The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume 1: The Origins of the Falklands War, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume 1

The Origins of the Falklands War, 1st Edition

By Lawrence Freedman


254 pages

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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 analyses 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, Sir 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 realisation 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.


'a masterpiece of even-handed scholarship, and will undoubtedly remain the definitive word on the conflict.’

Dominic Sandbrook, Daily 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

‘Freedman has the rare gift of offering both strategic guidance and a fine grasp of tactical details.’

Jeremy Black

‘In Lawrence Freedman, the campaign has found an impeccable chronicler’

Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph

‘Official this history certainly is, and something more. But is it definitive, critics may cry? With its personal panache and incisiveness, it is better than that – at least for this critic.' Robert Fox, Evening Standard

‘fascinating, balanced, fantastically well-researched and well-written.’ Andrew Roberts, New Statesman

Table of Contents

1. Origins of the Dispute 2. Inconsistent Appeasement 3. Communications and Condominiums 4. Mis-Communication and Non-Cooperation 5. Shackleton 6. Unreliable Defence 7. Reappraisal 8. Undetected Deterrence 9. Marking Time 10. Towards Lease-Back 11. The Rise of Lease-Back 12. The Fall of Lease-Back 13. Micawberism 14. No Plans 15. Alarm Bells 16. South Georgia 17. Crisis 18. Delayed Response 19. The Worst Moment 20. Conclusion: The Quality of Hindsight, Types of Trouble, Crisis Management

About the Author

Sir Lawrence Freedman is Professor of War Studies at King’s College where he is currently Vice Principal. He has written extensively on military strategy, cold war history and contemporary conflict and is a regular newspaper columnist.

About the Series

Government Official History Series

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.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
HISTORY / Military / Other