Understanding the Socio-Political Background Behind Devil’s Island | Senses of Cinema

By 1950, the political issue had taken on a more cultural tone, with Icelanders decrying the American soldiers’ courtship of Icelandic women and “the most serious problem” (11) of the establishment of a television station run by the US military which was soon broadcast to approximately three-fourths of the population. It would not be until 1966 when RÚV (Ríkisútvarpið, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service) would finally premiere the first Icelandic television channel, Sjónvarpið. Still, the cultural influence of American television remained a hot point for Icelanders. Magnússon writes:

“Three years after Icelandic television had started, a sociological survey conducted among school children in the ten to twelve age bracket had shown an alarming trend. The children in Keflavík … knew next to nothing about their own society, but a great deal about American society and leading American personalities.” (12)

In the early ‘70s, the leftist coalition of the Icelandic government made the base a hot political issue once again when it used America’s lack of involvement in the second cod war (13) as an excuse to challenge the US-Icelandic Defence Agreement of 1951. This agreement provided for the air base on the condition that it was for the protection of the Icelandic people, a condition that the ruling coalition felt was not being upheld by America’s inaction during the conflict with England. (14) However, after tensions dissipated following the end of the second cod war and the subsequent election of a more American-friendly coalition, direct political pressure against the military base largely subsided.

via Understanding the Socio-Political Background Behind Devil’s Island | Senses of Cinema.

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