Government, Media, and Culture: International Comparisons in the Falklands/Malvinas War

Student thesis: Phd


As the cliché has it, ‘history is written by the victors’ and as this thesis suggests, this is no more apt than when applied to the Falklands/Malvinas War of 1982. The overarching narratives of the War have often taken the form of the daring and risky campaign which swept the domestically beleaguered Margaret Thatcher to a landslide election victory in 1983, and restored Britain’s place in the Cold War world. In the case of Argentina, yards of ink have been spilt to reinforce the view that Galtieri’s junta’s decision to take action on 2nd April 1982 was nothing more than a ‘diversion’ from domestic political and economic tensions. Equally, the Argentine Junta’s infamous reputation has helped cement the view of an Argentine media under the thumb of the Junta, parroting its every word. The paucity of any thorough in-depth analysis afforded to Argentine media aspects of the War, and particularly the press, suggests that a more copious international study of the Conflict has yet to appear. The Falklands/Malvinas War, fought on the technological threshold of major media communication advancements that would come to the fore by the turn of the Millennium, thus necessitates a fresh perspective on British and Argentine war reporting, and its aftermath. This thesis is an examination of British and Argentine media output in the prelude to the War and during the Conflict, with some acknowledgement of the aftermath and legacies of the War’s media response. Media output in the United States is also analysed, alongside Britain’s and Argentina’s, all drawing upon Cold War historiography and media theory, with a view to contesting the traditional consensus that media outlets, and for this thesis, specifically the press, merely reflect government opinion during wars and crises, providing almost no effective dissent. This multi-faceted examination encompassing multi-national and multi-lingual media output exposes, this thesis argues, the symbiotic relationship held between the media, particularly the press and the respective governments involved in this War. The triangulated approach of this thesis explores the integral, influencing role culture played in the Conflict and how it was not only instrumental to government actions, but also to media output in Britain, Argentina, and the United States. This national perspective demonstrates the impact these cultural forces had on the policy-making and outcome of the Conflict. In conclusion, the thesis asserts that media and culture influenced the climatic decision-making process of key actors involved in the Conflict. Media output and cultural affirmations acted as influential elements in the assessments and reassessments of the powers involved vis-à-vis wider Cold War diplomacy and politics. Please note that due to the online system portal through which this thesis has been submitted electronically, accents, quotation marks and apostrophes have been replaced with different characters in this abstract. Please see the original text for a complete and correct version of this abstract which accompanies this thesis.
Date of Award1 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Scott (Supervisor) & Thomas Tunstall Allcock (Supervisor)


  • Ronald Reagan
  • General Galtieri
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Britain
  • United States
  • Culture
  • Media
  • Malvinas
  • Falklands
  • Argentina

Cite this