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Official Hist Falklands, Vol 2

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In this official history of the Falklands Campaign, Lawrence Freedman provides a detailed and authoritative account of one of the most extraordinary periods in recent British political history and a vivid portrayal of a government at war. After the shock of the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in April 1982, Margaret Thatcher faced the crisis that came to define her In this official history of the Falklands Campaign, Lawrence Freedman provides a detailed and authoritative account of one of the most extraordinary periods in recent British political history and a vivid portrayal of a government at war. After the shock of the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in April 1982, Margaret Thatcher faced the crisis that came to define her premiership as she determined to recover the islands. Freedman covers all aspects of the campaign - economic and diplomatic as well as military - and demonstrates the extent of the gamble that the government took. There are important accounts of the tensions in relations with the United States, concerns among the military commanders about the risks they were expected to take, the problems of dealing with the media and the attempts to reach a negotiated settlement. This definitive account describes in dramatic detail events such as the sinking of the Belgrano, the battle of Goose Green and the final push to Stanley. Special attention is also paid to the aftermath of the war, including the various enquiries, and the eventual restoration of diplomatic relations with Argentina.


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In this official history of the Falklands Campaign, Lawrence Freedman provides a detailed and authoritative account of one of the most extraordinary periods in recent British political history and a vivid portrayal of a government at war. After the shock of the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in April 1982, Margaret Thatcher faced the crisis that came to define her In this official history of the Falklands Campaign, Lawrence Freedman provides a detailed and authoritative account of one of the most extraordinary periods in recent British political history and a vivid portrayal of a government at war. After the shock of the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in April 1982, Margaret Thatcher faced the crisis that came to define her premiership as she determined to recover the islands. Freedman covers all aspects of the campaign - economic and diplomatic as well as military - and demonstrates the extent of the gamble that the government took. There are important accounts of the tensions in relations with the United States, concerns among the military commanders about the risks they were expected to take, the problems of dealing with the media and the attempts to reach a negotiated settlement. This definitive account describes in dramatic detail events such as the sinking of the Belgrano, the battle of Goose Green and the final push to Stanley. Special attention is also paid to the aftermath of the war, including the various enquiries, and the eventual restoration of diplomatic relations with Argentina.

39 review for Official Hist Falklands, Vol 2

  1. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    It is an uncontroversial statement that the Falklands War was not a clash of critical interests. Freedman admits as much when he writes that Democracies have little to fight for other than principle. But it’s an interesting story for (possibly) unexpected reasons. The Pointy End of the Stick The United Kingdom sailed a task force across hemispheres and took back the Falkland Islands and its Dependencies. In describing the fighting, this book is adequate. It is efficient and operationally focussed, It is an uncontroversial statement that the Falklands War was not a clash of critical interests. Freedman admits as much when he writes that Democracies have little to fight for other than principle. But it’s an interesting story for (possibly) unexpected reasons. The Pointy End of the Stick The United Kingdom sailed a task force across hemispheres and took back the Falkland Islands and its Dependencies. In describing the fighting, this book is adequate. It is efficient and operationally focussed, featuring some back-biting between commanders. Freedman details how certain whiz-bang weapons often failed to work which, in the case of the Rapier missile, was then hidden from the public to protect export sales down the line. The Falklands War feels like a very specific one from a military perspective. Freedman does slap together a chapter in on Lessons Learned with sombre tones of self-reflection, with the occasional pat on the United Kingdom’s back for retaining “expeditionary” capabilities. I would counter that “lessons” were not always “learned”: - The experiences of low-level airfield denial raids over Stanley by the Harriers didn’t prevent punishingly high casualty rates by Tornadoes trying the same thing in Iraq. - The SAS moved from trying to camp on a glacier during a snowstorm in 1982 to drinking irradiated water in the desert in 1991. War is Politics by Other Means Politics added further complications. The UK depended on international support not only in its diplomatic efforts but also in logistics and material support. So even if a military conclusion was assumed, the political dimension could not be disregarded. Some actions might therefore have to be eschewed because their political impact would outweigh their military impact. Want to lose the Falklands War? Well, do any of these: • sink too many Argentine ships • shoot down certain Argentine military aircraft* • bomb Argentina • formally declare war • bankrupt Argentina • fail to propose diplomatic resolutions • fail to (at least pretend to) listen to your American “allies” None of the above involved the United Kingdom losing a single ship, plane or man, and this is what elevates the book to an important read. Skip the military campaign if you want. The heart is the talking; the Security Council resolutions; proposed terms for negotiations; telling the Secretary General to ignore the Panamanian representative; lobbying the non-aligned countries; deciding whether “views” is an acceptable substitute for “interests” when it comes to self determination; telling the French President you will nuke Argentina if he doesn't lend a hand. The United Kingdom had a lot to do beyond stabbing the pointy end of the stick at the enemy, and this book is an impressive introduction to politics and diplomacy. Stuttering attempts at managing the media and cornering the market for Exocet missiles provide some extra colour. Rules of Engagement had to be set, discussed, altered, and sometimes communicated as a warning to Argentina to constrain the latter’s actions, or provide the United Kingdom justification for warlike acts. Unsurprisingly, the United Kingdom’s military did favour the maximal response where possible: In one annotation one official observed that the speed of transmission seemed to vary in proportion to the aggressiveness of the instruction. Another major player in this book is the United States, primarily via Secretary of State Alexander Haig. While any views of his shuttle diplomacy will be coloured by the righteousness of either side’s claim, Freedman portrays him as a bumbler, misreading intentions and creating negotiating positions for the parties that did not exist. He also fluffed a vote in the United Nations, failing to instruct the American representative properly as army commanders apparently do not give orders direct to company commanders. It’s an interesting narrative on why the messenger does matter. I would caveat my comments on diplomacy and political conduct by saying that this unapologetically is the Official History from the United Kingdom’s perspective. The Argentines are often portrayed as disorganised or possibly drunk. This is fine in the sense we are talking about the United Kingdom’s perspective of Argentine behaviour, but you should make external reference to Argentina’s views separately. *One did turn out to be a Brazilian airliner, so perhaps caution was warranted generally.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greynomad

    Talk about being disorganize…….every idiot had his say as whether or not there was going to be a conflict. Then you get the village idiot Haig in there and christ what a bloody ………..!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Hough

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean Smart

  5. 5 out of 5

    Duane

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike H

  7. 5 out of 5

    francisco santibanes

  8. 5 out of 5

    Harry

  9. 5 out of 5

    James Mcneill

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Boyd

  11. 5 out of 5

    Panagiotis Bakalis

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  14. 4 out of 5

    Don Sample

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike Norman

  16. 4 out of 5

    Philip Morten

  17. 5 out of 5

    S Young

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wikimedia Italia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matiasfernandovallejos

  22. 4 out of 5

    Abelswt

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ian McHugh

  24. 5 out of 5

    Justin LaMont

  25. 5 out of 5

    NC

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stuart S

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lobezno Meneses

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joe Collins

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro

  31. 5 out of 5

    San Chele

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jake

  33. 4 out of 5

    Karl

  34. 4 out of 5

    Charles H Berlemann Jr

  35. 5 out of 5

    Aditya Pareek

  36. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Cabrita

  37. 5 out of 5

    Ed

  38. 4 out of 5

    Jaff

  39. 4 out of 5

    John Øyvind

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