What was Australia's and New Zealand's attitude toward NATO during Cold War?

Oct 2018
1,863
Sydney
What were Australia's treaty obligations if not faced with an immediate or direct threat?
Do you mean with regard to the British Empire? As MG1962a notes, there were no official obligations on the matter of war. However, the colonies/Australia had consistently sent troops to fight for the British (the Maori war, Sudan 1885, the Boxer Rebellion, the Boer War, WWI), and Australia expected protection as a dominion of the empire. Australia wasn't actually a de jure sovereign state prior to 1942. The 1931 Statute of Westminster legally transformed Australia from a self-governing colony to a sovereign state when it was adopted by the Australian government in 1942, and was retroactively applied to Australian legislation from 1939 onwards, that is, from the beginning of WWII. This isn't a well-known fact among Australians, since, culturally, we place more importance on the 1901 federation of the six Australian colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia than we do the act of gaining legal independence from Britain. After all, most Australians can trace their heritage to Britain, and the Queen is still our official head of state.

In the 50s and 60s Australia continued to militarily support Britain in the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, but WWII had changed things. During WWII MacArthur had based himself in Australia, and in 1951 Australia, the US and NZ entered upon the ANZUS Treaty in the interests of collective security.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,752
Dispargum
What were Australia's treaty obligations if not faced with an immediate or direct threat?
Do you mean with regard to the British Empire?
No, I mean with regard to the US, NATO, or any other treaty that would bring Australia into this hypothetical war between NATO and the WARSAW PACT or into a renewed war in Korea circa 1980 +/- 10 years. Were there any scenarios where Australia was obliged to enter a war? Were there any scenarios where Australia was likely to enter a war?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,632
Las Vegas, NV USA
Rest of world wouldn't be irrelevant. Fir instance, when Fulda Gap is being forced by two full tank armies, what happens to Washington DC or Moscow?
It would in the sense that a conventional thrust by the Warsaw Pact either quickly reaches its objectives OR it does not and a cease fire is agreed to. Otherwise strategic nukes will be launched with catastrophic results. No one wins a full on nuclear war. Even this assumes the West would allow the Soviet occupation of all Germany when the only alternative is all out nuclear war.
 
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aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
It would in the sense that a conventional thrust by the Warsaw Pact either quickly reaches its objectives OR it does not and a cease fire is agreed to. Otherwise strategic nukes will be launched with catastrophic results. No one wins a full on nuclear war. Even this assumes the West would allow the Soviet occupation of all Germany when the only alternative is nuclear war.
WW3 would be horrible, I agree in that. What i'm saying is that it would be a global war, especially since the USSR, the chief combatant of the Warsaw Pact, has major land holdings in the Far East on the Pacific coast, and since the US had major bases all throughout the Pacific that would absolutely, 100% need to be taken out. We had tons of SAC bases, major naval ports, and even logistics hub at Diego Garcia that held some of our nukes.

I can't imagine Australia just twiddling its thumbs as the Pacific goes up in mushroom clouds, and that doesn't even contemplate what happens when the rest of the communist countries recognize that with NATO and Warsaw Pact going at one another, its like being a thief in a city where the police are on strike. The whole of the Pacific is up for grabs to the countries who have the guts to take what they want. Who is going to stop them? Japan? South Korea? Australia?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,632
Las Vegas, NV USA
I
WW3 would be horrible, I agree in that. What i'm saying is that it would be a global war, especially since the USSR, the chief combatant of the Warsaw Pact, has major land holdings in the Far East on the Pacific coast, and since the US had major bases all throughout the Pacific that would absolutely, 100% need to be taken out. We had tons of SAC bases, major naval ports, and even logistics hub at Diego Garcia that held some of our nukes.

I can't imagine Australia just twiddling its thumbs as the Pacific goes up in mushroom clouds, and that doesn't even contemplate what happens when the rest of the communist countries recognize that with NATO and Warsaw Pact going at one another, its like being a thief in a city where the police are on strike. The whole of the Pacific is up for grabs to the countries who have the guts to take what they want. Who is going to stop them? Japan? South Korea? Australia?
A strategic nuclear exchange would probably consist of two massive launches by each side within no more than an hour, probably less. In the 1970's this would probably consist of 10,000 strikes by each side. Each strike would be about 10 megatons TNT equivalent. No one knows what the world would be like after this but amount of radioactive fallout would be enough to wipe out humankind within a year. In the meantime, yes , there might be some silly people running around playing war.
 
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aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
I


A strategic nuclear exchange would probably consist of two massive launches by each side within no more than an hour, probably less. In the 1970's this would probably consist of 10,000 strikes by each side. Each strike would be about 10 megatons TNT equivalent. No one knows what the world would like after this but amount of radioactive fallout would be enough to wipe out humankind within a year. In the meantime, yes , there might be some silly people running around playing war.
Nuclear winter was largely a myth, promoted by the KGB to trigger a green movement in NATO countries that would work to limit nuke development and use, and obviously it worked great. World would suffer higher than normal cancer and thyroid issues, that's about it. And most of the nukes aren't in the 10 megaton range, those were the big ones. The number of nukes were so high because most, especially Soviet, would never even leave the ground, a bunch that would launch wouldn't track, a bunch that tracked wouldn't detonate, etc. Redundancy on top of redundancy was the only way to guarantee a target would be destroyed, especially since missiles were so inaccurate up until the later Cold War.
 
Oct 2018
1,863
Sydney
No, I mean with regard to the US, NATO, or any other treaty that would bring Australia into this hypothetical war between NATO and the WARSAW PACT or into a renewed war in Korea circa 1980 +/- 10 years. Were there any scenarios where Australia was obliged to enter a war? Were there any scenarios where Australia was likely to enter a war?
Australia would have very probably entered WWIII on the side of the US, but not because a treaty officially required it. But moral obligations could be linked to treaties. The ANZUS Treaty was a collective security agreement created in 1951 on the understanding that an armed attack on any of the three parties (USA, AUS, NZ) would be dangerous to the others, and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) of 1954 carried similar obligations: It was Australia's duty to protect Southeast Asian countries should they be attacked by communist aggressors. These agreements provided the diplomatic context for Australia's eventual subservience to US foreign policy, which began in the 60s in the context of the Vietnam War and the provision of Earth stations for US missile and space operations (which made Australia the largest centre for American missile and space operations outside the continental US.).
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,477
Australia
Works both ways...View attachment 21411
But the uninformed get excited about the trivial stuff like warship visits instead of the economic threat posed by China and its insidious infiltration of our institutions.
Uninformed ? It would be pretty hard to miss !

Since now they have their own port here ...

Darwin port's sale is a blueprint for China's future economic expansion


oh yeah .... and an airport .

https://thewest.com.au/business/aviation/chinese-ownership-of-merredin-airport-sparks-controversy-ng-b88705220z


And I notice some of our tourist rest stops have new toilets !

Dont worry about our harbors filling up with their ships , the economic infiltrations, the hacking, guying up seaports and airports ....

when this starts happening - you know you in trouble ;

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