The uninvited guests: Britain’s military forces in Iceland, 1940-1942

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/311283
Title:
The uninvited guests: Britain’s military forces in Iceland, 1940-1942
Authors:
Deans, Philip W.
Abstract:
Throughout 10 May 1940-22 April 1942, British forces conducted a military occupation of Iceland. There were two initial reasons for this venture: firstly, in order to acquire air and naval bases to combat German forces situated along the Norwegian coast; and secondly, in order to prevent the island from coming under German control, thus guarding against encirclement. Whitehall certainly considered it an advantageous undertaking. However, as this dissertation shall show, such beliefs were swiftly escalated. During June 1940, after France’s capitulation, the retention and defence of Iceland became all the more important. It was essential, for example, that Britain could maintain at least one clear access route in and out the North Atlantic. Failure to do so would surely have lead to her starvation and/or military defeat. As a result, and along with other important reasons discussed herein, over 20,000 British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel, supported at various points by American and Canadian troops, were eventually stationed there. Unfortunately, there are very few publications on the British invasion and occupation of Iceland, notwithstanding a few specialist works. Those works that do exist, however, read more like chronological narratives, rather than analytical studies. Consequently, there exists some exciting opportunities for the historiography’s expansion, not just in size, but also in nature of content. This dissertation, entitled ‘The Uninvited Guests: Britain’s Military Forces in Iceland, 1940-1942’, contributes to that much needed expansion. This dissertation looks at the British occupation of Iceland over two periods: the invasion period, 10-19 May 1940, and the occupation period, 20 May 1940-22 April 1942. It assesses the effects and consequences of both the invasion and occupation, and tries to determine how far they preserved Icelandic freedoms and secured Allied interests in Northern Europe. Indeed, this dissertation shows that the invasion and initial occupation of Iceland was a complete military disaster, one that offered no benefit to either the Icelanders or Allies. If iii anything, it put the Icelanders at greater risk of harm from German retaliation. This dissertation also shows that Britain made good its early deficiencies by eventually bringing security and prosperity to Iceland, where before there had been none, and by positively utilising Iceland in the war against Germany. The conclusions of this dissertation are fascinating; they show that it is possible to cultivate rich reward from an operation that could have been destined for complete disaster.
Advisors:
McLay, Keith A. J.
Publisher:
University of Chester
Publication Date:
11-Oct-2012
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/311283
Type:
Thesis or dissertation
Language:
en
Appears in Collections:
Masters Dissertations

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.advisorMcLay, Keith A. J.en
dc.contributor.authorDeans, Philip W.en
dc.date.accessioned2014-01-14T09:36:11Zen
dc.date.available2014-01-14T09:36:11Zen
dc.date.issued2012-10-11en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10034/311283en
dc.description.abstractThroughout 10 May 1940-22 April 1942, British forces conducted a military occupation of Iceland. There were two initial reasons for this venture: firstly, in order to acquire air and naval bases to combat German forces situated along the Norwegian coast; and secondly, in order to prevent the island from coming under German control, thus guarding against encirclement. Whitehall certainly considered it an advantageous undertaking. However, as this dissertation shall show, such beliefs were swiftly escalated. During June 1940, after France’s capitulation, the retention and defence of Iceland became all the more important. It was essential, for example, that Britain could maintain at least one clear access route in and out the North Atlantic. Failure to do so would surely have lead to her starvation and/or military defeat. As a result, and along with other important reasons discussed herein, over 20,000 British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel, supported at various points by American and Canadian troops, were eventually stationed there. Unfortunately, there are very few publications on the British invasion and occupation of Iceland, notwithstanding a few specialist works. Those works that do exist, however, read more like chronological narratives, rather than analytical studies. Consequently, there exists some exciting opportunities for the historiography’s expansion, not just in size, but also in nature of content. This dissertation, entitled ‘The Uninvited Guests: Britain’s Military Forces in Iceland, 1940-1942’, contributes to that much needed expansion. This dissertation looks at the British occupation of Iceland over two periods: the invasion period, 10-19 May 1940, and the occupation period, 20 May 1940-22 April 1942. It assesses the effects and consequences of both the invasion and occupation, and tries to determine how far they preserved Icelandic freedoms and secured Allied interests in Northern Europe. Indeed, this dissertation shows that the invasion and initial occupation of Iceland was a complete military disaster, one that offered no benefit to either the Icelanders or Allies. If iii anything, it put the Icelanders at greater risk of harm from German retaliation. This dissertation also shows that Britain made good its early deficiencies by eventually bringing security and prosperity to Iceland, where before there had been none, and by positively utilising Iceland in the war against Germany. The conclusions of this dissertation are fascinating; they show that it is possible to cultivate rich reward from an operation that could have been destined for complete disaster.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherUniversity of Chesteren
dc.subjectIcelanden
dc.subjectBritish militaryen
dc.subjectWorld War IIen
dc.titleThe uninvited guests: Britain’s military forces in Iceland, 1940-1942en
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationnameMAen
dc.type.qualificationlevelMasters Degreeen
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