NATO & the Falklands

Discussion in 'Falkland Islands (Op CORPORATE)' started by Flynn101, Feb 3, 2007.

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  1. Studying the Falklands as part of my History A-level and just a point of interest which I cant seem to find anything about on Wikipedia but why didnt NATO get involved fully with the Falklands War?
  2. ”why didnt NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] get involved fully with the Falklands War?” [A British overseas territory in the South Atlantic]

    First off:
    US Dept. of State
    ”NATO was founded in order to provide a security structure against the threat of the Soviet Union for its 12 founding members; Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, NATO’s European members wanted to ensure that the United States remained involved in European security. Over the past 53 years, NATO has enlarged four times. Greece and Turkey joined in 1952; the Federal Republic of Germany joined in 1955; Spain joined in 1982; and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined in 1999. Seven nations were invited to join NATO at the Prague Summit in November, 2002, and their formal accession is pending ratification by the 19 current NATO members.”

    So, whatever ‘guns’ were trained and whatever action and reaction plans were in place in 1982, they were levied at the Soviet Union, not on a few small rocks on the other side of the world.

    Diplomatic measure were taken in line with NATO policy, but this in no way meant the dispute would be escalated to multi-National conflict at the drop of a hat. It was serious for Britain and more so for the Forces deployed, but in respect of NATO there was no direct threat to its members’ homelands in Europe, who progressively chose to distance themselves from essentially a two country dispute where they were more concerned with trade ramifications and to a lesser extent their Nationals in Argentina – except France who stuck with Britain.

    Also, comparatively speaking, the war resolved quickly.

    I do hope you use Wiki as a guide only, and equally any examiner would not accept any answer based on this as an authoritative source?

    You may wish to see:
    NATO – Brussels, 6th-7th May, 1981
    NATO - Luxembourg, 17th-18th May, 1982
    Security Council resolution 502 (note: pfd format)

  3. NATO treaty, particularly note the bold:

    Since the Falkland Islands are not located in the north Atlantic area north of the Tropic of cancer, article 5 does not apply.

    Now string that out to a thousand words!

    What is more interesting though, is that Argentina tried to invoke its mutual defence treaty with the United States when the British came to retake the islands, their argument being that the islands are rightfully theirs anyway so there attack was reclaiming their rightful sovereign territory from an illegal occupation (and therefore not an aggressive act of war) and the British counterattack was therefore an attack on sovereign Argentine territory (and therefore an aggressive act of war).

    Unsurprisingly, the American response was along the lines of "Qué, dago? What the hell are you talking about? I think you'll find that you took their islands by force therefore you are the aggressors, you crazy second-world egomaniacs. "
  4. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Do you know? My daughter came home from school a few years ago and informed us that her History teacher had told her that our invasion of the Falklands was a war crime because we never declared war on the Argies. I practically fell off me seat.

    I told my daughter to tell her friggin History teacher to go away and read UN Articles (erm about) 51-54, where she would learn that an act of war is to be considered a declaration of war, the Argies invaded: THEY started it. Simple as. End of.

    Bliddy bleeding heart revisionista left-wing teachers. I've sh!t better.
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  5. I hope you brought it up at parents evening! My stepmum is half argentinian and to this day still insists that the Falklands belong to Argentina. Lets just say, after dinner conversation gets very heated whenever i go to visit.
  6. the above answers are correct. Nato at that time really did`nt have any role other than to deter a percieved threat of Soviet aggresssion.
    Even if that was`nt the case, Thatcher would`nt have wanted this to be anything other than a solely British operation. She really would`nt have wanted the Americans, Germans and Italians saving our arrses. It would`nt have been good for her reputation or our national prestige.
    Also, how many European governments would have willingly sent their conscripted teenagers to fight for a small British territorial pocession on the other side of the world and how many of those governments would have lost their next election if they had ?
  7. Not a particular dig at anyone, but this thread fills me with gloom. Part of it realising that it was 25 years ago this year (I had my first interview at the CIO in June 82) and part of it realising that the world has moved on. I was immersed in this stuff as a kid. NATO was facing off the WP over the IGB and the nightly news as well as popular culture, was full of stories of the impending face off.

