Role Play: The Falkland Islands Dispute
At its peak, the British Empire was the largest formal empire that the world had ever seen. The expression "The sun never sets on the British Empire" was indeed true for almost two centuries. Today, Britain is stripped of all colonial power and their strong political and military influence is gone. However, there are still 14 Overseas Territories that are under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. The Falkland Islands is one of them. In April 1982, a long-standing dispute over the sovereignty of the islands eventually resulted in an armed conflict between Britain and Argentina. Act in this role play to get a better understanding of the conflict.
Organize the Role Play
Divide the class into 4 groups. Each group should use some time to prepare before they meet their "opponents" in a debate about British or Argentinian sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. See The Falkland Islands Dispute.
You should also pick one person who can act as moderator. His / her task is to make sure that each group is given the same chance to express its opinions, and that all group members participate.
Group 1: Representative of the British Authorities
You represent the British authorities and the Falkland Islanders. You support British sovereignty of the islands. Your task is to find out more about:
- The arguments for British sovereignty and against Argentine sovereignty.
- The sentiments of the Islanders regarding the present day conflict and the Falkland War in 1982.
- Possible solutions to the conflict, from a British point of view.
Group 2: Representative of the Argentine Authorities
You represent the Argentine authorities. You support Argentine sovereignty of the islands. Your task is to find out more about:
- The arguments for Argentine sovereignty and against British sovereignty.
- The sentiments of the Argentines regarding the conflict and the Falkland War in 1982.
- Possible solutions to the conflict, from an Argentinian point of view.
Group 3: Historian
You represent a group of historians. You should remain neutral to the conflict. Your task is to find:
- Historical facts about the island.
- The difference in historical interpretation of "facts" in Britain and Argentina.
- The legal claims of the two countries.
Group 4: War Historian
You represent a group of war historians. You should remain neutral to the conflict. Your task is to find:
- Facts about the Falkland war.
- Consequences of the Falkland War.
- The possibility and consequences of a new war.