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Iceland: Cold War Frontier

2 x 50 HD
Broadcaster:  RUV

In the aftermath of WWII, relations between the former allied eastern and western powers deteriorated fast. Almost overnight, the small island nation of Iceland found itself in the midst of the ensuing Cold War, its geographic position deemed too critical to ignore. Rather than retreat inward, Iceland’s leaders grasped at this opportunity to catapult their country onto the world stage and modernize.


A founding member of the NATO alliance, Iceland provided an important base for forward operations in protection of NATO’s northern flank and the approaches to North America, and for the next 55 years the U.S. armed forces were stationed across the island under the auspices of the Iceland Defense Force.


Tracing the lasting effect that their presence had on the culture, politics and economy of Iceland, Iceland: Cold War Frontier tells the story of the Iceland Defense Force from their arrival in 1951 to the withdrawal of the last units in 2006. With never-before-seen archive footage and first-hand accounts from military and political leaders, the highs and lows of the U.S.-Icelandic partnership are laid bare, speaking to the benefits of international collaboration in the face of cultural differences.

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