Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 53: Falklands War – The Empire Strikes Back

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

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Adam Smith, Hans Lander, Alex Nicholson, Hank Oslo and special guest P.T. Carlo

Notes:

“The House meets this Saturday to respond to a situation of great gravity. We are here because, for the first time for many years, British sovereign territory has been invaded by a foreign power. After several days of rising tension in our relations with Argentina, that country’s armed forces attacked the Falkland Islands yesterday and established military control of the islands.” -Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister, 1982. For many, the Falkland Islands represented an obscure British territory in the South Atlantic that held little economic value, let alone a place where one could easily identify on a map. But as the conflict between one of the world’s aging empires and a military junta unfolded, the powers of the world took note at how modern warfare between fairly well equipped naval and air forces lent themselves to managing a ground invasion. As the smaller wars of the late 20th and early 21st century began, many militaries and governments looked back to how the Thatcher government gained in national popularity from armed conflict – if not in economic or even strategic terms.

Timeline: 

1690 – Falklands first discovered by English captain John Strong
1764 – French establish Port Louis on East Falklands Island
1766 – English establish Port Egmont on Saunders Island; French concede Port Louis to Spanish, becomes Port Soledad
1770 – Spain captured Port Egmont
1771 – close to war, Spain gives back territory to Britain
1806 – Napoleonic Wars, Britain invades Rio de la Plata, Spain abandons its garrison, leaves gauchos, fishermen
1820 – Buenos Aires attempts to assert control
1832 – British reassert control after Argentina garrison mutiny
1840 – Falklands become an official Crown Colony – Scottish settlers create pastoral colony with cattle, sheep
1844 – government moves to Port Jackson, soon renamed Stanley
1851 – wool industry surpasses ship wrecking business
1871 – steam ships surpass sailing ships
1914 – Panama Canal opens, effectively ending Cape Horn transshipment business
1914-1945 – Falklands used as strategic posts against Germans and Japanese
1979-1981 – Britain considers transferring sovereignty to Argentina to save money, but negotiations stall
1982 – Argentina invades
April 2, 1982- Falkland Islands are invaded by the Argentine armed forces, resulting in British subjects being placed under arrest.
April 3, 1982- Britain goes to the UN, drumming up international support against Argentina and creating the pretext for armed intervention.
April 5, 1982- Britain sends naval, air force and army units towards the Falklands Islands with the intention of forcibly retaking their territory.
April 7, 1982- 200-mile war zone declared by the British government.
April 30th, 1982- British naval forces arrive in the Falklands and the USA declares public support for Britain’s war effort.
May 2nd, 1982- General Belgrano, an Argentine battleship, is sunk by a British submarine. Approximately 320 Argentine sailors are killed.(edited)
May 4th, 1982- HMS Sheffield hit and sunk by Argentine air-launched Exocet missile strike.
May 21st, 1982- British troops begin amphibious landings in San Carlos waters; HMS Ardent sunk by Argentine aerial bombing, resulting in 22 deaths; 15 Argentine aircraft shot down
May 24th, 1982- HMS Antelope destroyed after being bombed by Argentine forces.
May 28th, 1982- 17 British soldiers killed, dozens killed and thousands captured on Argentine side at Battle of Goose Green.(edited)
June 8th, 1982- RFA’s Sir Galahad and Sir Tristam are destroyed after aerial bombing, resulting in over 50 deaths.
June 14th, 1982- HMS Glamorgan hit by Exocet missile strike; Argentine forces surrender to Major-General Jeremy Moore
June 17th, 1982- Argentine President Leopoldo Galtiero steps down from leadership in Argentina.
1983 – attempts to de-mine ceased after deminer casualties
1983 – military dictatorship in Argentina transitions to democracy
1989 – Argentina and UK formal relations re-established
Present Day – UK assert sovereignty over Falklands based on resident’s self determination

References: 

– Falkland Islands, Thatcher (1982) – https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/104910
– Treasure Islands, The Economist (2014) – https://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2014/02/oil-and-gas-falklands
– The Falklands War in Retrospect, Friedman (2015) – https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-falklands-30-years-later/
– The Falklands War- Differing Causes of Conflict, Liffiton (2016) – http://www.e-ir.info/2016/02/06/the-falklands-war-differing-causes-of-conflict/
– “Unsinkable” American Aircraft Carriers- Five Nonsensical Statements, The Saker (2017) – https://thesaker.is/unsinkable-american-aircraft-carriers-five-nonsensical-statements/
– The Falklands War – The Untold Story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rgmos0Q6xK0
– The Falklands War Full Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3sZMYfcu6s
– The Falklands Legacy, Hastings – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obiTCUh7drU

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3 Comments

  1. Iron Maiden? What song is this? It’s amazing

    Reply

  2. The French connection is an interesting one. While they had sold equipment to the Argentines it would seem they also gave vital information to the British. It would seem they were a better ally than the Americans http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1387576/How-France-helped-us-win-Falklands-war-by-John-Nott.html

    Reply

  3. Derek Turner would have been a perfect guest, or Sean Gabb. It depends on whether or not the podcast is “alienated burgermen grapple with life outside their consumerist nightmare” or something more strictly informative. The former is rather lawyerly: learn a lot about a subject during the week for a trial on Friday, forget everything after the weekend. Monday’s a blank slate once more. But no Englishman for this podcast? No expert witness?

    As an outsider the appeal of this podcast is mostly anthropological, so either way is ok. Beggars can’t be choosers. I should probably donate now and stop bitching.

    Reply

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