After the Second World War, communist fears in Australia were high. This fear was intertwined with politics and as a result of this, Prime Minister Robert Menzies was able to quite skilfully exploit the threat of Communism for electoral gain. He raised the threat of Communism before each election, stimulated opposition disarray and scared the more impressionable voters back to supporting the coalition. As well as impacting on Australian politics, communism and the fear of communism greatly affected Australian society, as evident in both long and short-term impacts.
In the post-war period, the presence of communism in and around Australia was seen by many Australian people as a kind of threat to the Australian way of life. The concepts of the Domino Theory - that communism was spreading and making Southeast Asian countries fall like dominoes - , 'Reds under the Beds' -referring to communist spies -, and the 'Iron Curtain' were widely believed by Australians, which was used as an advantage by the Menzies government in the 1949 election. In addition, Australian citizens believed that Australian suburban life would change drastically if communism was to take over and that their democratic ways were threatened by people who believe in communism. The widely believed Domino Theory was the idea that as countries in Southeast Asia gradually fell to communism, neighbouring nations would follow, and there was a belief that Australia might soon fall to communism because of this spreading. Linking in with this theory, the fear of communism spreading was mixed with racist views towards Asian people, and thus when China and later Korea became communist states, Australians has a strong, easy to manipulate fear of the 'Red Menace'. However, the threat was seen as not only external but also from people and organisations with socialist and communist views inside Australian borders that had 'infiltrated' trade unions and political parties. These 'reds under the beds' were seen as...
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