Master of Arts
This thesis examines the spectacularization and commodification of the Falklands War. With the dispatching of a Royal Navy task force to the South Atlantic, following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982, came an orgy of patriotism that was expressed by Britons through public spectacles and the production of related commodities. Britishness, which became synonymous with the existence of the British Empire, was in crisis during the decades of decolonization after the Second World War and saw the reaction of an imperial nostalgia. The celebrations and commemorations that took place after the British victory on 14 June 1982, ultimately echoed the popular imperialism of the late Victorian Era. Through the use of imperial sights, sounds, and sentiments, the British seamlessly returned to the imperial shorthand they used to celebrate and commemorate British military victories in the past.
Summary for Lay Audience
This thesis examines the public spectacles and souvenirs produced during and after the Falklands War. The Falkland Islands were British sovereign territory for almost 500 years before Argentine forces invaded the Islands on 2 April 1982. The British responded by sending a Royal Navy task force to the South Atlantic to liberate the Falklands. With the sending of this task force came a rush of extreme patriotic feelings that were not expressed by Britons in years. British national identity had become synonymous with the existence of the British Empire. After the Second World War, British colonies across the globe gained independence, seeing the breakdown of the Empire, and of British identity. The war to liberate the Falklands, concluding with a British victory on 14 June, saw the return of these old patriotic feelings, expressed through public spectacles and the production and sale of commodities. The celebrations and commemorations that took place after the war echoed the popular imperialism of the late Victorian Era. Through the imperial sights, sounds, and sentiments expressed and displayed at these spectacles and on these souvenirs, the British seamlessly returned to the imperial shorthand they used to celebrate and commemorate military victories of the past.
McLachlan, William R., "The Empire Strikes Back: Memory, Meaning, and the Falklands War" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8779.