On This Day: April 2nd

On the 2nd of April the hotly disputed British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands were invaded by Argentina. The invasion began with Argentine amphibious landings that ended with the battle and surrender of Government House. The Argentines heavily outnumbered the Royal Marines left on the islands, and captured around 100 POWs from the overrun British soldiers and islanders.

The invasion led to the United Nations Security Council which the United Kingdom was a permanent member of passed Resolution 502 which demanded an immediate withdrawal of all Argentine forces from the islands and called for a diplomatic resolution between the United Kingdom and Argentina. Obviously this was not the case as war did ensue between the United Kingdom and Argentina which ended in a British victory after 2 months.

The invasion and subsequent war was a surprise in the still ongoing Cold War world with the United States worried of potential Soviet support being given to Argentina, and with the impossibility of a quick decisive end to the war the United States aided the British effort against Argentina. Other nations such as Norway were key to the British effort as Norway gathered large amounts of intelligence regarding Argentine fleet locations. Argentina did have their own support in the forms of Peru, Libya, Venezuela, Guatemala and a more or less passive form of support from the Soviet Union. The conflict was one of the last fought in relation to European imperialism and their colonies, of which Great Britain was probably the most powerful incarnation of that imperialism with the Falklands called “Las Malvinas” by Argentina being one of those imperialist acquisitions.

With the islands still such a point of discontent particularly within Argentina it is a possibility even in today’s world that a move similar to this could occur again. Argentine’s gain support via the anti-imperialist rhetoric and the proximity to the islands makes it look a larger possibility. Will history repeat itself?

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