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Game of Dominoes: Australia’s Security and the Cold War 1947-1991

April 13 @ 8:30 am - April 14 @ 5:00 pm

MHHV 5th Biennial Two-Day Conference – 13 & 14 APRIL 2024

This conference will examine the Cold War period (1947-1991), its impact on Australia’s defence and security posture and Australia’s contribution to the Western alliance during this time.  Australia’s involvement in Asia in particular, arising from its part in the ANZUS treaty of 1951 and in SEATO from 1954 will be examined – its role in the Malayan Emergency, the Korean War, konfrontasi and the Vietnam War all within the context of potential nuclear war. Australia’s Army, Navy, and Air Force were all engaged in this struggle, partly against the Soviet Union but mostly against revolutionary movements in Asia supported by Communist China. Australia’s counter-intelligence operations within Australia will also be examined.

What was Australia’s security position in 1947 and how did this lead to ANZUS? How did domestic politics play out in the larger anti-communist context? What drove the establishment of SEATO? Why did Australia join the UN forces in Korea? What was the Far Eastern Strategic Reserve? What were the priorities for a non-nuclear army training under a nuclear threat? How did Australia’s signals intelligence contribute? How successful was ASIO in combatting the NKVD/KGB in Australia? Why did Menzies establish ASIS in 1952?  How did Army, Air Force and Navy respond to the new paradigms?  Was Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War important and what were the outcomes? Was the Peace Movement a communist front? How did the Soviet-CCP split affect Australia’s security? Did nuclear tests in Australia strengthen Australian defence? Did the fall of the Berlin Wall change Australia’s  security posture? Has the Cold War really ended?

(Chair) Professor Craig Stockings, UNSW and Official Historian, of Australian Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Australian Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor.

(Key Note Speaker) Professor Peter Edwards, AM Official Historian and general editor: The Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975

The keynote address will offer an overview of Australia’s Cold War, discussing the ways in which the Cold War intersected with the tension between the two traditional poles of Australian foreign policy – the desire for a close alliance with one or more global powers to maintain a stable international order, and the search for regional relationships that would more enable Australia to chart a more independent course. The address will reflect on the degree of success that Australian governments achieved in managing those demands and will also comment on the areas of Australia’s Cold War that have been extensively studied and those that are only now receiving appropriate attention.

Conference Dinner speaker: Major General Greg Garde, AO RFD:  Reflections on the Cold War – with the BAOR and the US Army Red Force in Nevada

(Convenors) Dr Andrew Kilsby and David Mitchelhill-Green

See the Conference Program here

Speaker Abstracts and bios will be released by 1 February 2024.


Tickets: (includes all conference sessions, lunch, morning, and afternoon tea):

  • Full Price – MHHV Member: $175
  • Full Price – Non-MHHV Members: $195.
  • Full price – University student or Non-MHHV Member Concession Card Holder): $185
  • One day ticket (only) all comers: $100

Dinner: Saturday 13 April 6.30pm to 9.30pm

  • Conference 3 course dinner (drinks not included)
  • MHHV Members $50
  • Non-Members $60


 Register for the conference here

Register for the Conference Dinner here


Registrations for conference and dinner close Tuesday 9th April at 5PM





Please address all queries to coldwar@mhhv.org.au



Conference Sponsors:








April 13 @ 8:30 am
April 14 @ 5:00 pm


Waverley RSL Sub-Branch Inc
161 Coleman Parade
Glen Waverly, Victoria 3150 Australia
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03 8558 4700
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