Knowledge is power: Greenland, great powers, and lessons from the Second World War

Michael Gjerstad, James Rogers

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearchpeer-review


In 2019, when President Donald J. Trump confirmed that he was considering an attempt to buy Greenland, European leaders looked on bemused and amused. There were many reasons why Trump’s real-estate proposition was flawed: not least because Greenland is a proud nation within the sovereign Kingdom of Denmark and is most decidedly “not for sale”. Yet it is understandable why the president found the idea alluring. Greenland is, and has long been, geographically important to the United States, sitting in between North America and Europe. Eighty years ago, this meant that Greenland was caught between the US and its German enemy. Today, Greenland sits between the US and its Russian foe. In an increasingly warming, active, and re-militarized Arctic – where Russian military activity and controversial Chinese economic encroachment frustrate American and European allies – Greenland has taken on renewed importance. Indeed, there are lessons about the importance of Greenland that we can learn from the role Greenland played during the Second World War.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date15. Jun 2021
PublisherThe Arctic Institute
Publication statusPublished - 15. Jun 2021


  • Arctic
  • Strategy
  • Drones
  • WW2
  • Intelligence
  • war


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