Kristian H. Nielsen
July 20, 2013
Historians have identified a few important overlaps between the concurrent processes of militarization and modernization in Greenland. Following World War II, the US wanted to strengthen its military presence in northern Greenland in order to be able to deploy nuclear bombers against the industrial centers of the Soviet Union. Denmark had little option but to consent. The postwar modernization of Greenland was enacted in response to requests on behalf of the Greenlandic community and the growing economy in Greenland mainly due to increasing cod fisheries from the 1920s onward. It was also a response and to the military build-up during the early Cold War, which placed Greenland, situated on the Arctic beeline between Washington and Moscow, right at center of the world. In order to maintain provisional sovereignty over Greenland, establish closer economic ties within fisheries and natural resources, and prepare Greenlanders for more frequent relations with other nations, Denmark had to manifest its ambition and its ability to gradually transform Greenland into a modern society and a (semi-)autonomous nation.