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The Falklands War: Causes and Lessons Naval Postgraduate School

The Falklands War: Causes and Lessons

Naval Postgraduate School

Published February 20th 2014
ISBN :
Kindle Edition
20 pages
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 About the Book 

On April 2, 1982, Argentina—then governed by a military junta—surprised the international community by launching an invasion of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands in the South Atlantic.[1] The junta, not expecting the British to launch a full-scaleMoreOn April 2, 1982, Argentina—then governed by a military junta—surprised the international community by launching an invasion of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands in the South Atlantic.[1] The junta, not expecting the British to launch a full-scale counter-invasion, planned the invasion as a “touch and go” operation, intending to occupy the islands for a short period of time and force the British to the negotiating table.[2] However, the British responded by sending a large naval task force to reclaim the islands. The British began military operations on May 1, and on June 13 the Argentines surrendered.The Argentine armed forces suffered a dismal defeat, with only the air force performing with any degree of competency. The military was fully discredited, and had no choice after the war but to announce plans for a return to democracy the following year.Contemporary analysis tends to view the invasion as a scapegoat for the military regime in order to bolster nationalism throughout Argentine society and divert attention away from the junta’s failing national reorganization plan, the Proceso de Reoganización Nacional. However, such analysis is risky, for it ignores key problems in the international system representing a rift between the developed and developing worlds. This paper will seek to analyze the Falklands/Malvinas War from a broad context of international relations by looking at the specific intentions and motivations for invasion. By uncovering why the junta decided to fight a war with a major world power over a chain of relatively worthless islands in the middle of the South Atlantic, I shall show that the international system does not understand the full weight third world nations attach to various objectives.This is dangerous. If developed and developing nations continue to have discordant perceptions of the relative weight of gains and losses in international fora, then a strong potential exists for conflict—as seen in 1982.