On This Date in History: It is not unusual for a government in turmoil with a risk of collapse from within to create an international incident in order to unify the country against a common foe besides the government. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Argentina had been ruled by a military dictarship that had once been popular but was rapidly losing support from the people as they grew weary of the number of political prisoners that had been taken as well as people who had simply disappeared. The economy was shrinking at 6% per year and inflation was running at 160%. The unions began to join forces with political opposition groups and the military Junta knew it was in trouble. Then, the thought a gift had been delivered to them.
Off of Argentina lay the Falkland and the South Georgia Islands. These islands had long been part of the British empire. Throughout the 20th century, the general global feeling was that empires needed to come to an end but, inspite of numerous attempts through the United Nations, Argentina was unable to get Britain to cede the islands that resided so far away from England. In 1979, an Argentian buisinessman (Constantino Davidoff) purchased a former whale slaughterhouse on the South Georgia Islands from an Englishman(Christian Salvensen). The new owner wanted to dismantle the plant and sell the mettle for scrap. The HMS Endurance was in the vicinity and the Argentine owner asked the Brits to loan him the use of their naval vessel to help him haul off the scrap. The crown denied his request. So, he went to his own Navy which obliged. This was the perfect set up for the Junta. It knew that the people of Argentina supported the idea of the nation gaining sovereignty over the islands off its coast and, if the Junta could use the situtation properly, it could perhaps regain public support.
So, in March 1982 when the Argentine Navy ship showed up at the South Georgia Islands, residents there complained to London that there was a warship with the Argentine flag floating in their waters. So, the British sent the HMS Endurance to the scene to prevent any landing by any Argentinians. Argentina responded by sending the military transport Bahia Parasio to the islands with the hope of occupying the islands peacefully. Now, the Junta had a plan for invading the Falkland and South Georgia Islands on the shelf for a couple of years. The nation had a pretty decent military and the battlefield would be 7500 miles from England. Also, they figured that they could use the weather as an ally by staging their invasion between June and October, which is the winter time in the Southern Hemisphere which would make things more difficult for England. The advantage really was with Argentina.
But…the people at home were getting restless and protests were growing quickly against the military leaders. So, they made the mistake of moving up their time table. On this date in 1982, Argentine ground forces of landed on the South Georgia Islands. The Falkland Islands War was on and the Argentine government appealed to President Reagan for support. The Rio Treaty of 1947 called on all nations of the Americas to come to the aid of any nation that was invaded by foreign forces. The Junta told Reagan that they were enforcing the rights of Argentine workers to legally do the job of removing the whaling slaughterhouse. I guess Ron didn’t agree because he didn’t lift a finger. After all, England was not your ordinary foreign invader. It had been our pal throughout the 20th Century and Reagan had established a strong bond with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who earned her reputation as the “Iron Lady” by calling the Argentine bluff.
Instead of quietly negotiating away the islands, she sent a task force of ships, submarines, sailors and over 10,000 troops all the way from England. The task force left on Aprl 5, 1982…just 3 days after the Argentine invasion. The first encounter of the Brits and Argentines happened on April 25 and by the middle of June, the war was over with an Argentinian surrender…just before the winter got going. Many historians agree, the biggest mistake of the Argentine Junta was to attack in the fall instead of sticking to their plan of a winter assault. In the eyes of many, the Argentinians had a good case for obtaining the islands but, the military might and determination of Margaret Thatcher rendered any legitimate points moot. A little more than a year later, the Argentinian Junta was out of office and any hope of ever getting to the negotiating table with Britain over ceding the islands was doomed. They never should have neglected the weather forecast.
Weather Bottom Line: In the short term, it’s pretty clear cut with a very nice Good Friday with a high pushing toward the mid 80’s. I told you a few days ago that there would be some potential activity in the midwest and the target area today stretches from north Texas to the central plains. I think Saturday will be good for most of the time but rain chances will increase as the afternoon goes on. By late afternoon into the evening, a front comes down but the main storm center will be well to our North. The storms moving in from out west should be fading when they get here but, I would have an eyebrow raised if some wander in here in the late day, before the sun goes down. The most interesting aspect of this is the steep lapse rates. Some of these storms may be elevated and if the lapse rates shake out as suggested,then we could have some hail or gusty winds. The SPC puts a 5% chance for severe weather just to our west and northwest which would indicate the probable area of storms by late afternoon. Not a big deal, but its something. Then the front clears things out for Easter Sunday and we knock about 10-15 degrees off the afternoon highs. Monday, the front comes back as a warm front another front approaches. Rain chances will probably elevate. After that, it seems to me that we get pretty warm on Tuesday before another front comes in and causes some issues on Wednesday.