‘Wars of Resistance and Rebellion: The Myth of Protest and Popular Dissent against the Vietnam War in Australia and Canada’

Piper Rodd

Deakin University



Journal of Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies 1, issue 2 (December 2021): 41-72, https://doi.org/10.52230/TTQL5208


This article traces the history of war resistance in both Australia and Canada during the era of the War in Vietnam that became so culturally resonant with popular dissent from the status quo. Unlike all other major international conflicts in the twentieth century, this war represented a point of departure for Canada and Australia. Australia faithfully committed fully to the American effort, while Canada refused to commit militarily, shifting its focus to one of diplomacy. This article provides a comparison of acts of resistance to the war, arguing that while the two countries resisted the war differently a sense of national identity shifted for both, even if slowly and subtly.

The history of war and nationalism engendered through its engagement needs to be nuanced enough to view acts of resistance and protest as being integrally bound together. The inevitably politicised nature of war means that the memory of war and its practice is often viewed in complete distinction and isolation from war resistance and the memory of anti-war protest. War and war resistance, I argue, are not binary opposites, not two sides of the same socio-political coin. Instead, it calls for a consideration of these issues together and critically, not artificially separating war from peace and warring from acts of resistance to it.


Nationalism, war resistance, Canada, Australia, War in Vietnam

Article (PDF)