In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Argentine Armed Forces

  • Introduction
  • Institutional and Operational Histories
  • Biographies
  • Compulsory Military Service
  • Armed Forces and Politics in the Twentieth Century
  • The Falklands/Malvinas War
  • From the Falklands/Malvinas Postwar Period to the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century
  • Women and Armed Forces

Military History Argentine Armed Forces
María Inés Tato
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 May 2024
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0251


The Argentine Armed Forces comprise the Argentine Army, the Argentine Navy, and the Argentine Air Force. The first two date back to the dawn of the nineteenth century and their emergence is closely linked to the struggles for the independence of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata from Spain. In fact, the motto of the Army is “Born with the Homeland in 1810” in reference to the May Revolution, which led to independence in 1816. The Air Force, on the other hand, was created in 1945, although both the Army and the Navy had air corps before that date. Until the mid-twentieth century, military history in Argentina was produced almost exclusively by historians with military training, with a prevailing lack of interest in this subject in the university field. Especially since the 1980s, academic historians began to take an interest in the study of war and the armed forces as part of the general renewal of the historical discipline. This article will refer to some general works on institutional or operational history but will mainly review the academic production on the subject from a social, cultural, and political stance. The academic historiography referring to the Argentine Armed Forces presents marked thematic variations depending on the century, responding to specific historical processes. Numerous wars of different nature characterized Argentina in the nineteenth century: wars of independence (1810–1824); civil wars (1814–1880); wars against the aboriginal peoples (1833–1835, 1878–1885); and wars with neighboring countries, such as the Brazil War (1825–1828) and the Paraguayan War (or War of the Triple Alliance) (1864–1870). Consequently, historians have dealt with the military campaigns associated with these conflicts, the formation and professionalization of the military instrument and its links with the state. In contrast, 20th-century Argentina was practically exempt from military conflicts, except for the Falklands/Malvinas War (1982) and a limited intervention of the Navy in the Gulf War (1990). However, the armed forces played a direct role in politics, involving coups d’état and dictatorships between 1930 and 1983. Therefore, academic studies have focused extensively on their political intervention and doctrinal mutations, particularly in the Army. They have also addressed the Falklands/Malvinas War as the only bilateral conventional war of the twentieth century in which they acted. The transformations of the armed forces after 1982 have also attracted the attention of scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Institutional and Operational Histories

In addition to studies on different campaigns, military chiefs, and specific units, the armed forces have produced several general works about their history, generally focused on institutional and operational aspects, which provide information of interest to military historians. Comando en Jefe del Ejército 1971–72 traces the history of the Argentine Army. Likewise, Burzio 1960 and Destéfani 1991 review the Argentine Navy trajectory; Quellet 1997a, Quellet 1997b, Quellet 2000, Fuerza Aérea Argentina 2005, Fuerza Aérea Argentina 2011, and Rivas 2022 deal with the Argentine Air Force, the youngest branch of the armed forces. Ruiz Moreno 2005–2008, Camogli 2005, Camogli 2007, and Camogli 2009 offer a detailed analysis of several campaigns of Argentine history from a classic military history perspective.

  • Burzio, Humberto. Armada Nacional: Reseña histórica de su origen y desarrollo orgánico. Buenos Aires: Departamento de Estudios Históricos Navales, 1960.

    Outlines the organic development of the Argentine Navy from 1811 to the end of the nineteenth century.

  • Camogli, Pablo. Batallas por la libertad: Todos los combates de la guerra de la independencia. Buenos Aires: Aguilar, 2005.

    Reconstructs the battles fought in various South American scenarios during the wars of independence.

  • Camogli, Pablo. Batallas de Malvinas: Todos los combates de la Guerra del Atlántico Sur. Buenos Aires: Aguilar, 2007.

    Analyzes the ground, air, and maritime military actions of the Falklands/Malvinas War.

  • Camogli, Pablo. Batallas entre hermanos: Todos los combates de las guerras civiles argentinas. Buenos Aires: Aguilar, 2009.

    Examines the main battles of the Argentine civil wars.

  • Comando en Jefe del Ejército. Reseña histórica y orgánica del Ejército Argentino. Buenos Aires: Círculo Militar, 1971–1972.

    A three-volume work sketching the history of the Argentine Army since its creation.

  • Destéfani, Laurio, dir. Historia Marítima Argentina. Buenos Aires: Departamento de Estudios Históricos Navales, 1991.

    This ten-volume work covers general aspects of maritime and naval history from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries and deals with various Argentine naval campaigns of the nineteenth century.

  • Fuerza Aérea Argentina. Historia de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina: La aviación de caza, 1912–1982. Buenos Aires: Dirección de Estudios Históricos de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 2005.

    Volume 4 of the series, explores fighter aircraft between 1912 and 1982.

  • Fuerza Aérea Argentina. Historia de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina. Buenos Aires: Dirección de Estudios Históricos de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 2011.

    Volume 5 of the series deals with bombing and attack aviation between 1912 and 1982.

  • Quellet, Ricardo. Historia de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina. Buenos Aires: Dirección de Estudios Históricos de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 1997a.

    Part of a series on the history of this arm, Volume 1 covers the emergence of military aeronautics within the military up to 1922.

  • Quellet, Ricardo. Historia de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina. Buenos Aires: Dirección de Estudios Históricos de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 1997b.

    Volume 2 deals with the history of military air transport from its origin in 1912 with the creation of the Military Aviation School until 1949 when the Air Brigade appeared within the structure of the Argentine Air Force.

  • Quellet, Ricardo. Historia de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina: Desarrollo de la Aeronáutica Militar en el Ejército desde 1923 hasta 1944. Buenos Aires: Dirección de Estudios Históricos de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 2000.

    This volume is devoted to the development of military aviation in the Argentine Army from 1923 to 1944, on the eve of the creation of the Argentine Air Force.

  • Rivas, Santiago. Air Forces of Latin America: Argentina. Stamford: Key Publishing, 2022.

    Overview of the history of military aviation in Argentina since its origins.

  • Ruiz Moreno, Isidoro. Campañas militares argentinas: La política y la guerra. Buenos Aires: Emecé—Claridad, 2005–2008.

    Consists of five volumes covering from the viceregal period to the end of the nineteenth century.

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