Falklands War Facts: The Battle Between Argentina And The UK | Kidadl


Falklands War Facts: The Battle Between Argentina And The UK

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The world was never known for peace, and there were conflicts at every point in time around the world.

Wars at uncertain times claimed many lives and brought great losses to the countries on both sides of the war. The Falklands War was one such undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom, which went on for about 10 weeks.

This war was also called South Atlantic War, Malvinas War, or Falkland Islands War. Both of the countries reinforced their losses due to the war. This war was started by Argentina when they tried to assert their dominance over the Falkland Islands and its British-dependent territories, namely the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia.


Historic Significance

Argentina wanted to proclaim its authority over the Falkland Islands, which lie 298 mi (480 km) to the east of its coast. Although Great Britain seized the island in 1833 and expelled the Argentinian occupants, Argentina waged a war to occupy it again in 1982.

The British settled first in West Falkland in 1774 but later left for economic reasons. Argentina had a military junta led by a committee of military leaders. The Argentinian military junta was led by Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri. Argentina trained its forces secretly for an elite invasion of the Falkland Islands. On March 19, 1982, an Argentine flag was raised by the salvage workers in South Georgia, 807 mi (1300 km) east of Falklands, under British administration.

On April 2, 1982, Argentinian forces invaded the Falklands by overcoming the small garrison of British marines at Port Stanley without inflicting any British casualties. By the end of April, about 10,000 Argentine troops were stationed in Falkland, and they weren't supplied with proper food and shelter during the winter.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared a war zone for 199 mi (320 km) around Falkland. The British government formed a war cabinet consisting of British troops and naval forces, commanded by Sir John Fieldhouse. The naval task force built two aircraft carriers, namely the HMS Hermes and the HMS Invincible light carrier. Two cruise ships were also used as troop carriers, namely Queen Elizabeth 2 and Canberra. When the British ships were vulnerable, Argentina sank the destroyer, HMS Sheffield, with a missile. British forces marched through San Carlos even in adverse weather conditions and occupied the high ground in Port Stanley.

A mobile surface-to-air missile system was invented in the '60s and used in 1982 during the Falklands crisis. Britain's government convinced the Island inhabitants to join Argentina to avoid the war between the two countries and was unwilling to invest in the Falklands future. On April 25, the British fleet captured Argentina's vintage U.S.-made diesel-electric submarine and retook South Georgia. Over 22 Argentinian aircraft were lost due to the attacks. On May 2, the British submarine sunk the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano by a torpedo. During the Falklands War, the British had anti-flash gear, which saved the British sailors from the flashes of fire attacks.


The Nations Involved

There were territories and a few nations involved in this war, but most countries came forward to show their support for their favorable nations and led the war by granting powers to use the forces legitimately. This war was mainly declared between the United Kingdom and Argentina for Islas Malvinas, or the Falkland Islands. Great Britain was also involved as Falkland was under its control.

The United States was ready to lend an aircraft carrier to the United Kingdom upon losing two royal navy carriers. The United States showed their support to the British forces and British troops due to the NATO alliance. European governments supported Great Britain and withdrew European military advisors from Argentine bases. The other countries involved were France, Cuba, Peru, Chile, the Soviet Union, Spain, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Libya, and South Africa.


Diplomatic Relations

On December 15, 1823, diplomatic relations were established between Argentina and the United Kingdom, but these relations were cut off due to the Falklands War.

The United Nations tried to mediate peace with Argentina throughout May of 1982, but it was rejected. The then U.N. Secretary, General Perez de Cuellar, presented the negotiating position to Argentina on May 18, 1982. The negotiation stated that the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands should be conducted by the United Nations and demanded the mutual withdrawal of both nations.

However, both countries hold their embassies. Argentina has one in London, and the United Kingdom has its embassy in Buenos Aires.

In the Falklands War, the British air force, the royal navy, and the Argentinian forces fought bravely, but many lives were lost.


