The Vietnam War was Australia's longest and most divisive war. Although the war ended forty years ago, it confronted political leaders, military strategists, commanders and soldiers in the field with issues and dilemmas that are still relevant today.
Many questions remain about the strategy adopted in Vietnam, the operational approaches and tactics employed in the counter-insurgency war, and the overall achievement of the Australian Army's commitment. Broader debate over the war continues to challenge
the reality of the outcome through such questions as: Why did the US and its allies lose in Vietnam? Was there any alternative strategy that might have made the war winnable? What were the constraints on achieving victory in a limited war?
Drawing on the research and findings of his recently published official history volume, Fighting to the Finish, Ashley Ekins will explore these and related issues.
Ashley Ekins is Head of the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial. A graduate of the University of Adelaide, he specialises in the history of the First World War and the Vietnam War.
Through his contribution to the nine-volume Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975, Ashley has researched and written extensively on Australian ground operations in Vietnam.
He co-authored, with his late colleague, Dr Ian McNeill, volume eight in the series, On the Offensive: the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, January 1967–June 1968 (published in 2003).
His sequel volume and the final volume in the official history series, Fighting to the Finish: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War, 1968-1975, was released nationally in February 2012.
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