The Causes of the Falklands War

MatthewA By MatthewA, 2nd Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
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Today, the Falkland Islands remains a British Overseas Territory. However, this would not have been the case had it not been for the Falklands War in 1982. During this war between Argentina and Britain, the British regained the Falkland Islands from Argentinian occupation. The causes of the Falkland Wars can be traced to the emergence of Leopoldo Galtieri in Argentina during 1981.

The Causes of the Falklands War

Sovereignty disputes over the Falklands between Argentina and Britain dated back to 1964. During the '60s the United Nations had passed a resolution calling on both Argentina and Britain to find a peaceful agreement to the Falkland disputes. Talks between Argentina and Britain continued for almost two decades after, until 1981. Ultimately, lack of progress in these talks was one of the main causes of the Falklands War.

Leopoldo Galtieri, and his staff such as Admiral Anaya, felt that the dispute surrounding the Falkland Islands would best be settled via military action. It was calculated that the British would not attempt to regain the Falklands should Argentina invade. Equally, even if they did, Argentina could still be reasonably optimistic of holding the Falklands.

To help gain support and greater legitimacy for the new regime in Argentina, the Argentinians invaded. The invasion resulted in the surrender of British troops stationed at the Falklands. With this, Argentinian troops raised their flag over the Falklands, a territory which geographically they felt was their own.

Word of the Argentinian occupation of the Falklands took the British by surprise. Word reached Britain via amateur radio. Now the British debated whether or not to try to regain the Falklands.

However, any attempts to mediate and end the conflict failed. The Argentinians were not prepared to accept the peace overtures made. As a result, the British gained the Americans' support.

Under such circumstances, the British decided to take military action. Argentina had seemingly violated international law, and, with American support and potential material aid, the British were more optimistic.

In addition to this, some have suggested a degree of political opportunism may have prompted the Thatcher administration towards war. A successful war in the Falklands would certainly gain the Conservatives greater support, providing it was won.

With negotiations failing, war between Britain and Argentina became inevitable. In the event, the success of the British military in regaining the Falklands resulted in the fall of Leopoldo Galtieri, and did indeed gain greater support for the Conservatives in Britain, who won the next election by a landslide.


Argentina, Britain, Falklands, Falklands War

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author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
3rd Nov 2015 (#)

I do remember that war but thanks for the reminder on how it happened.

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