How Our Enemy Made Us Better

Federico Guillermo Lorenz looks at Argentinian memories of the Second World War during and after the Malvinas-Falklands War of 1982.

In 1982, Argentina and Great Britain faced off in the Malvinas-Falklands War. Taking advantage of the long-held popular desire to reclaim the islands for Argentine sovereignty, the military Junta, in power since 1976, planned and ordered the operation. By 1982 the dictatorship had been discredited by economic crisis and by increasing charges of human rights violations. Nonetheless, the decision to go to war enjoyed broad support. The conflict was fleeting, however, culminating in June 1982 with the surrender of the Argentine forces.

The defeat marked the beginning of the end to the bloodiest regime in Argentine history, which had conducted a system of state terrorism that ‘disappeared’ thousands of citizens. Scores of Argentine professional officers and NCOs, prepared and trained for this ‘internal war’, confronted the British forces in ‘conventional’ combat. How did they imagine themselves during the war, and how did they imagine their British adversaries? What links did they establish between clandestine repression and the war with Great Britain?

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