HMS Invincible

British Policy in the Falklands during the 1970s

British policy had a been a mixture of success and failure. The Labour government achieved the primary purpose of avoiding a costly conflict yet for all the merits of its watchful defence the sovereignty issue remained untouched. From 1974-79 Britain persistently sought to manage the Falklands problem rather than resolve it. Phrases like ‘playing for time’ and ‘gaining breathing space’ accompanied every paper addressing the sovereignty question. Amid the chaos in Buenos Aries the islanders had further stiffened against ties with Argentina by the time Margaret Thatcher assumed power. A settlement seemed as far away as ever and the policy of playing for time was all but exhausted. The tasks of resolving the dispute and most importantly of keeping the peace were passed to the Thatcher government. This time both were to prove elusive. Within just 3 years Britain would be compelled to defend sovereignty by force of arms.

Dr Aaron Donaghy

In a podcast for the History podcast series, Dr Aaron Donaghy (UCD) discusses British policy in the Falklands dispute during the 1970s.

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Image: HMS Invincible returns from Falklands War [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons