Today, the 11th of November, marks Remembrance Day. It’s the day that the Armistice was signed to end World War I, and this year is the 101st anniversary. The conflict lasted for four years, and 60, 000 Australians lost their lives in the process.
Remembrance Day is inextricably tied to WWI, and has come to represent our collective memories of the World Wars. Even though those memories aren’t as fresh as they once were, Australians have been involved in several other conflicts since the end of WWII that we also honour on Remembrance Day.
If you’re wondering why we still bother with Remembrance Day, here are all the other conflicts that Australia has been involved with since WWII ended.
Korean War (1950-1953)
Australia got involved in the Korean War only five years after WWII ended, and troops were sent in to defend South Korea. By the end of the war, 340 Australians were killed, 1,216 were injured, and 29 had been prisoners of war.
Malayan Emergency (1950-1960)
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought after some plantation workers were murdered by members of the Malayan Communist Party. 39 Australian servicemen were killed.
Indonesian Confrontation (1963-1966)
The Indonesian Confrontation was fought between Indonesia and Malaysia because Indonesia’s President believed that the Federation of Malaysia was an attempt by Britain to keep ruling in the area. 23 Australians were killed.
Vietnam War (1962-1975)
Australia followed the USA to defend South Vietnam from the spread of Communism from the north. 521 Australians were killed and over 3,000 were wounded.
The First Gulf War (1990-1991)
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Australian troops were sent in as part of the UN. No Australians were killed.
When George W. Bush declared a “war on terror”, Australia followed the USA into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. Currently 41 Australians have been killed and 249 wounded.
The Second Gulf War (2003-2009)
Once again, Australia followed the USA into Iraq, this time to locate “weapons of mass destruction”. No weapons were ever found. Two Australians died.