Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Post-Imperial Frontier? Britishness, the Falklands War, and the Memory of Settler Colonialism

In April 1982, after Argentina's invasion of the British-administered Falkland Islands and its quick rout in the short war that followed, the British public reveled in an unbridled demonstration of nationalism. Many scholars have sought to explain away the public's deeply passionate response to the Falklands War as anything but jingoistic. This thesis, however, argues that British politicians and the press successfully popularized the war effort by appealing to old imperial nationalisms that had united the British nation in the past. They emphasized both the 19th century idea of a global Greater Britishness linking Britain to the bucolic Falkland Islands and, in deeply racialized language, they othered the Argentine military. Ultimately, the political discourses and representations of the Falklands War illustrate how at a time of alleged British decline, ideal Britishness was conveniently found abroad in the former empire. Indeed, well into the so-called post-colonial period of the 1980s, settler communities continued to have an important bearing on domestic British politics and identity.