Exploring Greenland

Cold War Science and Technology on Ice

  • Ronald E. Doel
  • Kristine C. Harper
  • Matthias Heymann

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Arctic Challenges in the Cold War

  3. Controlling Hostile Environments: Geophysical Research in Greenland

  4. Entanglement and Transformation: Diplomacy and Politics of Science in Greenland

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 193-193
    2. Henry Nielsen, Kristian H. Nielsen
      Pages 195-216
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 265-311

About this book


Using newly declassified documents, this book explores why U.S. military leaders after World War II sought to monitor the far north and understand the physical environment of Greenland, a crucial territory of Denmark. It reveals a fascinating yet little-known realm of Cold War intrigue and a delicate diplomatic duet between a smaller state and a superpower amid a time of intense global pressures. Written by scholars in Denmark and the United States, this book explores many compelling topics. What led to the creation of the U.S. Thule Air Base in Greenland, one of the world’s largest, and why did the U.S. build a nuclear-powered city under Greenland’s ice cap? How did Danish concern about sovereignty shape scientific research programs in Greenland? Also explored here: why did Denmark’s most famous scientist, Inge Lehmann, became involved in research in Greenland, and what international reverberations resulted from the crash of a U.S. B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear weapons near Thule in January 1968?


Cold War comparative history Greenland science and technology diplomacy United States

Editors and affiliations

  • Ronald E. Doel
    • 1
  • Kristine C. Harper
    • 2
  • Matthias Heymann
    • 3
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-59687-1
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-59688-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site