Forsvarsstudier no. 3/1999
Title: The Struggle for Western Integration
Author: Valur Ingimundarson
The study deals with the military integration of Iceland into the Western Alliance, 1945-60. It focuses on several turning points in Iceland’s relations with the United States and NATO during the First Cold War: the debate over the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 1945-46; Iceland’s entry into NATO in 1949; the arrival of U.S. troops in 1951; the demand for the revocation of the U.S.-Icelandic Defence Treaty in 1956,and the stabilization in the bilateral relationship in 1959-60. It will be argued that two central theories capture the dynamics of Iceland’s relationship with the United States during this period.
The national security thesis and the “Empire by Invitation” thesis
The purpose is to address four key problems. First, the study assesses the military importance of Iceland during this period. Secondly, it explores how ideological affinity, especially anti-Communism, shaped U.S.-Icelandic cooperation. Thirdly, it attempts to detect the international and domestic sources of Iceland’s policy toward the U.S. Finally, it examines the political forces that contested U.S. influence in Iceland.
Dr. Valur Ingimundarson teaches history at the University of Iceland. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York and his dissertation was entitled East Germany, West Germany, and U.S. Cold War Strategy, 1950-54. His monograph In the Crossfire: Iceland, the United States, and the Cold War was published in 1996. He has also published several articles on US-German relations, Icelandic-East German relations, and on the relationship between the US and Iceland during the Cold War.