The Australian Government's Response to Communism

Topics: World War II, Cold War, Communism Pages: 3 (1041 words) Published: April 5, 2014

“How did the Australian Government respond to the threat of communism both at home and overseas?” With the conclusion of World War II in 1945, the world was left divided between two different political beliefs of the communist Soviet Union and the capitalist and democratic United States. The rivalry between these two superpowers, known as the Cold War, threatened Australia’s peace & security, therefore the Australian Government was forced to respond to the threat of communism both at home & off its shores. The Australian Government responded to the threat of communism at home through the creation of propagandist cartoons and advertisements. An increased fear and paranoia regarding communism became intertwined with politics, it being negatively presented for political gain. The propaganda was targeted at communism as it was often portrayed as the ‘red disease’, spreading southwards to destroy Australia. During the late 1940’s, the ‘reds under the beds’ campaign was promoted Robert Menzies’ Liberal Party. Menzies, Prime Minister from 1949 to 1966, strongly opposed the Communist Party of Australia and Labor Party’s beliefs through propaganda. The bias images presented, raised concern regarding Labor’s communist support and therefore, Australians became fearful of the influence of both the Communist Party of Australia and the Labor Party. On April 13 1954, whilst federal Parliament was sitting for its final session, the Prime Minister revealed that a Soviet diplomat in Canberra, Vladimir Petrov, had been granted political asylum. Petrov’s defection had caused enquiries about Australian security and brought with it strong fear about communism. Menzies announced a Royal Commission into Espionage. Evatt however, claimed that the Petrov Affair was only a Liberal Party conspiracy, aimed at portraying the opposition as being sympathetic to communism to win a majority at the following 1954 election. The Petrov Affair is an example of how ‘kicking the communist can’...
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