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Falklands War

Falklands War (1982). The Falkland Islands had been under British control since 1833, but Argentina had become increasingly anxious to acquire them. On 19 March 1982 a group of Argentine scrap metal merchants landed on South Georgia without permission, and this was followed on 2 April by full invasion. The Foreign Office was caught largely unawares and Lord Carrington described the invasion as a ‘great national humiliation’. The British government acted swiftly, assembling a task force consisting of 10,000 troops and 44 warships with auxiliary and aircraft support. It was dispatched 8,000 miles to the south Atlantic, using Ascension Island as a forward base.

The USA, anxious to retain good relations with both countries, tried to mediate through Secretary of State Alexander Haig but to no avail. On 25 April marines recaptured South Georgia. On 2 May the Argentine battleship General Belgrano was sunk by a British submarine with large loss of life and two days later the British destroyer HMS Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile and sunk.

British troops, under aerial attack, landed on the Falklands at San Carlos on 21 May and established a bridgehead. After fierce fighting the settlements at Darwin and Goose Green were retaken and the capital, Stanley, came under fire. On 14 June the Argentine garrisons surrendered. The war cost the lives of 236 British and 750 Argentine soldiers. It was the turning-point in the fortunes of the Thatcher Conservative government, but in Argentina, General Galtieri's military junta fell from power a year later.

Richard A. Smith

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Falklands War

Falklands War (April–June 1982) Military conflict between Great Britain and Argentina on the issue of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. On April 2, after the breakdown of negotiations, Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falklands, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands, which had been administered and occupied by Great Britain since the 19th century. Despite attempts by the UN to negotiate a settlement, the Argentine government refused to withdraw. The British established a blockade of the islands and staged an amphibious landing at Port San Carlos. They surrounded the Argentine troops at the capital, Port Stanley, and forced them to surrender (June 14). The war cost 254 British and 750 Argentine lives. Although Britain resumed administration of the islands, the basic issue of sovereignty remains unresolved. Britain's victory helped secure a second term for Margaret Thatcher.

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Falklands War

Falklands War an armed conflict between Britain and Argentina in 1982, which came about when on the orders of General Galtieri's military junta, Argentinian forces invaded the Falkland Islands, a group of islands in the South Atlantic, forming a British Crown Colony, originally occupied and colonized by Britain in 1832–3, following the expulsion of an Argentinian garrison. In response Britain sent a task force of ships and aircraft, which forced the Argentinians to surrender six weeks after its arrival.

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