Events leading to the Falklands War - Wikipedia
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When the task force sailed from Britain, the American news magazine Newsweek cover headline proclaimed " The Empire Strikes Back ", which was the name of a recent Star Wars filma humorous reference to the old British Empire. Public opinion[ edit ] The public mood in the United Kingdom was to support an attempt to reclaim the islands. To some, Britain was a former colonial power seeking to reclaim a lost colony from a local power, and this was a message that the Argentines initially used to garner support.
Others supported Britain under the premise that it was a stable democracy invaded by a military dictatorship, along with the concept of the self-determination of the islanders, who wished to remain British. Whilst remaining diplomatically neutral, most European countries, members of the Commonwealthand the United States, supported Britain. The United Nations[ edit ] British diplomacy centred on arguing that the Falkland Islanders were entitled to use the United Nations UN principle of self-determination and on showing a willingness to compromise.
Nevertheless, Argentina rejected it, the Junta being encouraged by massive popular support for the invasion at home and unable to backtrack; they based their arguments on rights to territory based on actions before and the creation of the UN. Many UN members realised that if territorial claims as old as this could be pursued by force, and invasions of territory allowed unchallenged, then their own borders were not safe.
On 10 April, the European Community approved trade sanctions against Argentina. However, the North Atlantic Treaty only obliges the signatories to give support if the attack occurs in Europe or North America north of the Tropic of Cancerand the Rio Pact only obliges the US to intervene if one of the adherents to the treaty is attacked—the UK never attacked Argentina.
Shlaudemanto warn the Argentine government away from any invasion. President Reagan requested assurances from Galtieri against an invasion and offered the services of his Vice-President, George H. Bushas mediatorbut was refused. In fact, the Reagan Administration was sharply divided on the issue.
Kirkpatrick was guest of honour at a dinner held by the Argentine ambassador to the United States, on the day that the Argentine armed forces landed on the islands. The White House continued its neutrality ; Reagan famously declared at the time that he could not understand why two allies were arguing over "that little ice-cold bunch of land down there".
Haig briefly 8—30 April headed a "shuttle diplomacy" mission between London and Buenos Aires. According to a BBC documentary titled "The Falklands War and the White House",  Caspar Weinberger's Department of Defense began a number of non-public actions to support and supply the British military while Haig's shuttle diplomacy was still ongoing.
Haig's message to the Argentines was that the British would indeed fight, and that the US would support Britain, but at the time he was not aware that America was already providing support. The US officially comes down on the side of the British[ edit ] At the end of the month, Reagan blamed Argentina for the failure of the mediation, declared US support for Britain, and announced the imposition of economic sanctions against Argentina.
In a notorious episode in June, Jeane Kirkpatrickcast a second veto of a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-firethen announced minutes later that she had received instructions to abstain.
The situation was blamed on a delay in communications but it was perceived by many to be part of an ongoing power struggle between Haig and Kirkpatrick. Galtieri and a fair proportion of his government thought that the UK would not react. Margaret Thatcher declared that the democratic rights of the Falkland Islanders had been assaulted and would not surrender the islands to the Argentinian " jackboot ".
This stance was aided, at least domestically, by the mostly supportive British press. Caspar WeinbergerUnited States Secretary of Defense between and The Argentine junta felt that the United States would, even in a worst-case scenario, remain completely neutral in the conflict based upon the support that Argentina had given to the Reagan administration in Central Americatraining Contras.
This assumption demonstrated a clear blindness to the reality of the US-UK special relationship. Indeed, in Britain there was much debate about the rights and wrongs of war. However, regardless of their own policies and opinions, opposition parties firmly backed the government during the crisis, in order to present a single united front. During the Cold War, with the performance of forces being watched closely by the Soviet Union, it was considered preferable for the UK to handle without assistance a conflict within its capabilities.
Ascension Islanda British possession, was vital to the long term supply of the Task Force South; however, the airbase stationed on it was run and operated by the US. The American commander of the base was ordered to assist the British in any way and for a brief period Ascension Air Field was one of the busiest airports in the world. The most important NATO contributions were intelligence information and the rescheduled supply of the latest model of AIM-9L Sidewinder all-aspect infra-red seeking missiles, which allowed existing British stocks to be employed.
Margaret Thatcher stated that "without the Harrier jets and their immense manoeuvrability, equipped as they were with the latest version of the Sidewinder missile, supplied to us by US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, we could never have got back the Falklands. Weinberger admitted  that there would have been many problems if a request had ever been made; not least, it would have meant US personnel becoming directly involved in the conflict, as training British forces to crew the vessel would have taken years.
In Septemberthe President of MexicoVicente Foxcited the conflict as proof of the failure of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance since the treaty provides for mutual defence. However, in this conflict, Argentina was the aggressor. Angola had recently become independent, in a war in which the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola MPLA received support from the Soviet Union and its allies,  and this was considered a highly important Cold War conflict, especially in regard to the south Atlantic.
