Bjarni Benediktsson

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Person.png Bjarni Benediktsson  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(lawyer, academic, politician)
Bjarni Benediktsson.jpg
Born30 April 1908
Reykjavík, Iceland
Died10 July 1970 (Age 62)
Þingvellir, Iceland
NationalityIcelandic
Alma materUniversity of Iceland
Victim ofpremature death
PartyIndependence Party
Main responsible for Iceland joining NATO in 1949, against significant opposition, and for giving the United States Air Force a lease on Keflavík Airport. Prime Minister of Iceland for most of the 1960s. Died in 1970 from a fire soon after his 4th Bilderberg

Employment.png Prime Minister of Iceland

In office
14 November 1963 - 10 July 1970
Died in office from a fire shortly after his 4th Bilderberg meeting

Employment.png Prime Minister of Iceland

In office
8 September 1961 - 31 December 1961

Employment.png Iceland/Minister/Foreign Affairs

In office
4 February 1947 - 11 September 1953

Bjarni Benediktsson was Prime Minister of Iceland for most of the 1960s. He was the main responsible for Iceland joining NATO in 1949 and for giving the United States Air Force a lease on Keflavík Airport.

Benediktsson died in office from a fire which also killed his wife and grandson.

Early life

His father, Benedikt Sveinsson (1877–1954), was a leader in the independence movement in Iceland and a member of the Althingi from 1908 to 1931.

Bjarni studied constitutional law and became a professor at the University of Iceland at age 24. He was elected to the city council in Reykjavík in 1934 as a member of the Independence Party and from 1940 to 1947 was mayor of the city.

Politics

Bjarni (right) with Prime Minister of Israel Levi Eshkol in 1964.

In 1947 he became Foreign Minister and served in various posts in cabinets until 1956. Bjarni was mainly responsible for Iceland joining NATO in 1949, against significant opposition, and for giving the United States Air Force a lease on Keflavík Airport near Reykjavík, which was of major strategic importance during the Cold War.[1]

Bjarni was caricatured by the Nobel prize winning writer Halldór Laxness in his 1948 novel Atómstöðin (The Atom Station).[1]

In 1956, when the left-wing parties formed a coalition government, Bjarni, out of office, became editor of Morgunblaðið, a leading conservative newspaper.

In 1959, when the Independence Party formed a coalition government with the Social Democrats, Bjarni became Minister of Justice. He was speaker of the Althing in 1959.[2] Two years later he was elected chairman of the Independence Party and in 1963 he took over from Ólafur Thors as Prime Minister. He served in this position until his death, which was caused by a fire at a government summer house at Þingvellir; his wife and grandson also perished in the blaze.

Bjarni was the father of Björn Bjarnason and Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, as well as the father-in-law of Vilmundur Gylfason. Bjarni was the great-uncle of his namesake Bjarni Benediktsson, who became Prime Minister in January 2017.


 

Events Participated in

EventStartEndLocation(s)Description
Bilderberg/19652 April 19654 April 1965Italy
Villa d'Este
The 14th Bilderberg meeting, held in Italy
Bilderberg/196826 April 196828 April 1968Canada
Mont Tremblant
The 17th Bilderberg and the 2nd in Canada
Bilderberg/19699 May 196911 May 1969Denmark
Hotel Marienlyst
Elsinore
The 18th Bilderberg meeting, with 85 participants
Bilderberg/197017 April 197019 April 1970Switzerland
Hotel Quellenhof
Bad Ragaz
the 19th Bilderberg meeting, in Switzerland.


References

  1. a b Williams, Moray (11 July 1970). "A Premier Dies, with wife and grandson, in fire". The Guardian. London. p. 3
  2. https://www.althingi.is/thingmenn/althingismannatal/sogulegur-frodleikur/forsetar-althingis/forsetar-althingis-1875-1991/
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