    Then the Task Force set off (over a Bank Holiday weekend IIRC) and fought at the ends of the Earth. I remember being glued to the TV news every night, when that MoD Civil Servant droned out the latest dispatch.

    Guys wearing the South Atlantic Medal still command my utmost respect all these years later.

    Glad to see its being taught in schools though. Hope they get the veterans involved.
  8. My God I feel old. I remember watching my Dad head off (I was 12) and being mightily relieved when he made his way back!
  9. i feel old to. i was a 14 year old cadet at the time. I remember handing in our rifles ( SMLE 303 ! ) to the armoury after an evercise when we we told the Belgrano had been sunk.
  10. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    One lasting memory of the time was being on exercise with the locals at Oxbol in Denmark near Esbjerg. The Danish lads all knocked off at tea-time, cos that's how their army was. Our boys sunk the Belgrano and even though there a total communication breakdown between us and the Danes, there was no doubting their mood when they read in their papers that we were winning.

    Then the Argies sank a ship.

    ... and another

    ... and another

    ... and suddenly there was practically tears in their eyes for us and a rage beyond description in our hearts.

    It meant we had to go out and get ratarssed every night to assuage the pain.
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    We were in Portugal on exercise and stuck for an LSL home till the mighty Crab trooped us back, we got some very strange looks. The French by the way didnt so much as stand by us as commented at the beginning but stab us in the back by supplying much needed exocet stuff to the dagoes as they were affectionately known!
  12. We flogged them lots of kit as well .rolls royce was upset 10yrs ago that
    the gov wouldnt let them sell spare parts for the argies ships.
  13. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Not entirely fair to the French.

    They promptly stopped selling Exocets to the Argies who only had something like eight complete Exocet systems at the outbreak of the war. IIRC five were launched and two of them malfunctioned. (I cannot remember what happened to the other three systems: I don't think they were airworthy.) Of the three that worked, one kill per round. My understanding is that Argie agents were scouring grey markets for more Exocets but British, French and Septic agents were busily clearing the markets ahead of them.

    And Maggie has publicly stated her thanks to the French president (Mitterrand?) for breaking all the French paranoia rules and giving our intelligence services chapter and verse on ALL of Exocet's official secrets, something that has never happened before or since.
  14. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    If I recall it took a lot of pressure to do so and dassault were all for dealing with them regardless of what the Govt actually claimed was happening! This was forsupplying the kit to launch them from the Mirage rather than the missiles themselves.
    I seem to remember talk of Suez, De Gaulle and backstabbing the Entente Cordialle.
  15. Hey there

    Only five missiles (AM39) delivered in late 1981

    France, indeed, stopped any technical advice, etc.

    Exocets were made operative by Cdr. Julio Perez and his team of engineers and technicians/fitters at the Missile Workshop, Puerto Belgrano Naval Base

    (that's the same guy, electronic engineer and mathematician extraordinaire, that made the makeshift launcher that hit Glamorgan, has a MSc/PhD in Missiles/Rockets, has studied in France, Italy and the UK... now retired as a Rear Adm., is the Dean of the Naval University)

    Perez (a shortish, strawberry blond guy), along with our Naval Int "boys", tried to score Exocets from the Black Market, but Brit Intel was always a step ahead of us, even delaying a shipment of AM39s for Peru's Agusta Sea Kings, in the knowledge that those missiles could have ended in Argentina.



    PS: Some French weapons did came through Lybia, specially the almost useless magic 1 AAM... the Lybians were not very keen on maintenance, hence the missiles had top be refurbished and cleaned (sand in the rocket sections, among other niceties)... AFAIK the Lybia affair was a Soviet thing, and the Frogs were -allegedly- clean on that one...
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