Full Name 90 Kingdom of Iceland
Alliance Neutral or Non-Belligerent
Possessing Power Denmark
Entry into WW2 10 May 1940
Population in 1939 120,000


ww2dbaseIn 1874, Iceland, an island between Greenland, Britain, and Norway, was granted limited home rule by its possessing power, Denmark. In 1918, the Danish-Icelandic Act of Union was signed, establishing Iceland as a fully sovereign state in a personal union with Denmark, and the act was to last for 25 years; it was also agreed that Denmark was to handle foreign policy on behalf of Iceland. When the war in Europe began in 1939, Denmark's declaration of neutrality applied to Iceland as well. On 10 Apr 1940, one day after Denmark became occupied by Germany, the Althing, the Icelandic parliament, passed resolutions granting the Icelandic cabinet full powers, including the power over foreign policy. For the next few weeks, Britain courted Iceland, seeking to bring Iceland into the war on the side of the Allies, but all attempts failed. Fearing a German occupation, British forces invaded Iceland on 10 May 1940. Iceland protested, calling the invasion a "flagrant violation" of the country's neutrality but, Prime Minister Hermann Jónasson also announced over radio that the citizens of Iceland should treat British troops as guests. The invasion of Iceland saw minimal actual fighting; less than ten were killed on both sides. By 1941, about 25,000 British troops were stationed on Iceland. In the same year, the Althing adopted a law creating the position of regent for Sveinn Björnsson. Also in 1941, in Jul, Britain forced Iceland into signing an agreement which allowed American troops to be stationed in Iceland, thus freeing British troops to serve elsewhere; the number of US troops would eventually reach 40,000, which was about a third of the native population. Iceland hosted a number of important airfields for the Allies, as well as being the staging point for many of the Atlantic Convoys bringing war goods to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk in northern Russia. On 17 Jun 1944, after the expiration of the Act of Union of 1918, Iceland declared formal independence as a republic and continued to nominally observe neutrality in the war; Björnsson became the nation's first president. Danish King Christian X, from occupied Denmark, sent a message of congratulations to the Icelandic people. Allied occupation troops did not depart until 1946.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Mar 2013

Events Taken Place in Iceland
Invasion and Occupation of Iceland10 May 1940 - 31 Dec 1945
Arctic Convoys21 Aug 1941 - 30 May 1945


WW2-Era Weather Data for Iceland


View from the battleship USS New York with USS Arkansas and cruisers USS Brooklyn and Nashville behind as they leave Reykjavik, Iceland after escorting the US Marine landing force there, 12 Jul 1941.Winston Churchill visiting US Marines on Iceland, 16 Aug 1941; note Ensign Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Smith also presentUSS Kearny at Reykjavík, Iceland, 19 Oct 1941, two days after she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-568. USS Monssen is alongside. Note the torpedo hole in KearnyP-38F Lightings refuel in Iceland on their way to Britain, mid-1942. Note PBY Catalina.
See all 5 photographs of Iceland in World War II

Iceland in World War II Interactive Map

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Jody Baldwin says:
11 Jul 2018 04:46:38 PM

my uncle was with the US Army, and died in a plane crash in Iceland on January 18, 1945 on his way home near the end of the war. I am visiting Iceland on August 8 through 16 and I am looking for information on that crash. Thank you.

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Iceland in World War II Photo Gallery
View from the battleship USS New York with USS Arkansas and cruisers USS Brooklyn and Nashville behind as they leave Reykjavik, Iceland after escorting the US Marine landing force there, 12 Jul 1941.
See all 5 photographs of Iceland in World War II

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