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The Falklands War The Falklands War occurred during the Cold War period but did not have ties to the Cold War The issue at stake was control of the.

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Presentation on theme: "The Falklands War The Falklands War occurred during the Cold War period but did not have ties to the Cold War The issue at stake was control of the."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Falklands War The Falklands War occurred during the Cold War period but did not have ties to the Cold War The issue at stake was control of the Falkland Islands, some 600 km off the eastern shore of Argentina and some 12,000 km away from Britain Britain claimed sovereignty over the islands based on having occupied them for over 150 years and the fact that most of the 2,000 residents were of British origin Argentina argued that when it became independent in 1816 it gained control of nearby former Spanish territories including the Falklands

2 History 1828 Argentinean settlements in Falklands
1833 Britain takes over to prevent US from taking. Removes Argentineans 1977 Argentina navy deploys “maneuvers”, Britain responds 1979 Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister UK 1981 Military coup in Argentina March Argentinean flag placed on island

3 Long term cause- Colonialism
Britain helps Argentina become free from Spain in early 1800’s 1816 Argentina free Britain invested heavily Many Brits moved to Argentina 1820 Argentina claim Falklands, British control 1892 Falklands given colonial status

4 colonialism After powers collapse after WWII, Argentina asks UN to decolonize Falklands 1964 UN takes on the issue Argentina show historical papers of Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule, say British claims illegitimate Britain says it controlled islands since 1833 and it would give islanders self-rule. Claimed if they gave up, Argentina would colonize

5 Both sides needed a foreign policy distraction!
Short term causes Economic issues Military in Argentina had serious economic issues Cut public sector funding and tried to get private sector funding- made matters worse In Britain, same problem- huge rioting in cities, unemployment over 3 million Both sides needed a foreign policy distraction!

6 Short term causes continued
Political issues in Britain Margaret Thatcher becomes PM in 1979 Unpopular until outbreak of war, lacks authority Wants to live up to reputation as “Iron Lady” Before Thatcher, British Foreign Office decided best to turn island over to Argentina so they limited investment and made all flights go through Argentina

7 Short term causes continued
Britain sending mixed messages- talks stalled but they led people to believe they would give islands back and would NOT protect them militarily Britain proposes selling off 1/3 of Royal Navy and talks of disbanding marines Both sides want to show military power

8 The Falklands War On Apr 2, 1982 the Argentines landed about 1,000 men on East Falkland and quickly overcame the small Royal Marine detachment there The next day they seized South Georgia, an island 1,300 km east-southeast of the Falklands and a direct dependency of Britain Then they transported about 13,000 troops to the Falklands Argentine troops on the Falklands

9 The Falklands War This left Britain with an awkward situation:
Accept the Argentine action or go to war nearly 12,000 km away The British decided to fight The key to making this possible would be the use of sea power

10 The Falklands War On Apr 5 the British dispatched a “retrieval force” that eventually included a landing force of some 8,000 soldiers and marines and a naval force of more than 100 ships Key members in the British fleet were the small aircraft carriers Hermes and Invincible

11 The Falklands War The British strategy first sought to isolate the Argentine force on the Falklands On Apr 12 the British established a 370 km radius “maritime” exclusion zone around the Falklands On Apr 30 this became a “total” exclusion zone On May 1 the British began air and sea bombardment of Port Stanley and Goose Green

12 The Falklands War On May 2 a British nuclear-powered submarine sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano well outside of the exclusion zone The British established a staging base on Ascension Island, halfway between Britain and the Falklands, and began building up their forces 323 Argentines died on the General Belgrano

13 The Falklands War On Apr 26 British special operating forces seized South Georgia and on May 15 they struck an airfield on Pebble Island, just off the north end of West Falkland, and destroyed eleven propeller-driven aircraft The Argentines fought back with air attacks but their decision to keep their most advanced aircraft at bases on the continent limited their effectiveness

14 The Falklands War Still on May 4, the Argentines sunk the HMS Sheffield, a destroyer, with an Exocet missile fired from about 35 km away On May 25 the Argentines sunk the HMS Coventry and the Atlantic Conveyor; the latter with another Exocet In all, Argentine pilots sunk six British ships and damaged 18 others Had the Argentines increased the potential loiter times by using forward bases and more than just five Exocet missiles, the damage might have been even greater

15 The Falklands War On May 21 the British launched a diversion to the south and then a main landing at Port San Carlos and San Carlos on the northwest corner of East Falkland From there the British advanced to Darwin and Goose Green which they captured on May 28 A single British battalion defeated an Argentine force of triple its strength

16 The Falklands War After Goose Green, the British attacked Port Stanley on the opposite side of East Falkland The Argentine force there had low morale, poor training, and no air or sea support so their commander, Brigadier General Mario Menendez, opted for a passive defense in strong mountain positions

17 The Falklands War The loss of the Atlantic Conveyor had foiled the British plan to assault by helicopter so instead many soldiers had to walk some 80 km across cold, wet, difficult terrain The British advanced on a northern and a southern route, and used helicopters to land soldiers on key terrain on June 1 where the foot soldiers joined them a few days later On June 5 and 7, additional troops landed on the southern coast In the end the British accumulated a two brigade force for the final assault on Port Stanley

18 The Falklands War The British began their attack on the night of June with lead units seizing key terrain and follow-on units then passing through them The British broke through and the Argentines began fleeing in panic toward Port Stanley On June 14 Menendez surrendered Major General Jeremy Moore, British land forces commander in the Falklands

19 The Falklands War Legacy
Provides a very interesting case study of why countries go to war Showed the importance of power projection Showed the importance of high tech weapons like the Exocet missile Showed the superiority of the well-trained British volunteer force over the Argentine conscripts Showed the superiority of the joint British operations compared to the Argentine problems with service cooperation

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