The Aftermath

On June 14, Argentina surrendered, and the islands were returned to British control. Britain won the Falkland War, but this undeclared war caused material losses in shipping and aircraft activity. Hundreds of lives were lost during this war. Over 255 British troops, 649 Argentine troops, and 3 Islanders died during the Falklands War. Due to the missile attack from the Argentinian aircraft, the royal navy lost many warships. Over 11,400 Argentine prisoners were captured during this war but were later emancipated. Argentina's civilian rule was restored in 1983 due to its failed mission of claiming the Falklands.

The British won the war because its naval task force involved the air force and deployed against the Argentinian navy. It's important to note that San Carlos is the location of the British military cemetery in East Falkland, and Hecla at the H.M. Naval Base in Gibraltar was converted to an ambulance ship during the Falklands War. The memorial, containing 255 British military personnel's names, was carved on the '1982 Liberation Memorial' facing Port Stanley. For lives lost in the South Atlantic in the war in 1982, a Falkland Islands memorial chapel was opened at Pangbourne College in March 2000.

There are three memorials in Argentina: Plaza San Martin in Bueno Aires, Rosario and Ushuaia. Long-haul airliners and a permanent military complex were constructed in RAF Mount Pleasant, south of East Falkland, after the war began in 1985. A deep-water port was constructed in Mare Harbor, and at King Edward Point in South Georgia, a small military post was established after the war, which was later closed in 2001.

After World War II, the Falkland conflict was one of the largest air-naval combat operations between the modern forces. 113 uncleared minefields and unexploded ordnance of the UXOs were found in Falkland in 2011, covering 8 mi (13 km), 1,295 hectares (3,200 acres). Out of this, 3.4 mi (5.5 km) or 567 hectares (1,400 acres) were suspected minefields, part of the Murrell Peninsula. They were estimated to hold 5,000 anti-tank mines and 20,000 anti-personnel mines, pastured for 25 years without any incidents. On November 14, 2020, the final landmine was detonated, and Falkland was free of landmines, which called for a celebration on that note.

This war was described as 'a fight between two bald men over a comb' by an Argentine writer named Jorge Luis Borges. This war also influenced theater, film, T.V. drama, and many musicians. Argentina banned music broadcasting in the English language, which further paved the way for the rise of local rock musicians. Then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, celebrated this victory with her conservative party during the parliamentary elections in 1983.

 The British task force deployed and took the Falkland Islands from Argentina, and during this conflict, there was a crisis in all three countries. But finally, a peace agreement was made with the intervention of the United Nations, upheld till today.



What caused the Falklands War?

Britain rejected the claim of Argentina over the Falklands because Argentina's military junta had an emotional tie with the Falklands which started off the Falklands War.

How many British ships were sunk in the Falklands War?

Argentine forces sank six British ships during the Falklands War.

How many soldiers died in the Falklands War?

In the Falklands War, 907 soldiers died, out of which 649 were Argentina military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and 3 Falkland Islanders.

Who helped Britain in the Falklands War?

The United States and the European government helped Britain in the Falklands War.

Who owns the Falkland Islands?

The United Kingdom owns the Falkland Islands.

Who controls the Falkland Islands?

The British government controls the Falkland Islands.

Where is the Falklands?

The Falklands, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, lies in the South Atlantic Ocean to the east of South America.

Why did the Falklands War start?

The Falklands War started when an Argentine supporter raised a flag in South Georgia, and tension between the two countries started off the war.

How many soldiers fought in the Falklands War?

There were over 11,000 troops who fought in the Falklands War.

Why does Argentina want the Falkland Islands?

After the British Empire's rule came to an end, many countries and colonies were declared independent. Argentina wanted to assert its authority over the Falkland Islands from Britain.

How big are the Falkland Islands compared to England?

England is 20-times bigger than the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands is about 4,700 sq mi (12,173 sq km), whereas the United Kingdom is 94,058 sq mi (243,610 sq km).

When did the military leaders of Argentina face defeat after the Falklands War?

After losing 907 hostilities, Argentina surrendered to Great Britain.

Who was the Prime Minister during the Falklands War?

The British had Margaret Thatcher as their Prime Minister during the Falklands War.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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