Military historians today generally hold that their subject involves not only the study of armies, weapons, supplies, clothing and tactics, but also issues of legitimacy (as the United States and British Governments are discovering in the Iraq crisis of 2003–4). Lack of legitimacy does not necessarily lose a war, but it makes it hard to win it, or to enjoy the fruits of victory. My method in writing this account of the Falklands War of 1982 is to try to combine what might be called the traditional (and vital) aspects on the conflict — arms and the men — with the kinds of values, national and international that in part (at least) shaped its outcome. I have therefore included many quotations from speeches, broadcasts, books, plays, poems and reports to illustrate the characterisation of the war. This is particularly important, given that the Argentine armed forces had never fought, except for engagement in security/repressive duties, and yet was given the momentous task of recovering the Malvinas and healing the wound of history; while the British, whose army had certainly experienced and was experiencing internal security conflict, had not engaged in ‘regular’ warfare between state and state since the Korean War of 1953, and (more ambiguously) the abortive Suez Campaign of 1956.
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D. George Boyce
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