was intended to give Australia added protection from communism and any other threats to national security.


Following the end of World War II, the United States was eager to normalise relations with Japan, particularly as the Korean War was still raging a short distance from Japan. With the involvement of communist China and possibly the Soviet Union in Korea, the Cold War was threatening to become a full-scale 'hot' war. However, Australia and New Zealand were extremely reluctant to finalise a peace treaty with Japan which would allow for Japanese rearmament. Both countries relented when an Australian and New Zealand proposal for a three-way security treaty (ANZUS) was accepted by the United States.


The resulting treaty was concluded at San Francisco on 1 September 1951, and entered into force on 29 April 1952. The treaty bound the signatories to recognise that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of them would endanger the peace and safety of the others. It stated;


'The Parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific'.


The three nations also pledged to maintain and develop their individual and collective defensive capabilities, with the US developing a base at Pine Gap in Central Australia. The issue of US bases within Australia is one of political contention even in modern Australia.



Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, 1952. The first meeting of ANZUS military representatives. Seated from the left: Lieutenant General S.F. Rowell, Admiral A.W. Radford and Major General W.G. Gentry.

(from http://www.awm.gov.au/korea/origins/anzus/044320.htm)


 You can read the full document of the Treaty by clicking HERE (not here).


Criticism of the American Alliance


Whilst Holt stated that his friendship with Johnson was reflected in the strong relationship between Australia and the US, former Australian diplomat and foreign affairs expert Alan Renouf was more cynical in his assessment of the relationship. In the The Frightened Country, his 1979 book on Australian foreign policy, Renouf says that Holt was "seduced" by President Johnson, and says that the Holt government was criticised for not doing enough in the war effort and was repeatedly pressured by the Johnson administration to increase its troop commitment. On taking office, Holt declared that Australia had no intention of increasing its commitment to the Vietnam War, but a month later, in March 1966, he announced that Australia would treble its troop commitment to 4,500, including 1500 National Service Conscripts. Two months later Holt announced the death of the first National Service conscript in Vietnam, Private Errol Wayne Noack, 21. Just before Holt's death, he also approved a further deployment of troops, committing a third battalion to Vietnam. When the Labor party came into power they brought a shift away from the futhering of the American alliance.


The closening of relations with the US has also come under recent political criticism within Australia, with the political and military links formed during Vietnam once again being called upon in the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Current Liberal Prime Minister John Howard has continued the work of Holt in his strengthening of relations with the US.

(From http://www.beo.ie/2005-09/John%20Howard.jpg)


Related Pages on this Wiki





AustralianPolitics.com 2007, ANZUS, viewed 6/2007, http://www.australianpolitics.com/foreign/anzus/


Australian Parliamentary Library, 2007, Upside, Downside: ANZUS: After Fifty Years, viewed 6/2007, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/cib/2001-02/02cib03.htm


International Herald Tribune, 2004, Australia : All politics is local, viewed 6/2007 http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/07/02/a7.php


The Australian Newspaper, Phonecall reveals Harold Holt went all the way with LBJ, viewed 6/2007, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20805083-28078,00.html



This page has been viewed times since June 8 2007.




Comments (9)

Anonymous said

at 8:50 am on Jun 13, 2007

Wiki is not attention grabbing as the page is quite bland and boring. The Wiki is very easy to understand and the information given is of a very high standard and value.Good structure is in place as information is put under relevant subtitles and headings. Links are used to other pages that could be useful. The page is very visually and orally pleasing as it is neat and easy to use, but the page could be a bit more interesting in terms of background colour and font used. Pictures used are very good. The information does get to the point and it is very useful.

Anonymous said

at 8:53 am on Jun 13, 2007

Well Structured with formal writing. Good use of pictures through the text relevant to the issue
Valuable information and source links included nice job. :D

Anonymous said

at 9:01 am on Jun 13, 2007

It was reasonably visually appealing but did not immediately demand attention. The information contained was relevant and detailed however part of the criteria was 'to the point' which is contrary to your report. It contained numerous links which were relevant to the information. It fulfilled the rest of the criteria. jacqui loves kesh

Anonymous said

at 9:12 am on Jun 13, 2007

Hey, Willo has the intellegence to type so much. Thats fine, give him a chance.

Anonymous said

at 9:13 am on Jun 13, 2007

Yeh I agree with Laura it is too long and bland. More visual aids and colour are needed to lighten the mood and create a more relaxed atmoshpere.
Jontao And Chris

Anonymous said

at 9:20 am on Jun 13, 2007

kesha and willooooooooow inda house... lol jokes its lookin almost as freak as cale's well done good info and pics! nice wiki

Anonymous said

at 9:18 am on Jun 14, 2007

Hi, Jonathan Mui here. Mike Fleming and I have been assigned the task of editing your page. Hard job, since it's very polished! There were comments that it was "bland" so we did some colouring. I also proof-read for spelling & grammar (only a couple of things there.) We also added some more links and an LBJ badge. JM, MF 14/06/07

Anonymous said

at 8:39 am on Jun 19, 2007

On the matter of Criticism of the American Alliance, did you know that John Howard doesn't use a bucket in the shower. How hypocritical is that, and I am serious.

Anonymous said

at 10:08 am on Jun 19, 2007

Hi, J Mui here. I found a link containing the full text of the ANZUS treaty so I put it on your page. Hope it's helpful

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