According to Hugh Bicheno: The Argentines saw [Reagan's] lifting of Carter['s weapons] embargo as a victory for their hard-nosed line on Human Rights, but their obsessions led them to overrate their importance to US policy makers. Soviet objectives were to gain preferential access to Angolan natural resources and to create a base from which their naval forces could threaten the western jugular The Cape Route was indeed a vital US geopolitical concern, but the Argentines failed to realise that they counted for less than a couple of little British islands in the equation.
In addition, the USSR had a number of fishing boats and "research vessels" in the region which were "multipurpose". US goodwill did not extend to giving the Soviets insight into NSA eavesdropping capability, or a windfall mass of encrypted traffic for their super-computers to play with. When Argentina refused, the community announced sanctions against Argentina.
Events leading to the Falklands War
Today, the present European Union recognises the UK's sovereignty as the only legitimate claim and this is recognised in the Treaty of Lisbonwith all member states apart from Spain which is Neutralindividually recognising it. Sir John Nottwho was Secretary of State for Defence during the conflict, has acknowledged in his memoirs that "in so many ways Mitterrand and the French were our greatest allies". Sir John has revealed that France provided Mirage and Etendard aircraft, identical to the ones that the country had supplied to Argentina, for British pilots to train against.
It is also disclosed in Sir John's memoirs that France provided intelligence to help fight the Exocet missiles that she had sold to Argentina, including details of special electronic countermeasures that at the time were only known to the French armed forces. In her memoirs, Margaret Thatcher says of Mitterrand that "I never forgot the debt we owed him for his personal support As France had recently sold Super Etendard aircraft and Exocet missiles to the Argentine Navy, there was still a French team in Argentina helping to fit out the Exocets and aircraft for Argentine use at the beginning of the war.
Argentina claims that the team left for France soon after the 2 April invasion, but according to Dr. James Corumthe French team apparently continued to assist the Argentines throughout the war in spite of the NATO embargo and official French government policy.
At this point in time, Cuba was also heavily involved in the war in Angola across the South Atlantic, and had 36, troops there. Holsti presents a different sight of the South American dilemma: Argentina's bellicosity against Chile over the Beagle Channel problem Beagle conflict Neighbouring Chile, under General Pinochet 's regime, became one of the major Latin American countries the other being Colombiato support Britain and then only indirectly by providing a military and naval diversion.
In Argentina initiated Operation Soberania in order to invade the islands around Cape Hornbut stopped the operation a few hours later for military and political reasons.
Basilio Lami Dozo disclosed that Leopoldo Galtieri announced to him that "[Chile] have to know that what we are doing now, because they will be the next in turn.
March to December stated that "The military planning was, after the solution of the Falklands case, to invade the disputed islands in the Beagle. That was the determination of the Argentine Navy"  Such preparations were made public. In her book Statecraft, Margaret Thatcher claims that General Pinochet gave Britain "vital" support during the war, most notably in intelligence, which saved British lives.
When, at one point, the Chilean long-range radar was switched off for 24 hours for maintenance work, the Argentinian Air Force was able to bomb the Royal Navy ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristramcausing many casualties. Colombian support[ edit ] Although retaining positive relations with Argentina, Colombia sided with the United Kingdom.
At the Organisation of American States' resolution supporting Argentina's claim, it cast an abstaining vote, along with fellow American countries Chile, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. Commonwealth support[ edit ] The Commonwealth of Nationsclosely linked to the United Kingdom which is also a member condemned the Invasion of the Falklands and publicly supported the UK, which they recognised as the rightful owner of the islands.
Gustafson 7 April Retrieved 18 September Sarandi sailed on 5 January, with all the soldiers and convicts of the penal colony and those remaining Argentine settlers who wished to leave. The other settlers of various nationalities, remained at Port Louis. The struggle for the Falkland Islands: On April 24, he addressed Lord Palmerston, inquiring whether orders had been actually given by the British government to expel the Buenos Aires garrison.
The Falkland story, — Argentina likes to stress that Argentine settlers were ousted and replaced. Those settlers who wished to leave were allowed to go.
The rest continued at the now renamed Port Louis. Metford; Falklands or Malvinas? The background to the dispute. International Affairs, Vol 44pp. The record is not nearly so dramatic. After the commander of the Lexington had declared, in Decemberthe Falklands 'free of all government', they remained without any visible authority. The British representative immediately lodged a protest, but Mes- tivier sailed on the Sarandi at the end of the year to take charge of a penal settlement at San Carlos, his Government's reserve on East Falkland.
There was a mutiny, led by a sergeant of the garrison, and Mestivier was murdered. At this juncture, on January 11,H.
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The so called 'brutal' eviction is laconically recorded in Captain Onslow's log: Moored at Port Louis A. The conflict was a major episode in the protracted confrontation over the territories' sovereignty. Argentina asserted and maintains that the islands are Argentine territory,  and the Argentine government thus characterised its military action as the reclamation of its own territory.
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