• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

History and Culture

People
The 1943 Battle of Attu reclaimed the island; however, its residents would never reclaim their homeland. Captured by the Japanese and held prisoners of war for three years, the Attuans survived horrific conditions. The Unangan from nine other villages were relocated to substandard cannery and mining buildings in Southeast Alaska by the federal government, their homes and villages vandalized by U.S. troops, their beloved churches neglected, and their archeological sites looted for recreation. Of the 880 Unangan who were removed or captured, nearly 100 died. Learn more about the Unangan and the service-members of the Aleutians theater.

Places
From Japan, along the Aleutian chain, to Southeast Alaska, the Aleutian theater of war spanned thousands of miles. Dive into a sequence of maps illustrating this remote part of the world.

Stories
Known to historians as the "Forgotten War," the Aleutian Campaign began on June 3rd, 1942 when Japanese planes bombed Unalaska and Amaknak Islands. Tens of thousands of troops mobilized to the Aleutians to defend the backdoor to the United States as the Japanese Northern Garrison occupied the western islands of Attu and Kiska. Learn more about this theater of World War II.

Collections
Here you will find a collection of snapshots of the past. Saved newspaper clippings illustrating the triumphs and tragedies of World War II as felt by its participants; diaries and journals, of Americans and Japanese servicemen recording their feelings and experiences; donated works of non-fiction looking at the details of the Forgotten War in the Aleutians; and more.


Did You Know?

Photo of a building, parking lot

The Ounalashka Corporation was established in 1973 as the Alaska Village Corporation for Unalaska. This corporation was one of many Native Alaskan corporations that were formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.