Vietnam: interview with Australian anti war singer John Schumann

This video is about the consequences of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

From VietNamNet:

John Schumann – an artist of anti-war songs


VietNamNet Bridge – John Schumann, who has been recognised as one of the most talented [of] artists in Australia for the last 20 years, performed in Vung Tau on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Long Tan battle in late August.

Here he spent some time to talk to the press.

We know that you wrote the anti-war song I was only 19, a remarkable song in Australian music, when you were 30. …

John Schumann used to be a member of the Australian band, Redgum.

The band sang folksongs with political messages and was famous for its anti-war songs.

I was only 19 is the song John wrote for his elder brother who fought in the Long Tan battle.

The song describes the side effects of Agent Orange.

The song created wide public discussion on the issue at that time and partly pushed up the investigation on side effects of Agent Orange and other toxins used during the Vietnam war.

Australia and the Vietnam war: here.

Movie on Vietnam war, Winter Soldier: here.

7 thoughts on “Vietnam: interview with Australian anti war singer John Schumann

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  7. June 2, 1965, marked the formal entry of Australia into the “police action” known then and since as the Vietnam War, when several hundred combat troops of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment joined the US 73rd Airborne Brigade at Bien Hoa air base. They were followed by another contingent of 400 Australian soldiers on June 8, as the US ramped up its neo-colonial war against the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam and the Stalinist government of Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam.

    The Australians were part of a contingent known as the “Free World Military Forces,” by which the administration of US President Lyndon Johnson sought to lend a veneer of internationalism to its scorched-earth campaign in Southeast Asia. Most of the US NATO allies provided inconsequential support. Australia joined the military dictatorship in South Korea as the major backers of the so-called “Many Flags” strategy. Canberra had earlier committed “advisers,” experts in jungle warfare, to train South Vietnamese officers.

    The decision by the government of Prime Minister Robert Menzies represented a deepening of Australia’s subordination to Washington in foreign affairs. Australian imperialism had served as a regional proxy of British imperialism through World War II. But that war had seen the British role in the Asia-Pacific reduced at the expense of the US. To guarantee its own predatory interests, Canberra positioned itself as the most fervent regional American ally in the SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization).

    In justifying the sending of Australian soldiers to Vietnam, Menzies combined anti-communism with the Australian ruling class’s old canard of the Yellow Peril. “We have decided … in close consultation with the Government of the United States—to provide an infantry battalion for service in Vietnam,” Menzies said on April 29, 1965, asserting that the revolution in South Vietnam “must be seen as part of a thrust by Communist China between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.”

    The war soon became unpopular in Australia. On Moratorium Day, May 8, 1970, over 200,000 Australians demonstrated against the war. Australian involvement in Vietnam peaked in 1969 with a force of 8,000 soldiers. Roughly 60,000 fought in what became Australia’s longest war until Afghanistan. Of these, 521 died and more than 3,000 were wounded.


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