Greenland was strategically important to the Allies in WWII for a number of reasons. First, a mine at Ivigtut was the only known source of cryolite, a vital catalyst for aluminum production. Second, Greenland was ideally located as a refueling stop for planes flying from North America to Europe in the days before non-stop trans-Atlantic flights. Finally, meteorologists had shown that by monitoring Greenland weather they could more accurately forecast weather for Western Europe. When Denmark, the colonial power in Greenland, fell to the Nazis in the spring of 1940, Britain, Canada, and the United States began working out how to defend Greenland.
The generous support of the Friends of Bowdoin College has made this exhibit possible.
Pictured above: Donald B. MacMillan, Greenland, 1941. Bowdoin Crew-US Navy. Silver gelatin print. Gift of Donald B. MacMillan.