For most people, the Aleutians are a far-away place. Maps help you visualize the places and distances involved in far-away stories.
After invading Attu, Japanese forces took the islanders to Japan as prisoners. Their ordeal lasted several years as they traveled the entire width of the Pacific Ocean.
Evacuation and Internment
With the supposed goal of protecting the Unangax̂ (Aleut) people, the American military forced nearly 900 villagers to move from their homes in the Aleutian Islands to Southeast Alaska, a journey of a thousand miles. The military burned their villages, to prevent the Japanese from finding any resources that might aid their war effort. The Unangax̂ spent years in living in makeshift, poor-quality camps in Southeast Alaska before being returned to the Aleutians; and even then, some were not permitted to return to their former villages.
By 1945, as hostilities came to an end, the Unangax̂ resettled many of their former villages. Some of those villages remain empty, however, no longer a home after the forced removal of villagers.
Last updated: February 22, 2019