A recent bibliographical review of the Spanish Armada concluded that at last the evidence available permitted definitive judgments on the episode from both sides. Such a long interval may be comforting to scholars but it will clearly not do for journalists, politicians and, above all, defence experts who are eager to derive immediate lessons from such an unexpected but valuable proving ground as the Falklands war. Still, it is as well to remember that, despite the outpouring of instant histories, polemics and reports, there is still quite a lot we do not know. Future historians will have to reconstruct the course of political and strategic decision-making on the Argentinian side, but it is hard to believe that any startling revelations will occur. On the British side, however, we shall presumably learn much more about the activities of the SAS and SBS (particularly on the mainland), the amount of political interference in operational decisions, and the precise nature of the supplies, weapons and intelligence provided by the United States. In the meantime, the Defence White Paper presents a concise summary of the main lessons of the campaign.
LRB 3 March 1983 | PDF Download