Drawing on a vast range of previously classified government archives as well as interviews with key participants, this first volume of the official history of the Falklands Campaign is the most authoritative account of the origins of the 1982 war.
In the first chapters the author analyzes the long history of the dispute between Argentina and Britain over the sovereignty of the Islands, the difficulties faced by successive governments in finding a way to reconcile the opposed interests of the Argentines and the islanders, and the constant struggle to keep the Islands viable. He subsequently gives a complete account of how what started as an apparently trivial incident over an illegal landing by scrap-metal merchants on the island of South Georgia turned into a major crisis. Thanks to his access to classified material, Lawrence Freedman has been able to produce a detailed and authoritative analysis which extends the coverage given by the Franks Committee Report of 1983.
This volume is ultimately an extremely readable account of these events, charting the growing realization within the British government of the seriousness of the situation, culminating in the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands at the start of April 1982.
'In Lawrence Freedman, the campaign has found an impeccable official chronicler.' - Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph
'Freedman is not just a good historian but a terse, readable writer. This is a fine book about modern war, warts and all, in an age when such evenly balanced conflicts are rare.' - Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times
'Drawing on an impressive range of government archives, as well as on interviews with key participants, this is official history at its best.' - Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, UK
'These two volumes are a formidable achievement and, not least because of access to the official files, provide a major resource for scholars and others concerned with public policy.' - Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, UK
'Freedman deserves high praise. It would be good to see a comparable account of the recent war but I doubt it.' - Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, UK
1. Origins of the Dispute 2. Inconsistent Appeasement 3. Communications and Condominiums 4. Mis-Communication and Non-Cooperation 5. The End of Condominium 6. Shackleton 7. Unreliable Defence 8. Reappraisal 9. Undetected Deterrence 10. Marking Time 11. Towards Lease-Back 12. The Rise of Lease-Back 13. The Fall of Lease-Back 14. Micawberism 15. No Plans 16. Alarm Bells 17. South Georgia 18. Crisis 19. Delayed Response 20. The Worst Moment 21. Conclusion: The Quality of Hindsight, Types of Trouble, Crisis Management
The Government Official History series began in 1919 with wartime histories, and the peacetime series was inaugurated in 1966 by Harold Wilson. The aim of the series is to produce major histories in their own right, compiled by historians eminent in the field, who are afforded free access to all relevant material in the official archives. The Histories also provide a trusted secondary source for other historians and researchers while the official records are not in the public domain. The main criteria for selection of topics are that the histories should record important episodes or themes of British history while the official records can still be supplemented by the recollections of key players; and that they should be of general interest, and, preferably, involve the records of more than one government department.