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How the Falklands War Began

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion and occupation of the Falkland Islands, which sparked a ten-week war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of British and Argentine military personnel.

As memorial ceremonies take place between May 4 and June 14, the island of just 3,000 people will be “bloated” by hundreds of veterans gathering to commemorate the lives lost in the 74-day war, he says The times. Unlike World War I and World War II, the Falkland Islands are still “living history,” the newspaper said.

More than 25,948 members of the British armed forces were part of the task force deployed to the Falkland Islands after Argentina’s invasion of April 2, 1982, and 255 died during the campaign to liberate the islands, the said Government of the Falkland Islands Website. Three civilian islanders were also killed.

The Falkland Islands have dubbed this “special” commemorative year “Looking Forward at Forty,” marking it as “a time to reflect on the achievements made with our hard-won freedom and to look forward to the next 40 years of life on.” the Falkland Islands”.

How did the Falklands War begin?

Sovereignty over the windswept and sparsely populated islands off Argentina’s South Atlantic coast caused tension for decades.

Britain has ruled the Falkland Islands continuously since the mid-19th century, and the vast majority of the island’s tiny population – fewer than 3,000 at the 2012 census – are descendants of British settlers.

In Argentina, where the islands are known as Las Malvinas, the government says the country inherited control of them from Spain in the 19th century, citing their proximity to South America to underpin its claim to sovereignty.

In 1982 Argentina’s ruling military junta was facing an economic crisis, and General Leopoldo Galtieri hoped an invasion would bolster his waning popularity at home.

Tensions first began to boil over when a group of Argentine scrap workers landed on British-controlled South Georgia, 810 miles east of the Falkland Islands, on March 19 and hoisted the Argentine flag.

Then, on April 2, some 3,000 Argentine special forces invaded Port Stanley, the islands’ capital, and set the scene for conflict.

Did Argentina expect Britain to go to war?
The invasion of Port Stanley caught Whitehall unprepared. Six months earlier, British intelligence had privately concluded that “the Argentine government would prefer to assert its claim to sovereignty by peaceful means,” he said The Independent.

Thatcher’s government also sent out a signal that Britain did not want to fight for the islands by scrapping the only British warship in their vicinity, HMS Endurance, in January 1982.

A now declassified CIA document entitled “Solutions to the Falklands Crisis” showed that Britain believed it was “ready” to accept the “final surrender of the islands to Argentine sovereignty”.

It also suggested that islanders who did not want to become Argentine citizens could be resettled in Scotland Daily Mail reported.

So why did Britain go to war over the islands?

Like her counterpart in Argentina, Thatcher was concerned about her popularity at home. In her first term, she trailed far in the polls and faced the twin threats of internal party dissent and the rise of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Upon learning of the Port Stanley invasion, the PM “played” that the war would bolster her crumbling power base, Simon Jenkins said The guard. Thatcher was quick to proclaim that the 1,800 islanders were “of British tradition and descent” and dispatched a task force to travel 8,000 miles and retake the islands.

Although the war lasted only ten weeks and the Argentines suffered far heavier casualties, the British victory was a “desperately close” affair, Jenkins wrote.

“The conclusion of most defense analysts is that the Argentines should have won this war, and had they waited for the South Atlantic storms in June, they probably would have.”

The Fall of General Belgrano

The High Command of the British Forces made one of the most controversial decisions in their history when they ordered the General Belgrano to be torpedoed.

On May 2, 1982, in the midst of the war, the Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror received orders to sink the Argentine naval cruiser, an attack that resulted in the deaths of 323 sailors.

The sinking of the Belgrano was condemned as a war crime by some observers due to the circumstances of the attack. Despite breaching the British 200-nautical-mile exclusion zone around the islands on May 1, the ship was leaving the Falkland Islands the next day when it was hit. The Telegraph called.

According to the British Defense Journal“during war, under international law, the course and location of a belligerent naval ship have no bearing on its status,” and the sinking was therefore technically legitimate.

Still, many critics, including some British commentators, view the sinking as a war crime to this day, he said Daily Mail.

Adding to the controversy surrounding the sinking, The Sun ran a front page featuring a photo of the Belgrano with the caption “Gotcha!”

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The guard reported that many were put off by the newspaper reporting “joyfully” the first casualties of the war, many of whom were in their teens, citing editor Kelvin MacKenzie’s decision to publish the headline as “in cold blood”.

The sinking of the General Belgrano remains a controversial and defining event in the course of the Falklands War.

What was the legacy of the war?

Thatcher’s obvious gamble paid off: the following year’s general election brought her the most decisive victory since Labor in 1945.

Geopolitically, the Falkland Islands have been firmly in British hands since 1982. In 2013, 99.8 per cent of islanders voted to remain in the UK, with just three voting against.

Between 2007 and 2015, however, tensions flared between Britain and Argentina under Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who many critics accused of fanning the flames of the dispute in order to spotlight her government’s domestic flaws.

Her successor Mauricio Macri chose a less confrontational path. Although he maintained Argentine sovereignty over the islands in principle, he remained relatively quiet on the issue and his government saw a thawing in Argentina’s relations with Britain.

But tensions have increased in recent months. In February, current Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, issued a joint statement saying that China “reaffirms its support for Argentina’s request for full exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted that Britain “completely opposes all questions about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands”.

“The Falkland Islands are part of the British family and we will defend their right to self-determination. China must respect the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands,” she said.

As with any war, one of the lasting legacy for soldiers who served in the conflict is the enduring pain and trauma caused by long-term injuries.

Former soldier Simon Weston is one of the best-known Falkland veterans.

He was aboard the RFA Sir Galahad at Port Pleasant on 8 June 1982 when she was bombed and suffered 46% burns.

The ship carried thousands of gallons of diesel and gasoline, as well as ammunition and phosphorous bombs. Of Weston’s platoon of 30 men, 22 were killed.

https://www.theweek.co.uk/63055/how-did-the-falklands-war-start How the Falklands War Began

Fry Electronics Team

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