Remembering Alaska's Forgotten Campaign
The Aleutian Islands campaign of WWII is often called the “Forgotten Campaign”, because the outcome of the military actions were largely of little strategic importance. However, through my research into first-hand accounts of the events in Alaska and more recently written historical accounts, I make the argument that the Aleutian Islands campaign was crucial to the history of Alaska even if it was not crucial to the outcome of WWII. Before the beginning of the war, Alaska was a remote and undeveloped landscape. As tensions mounted, the US military began to see Alaska as a place of strategic importance, and began to build up its defenses and infrastructure. The Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands, the first invasion of US soil since the War of 1812, proved anticlimactic, but the improvements to Alaska’s infrastructure and increase in attention from the public due to US military involvement had a profound impact on the land. It was transformed from what most simply called “Seward’s Folly” into the modern state we know today.