Was the Falklands War necessary

Falklands War: How the Iron Lady won her great victory

In the morning hours of April 2, 1982, it fell to a small group of islands in the South Atlantic to make history, world history. What we call the Thatcher era, this radical paradigm shift in British post-war history and its global reach - it would not have happened without Argentina’s military junta at the time, headed by General Leopoldo Galtieri: The Trio Galtieri, Jorge Anaya (Marine) and Basilio Lami Dozo (Air Force) had prepared to take possession of the Falkland Islands in a flash. 25 years ago today, on June 14, 1982, the war ended with the Argentine surrender.

The conflict became the Prime Minister's hour. Margaret Thatcher had hit rock bottom three years after taking office. The unemployment figures, as a result of the first wave of privatization, climbed to intolerable heights for a conservative government; a new party, the "Social Democrats" formed from blasted Labor prominence and the liberals, drew attention. The Tories and Madame T. were not given a chance in the general election expected in 1983. She would have ruled for only one term.

The Falklands War changed their reputation overnight. He turned an increasingly unpopular head of government into a globally respected - if not only admired - heroine. Thanks to the assistance of Argentina, the conservatives rose by ten percentage points in favor of the electorate; the country was at the feet of the “Iron Lady”, as she was called from then on. Without Falkland there would be no “Thatcherism”, which only became a household name after the defeat of Argentina's junta. Three more electoral victories finally extended the Tory era to 1997.

25 years after the victory, Thatcher now highlighted the importance of the British success. The victory over Argentina gives the nation "hope and strength" for the ongoing struggles against "evil", against "tyranny and violence," said Thatcher in a radio address to the British armed forces and the residents of the Falkland Islands. "The whole nation was happy about the success, and we should still be happy about it."

The war started with an embarrassing glitch

The war that was to cost the lives of 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers began with an embarrassing mishap that forced Foreign Secretary Peter Carrington to resign on April 5: the intelligence services had failed and did not see the April 2 invasion coming. Rather, the MI6 foreign defense had reassured the minister, to whose area of ​​responsibility it belonged, that Galtieri had no plans to advance towards the archipelago until he had exhausted all opportunities to get the UN to be right on this controversial issue.

On March 19, a covert Argentine operation had already started on South Georgia, the British whaling island east of the Falkland Group. A contingent disguised as a working group for the removal of waste metal had landed and had set up the Argentine flag.

But the British zeitgeist was distracted. In Argentina one must have felt encouraged by several political revisions decided in London in 1981. Below is the cut into the stock of the Royal Navy: A third of the fleet was to be sold or retired, including three of the ships that would play a central role in the battle for the Falkland Islands: the two aircraft carriers "Hermes" and "Invincible" as well the ship landing dock "Intrepid". The Ministry of Defense also decided at the beginning of 1982 to withdraw the "Endurance" operating in the South Atlantic from its protective function and to take it to England. A new nationalization law had also deprived Falklands residents of automatic British citizenship. Was this the policy of a country that expressed an interest in the 12,900 kilometers away territory?

The government wasn't sure that war was necessary

Indeed: Doubts initially determined large parts of public opinion and the government itself as to whether a deployment to the extreme around the distant islets was advisable, which many seemed like an annoying relic from colonial times. A 29-year-old lawyer and aspirant for a Labor Party lower house, Tony Blair, wrote in the Guardian at the time: “I do not believe that the wishes of the Falklanders should ultimately determine our policy. Given the option: compromise or outright war, I would say, realistically we should signal willingness to compromise. "This contrasts sharply with a statement Prime Minister Blair made a few days ago in a television interview with the historian Simon Schama:" It took courage, very much a lot of courage to accept this conflict, but I would have done the same in Margaret Thatcher's shoes because it was exactly the right way. "