Aleutian Islands in World War II aerial photograph collection, circa 1941-1944  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Aleutian Islands in World War II aerial photograph collection
circa 1941-1944 (inclusive)
1 oversize folder
3 photographs ; 16.5 x 18. 5 inches
Collection Number
Three aerial view photographs of the Aleutian Islands during World War II, showing American military aircraft in flight over the islands
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.


Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

During World War II, in June, 1942, the Japanese seized the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska. These islands are part of the chain of Aleutian Islands, located off the tip of Alaska, and provided the Japanese with a base from which to limit Allied air and sea operations in the North Pacific. In an effort to recapture the islands, the United States established airfields on Adak and Amchitka Islands in August, 1942. Plans were made in the spring of 1943 to recapture Kiska and Attu. It was eventually decided to bypass Kiska, and American and Canadian forces landed on Attu on May 11, 1943. Air and naval units supported the operation. The Japanese on Attu defended their position intensely, and the fighting continued until May 30, when Japan announced the loss of the island.

On August 15, 1943, a powerful Allied amphibious force, including a U.S. infantry division and elements of the Royal Canadian Army, assaulted the island of Kiska, where the Japanese had developed their largest base. To the surprise of the Allies, they found that the Japanese, under cover of heavy summer fog, had secretly evacuated the island. In August, 1943, the island was declared secure, thus ending the Aleutian Islands Campaign. During 1944 the Canadians left and U.S. Army presence in Alaska dropped from a high of 144,000 to 63,000 personnel. Although interest in the Alaskan theater waned, it was in the Aleutians that the Allies won their first theater-wide victory in World War II, ending Japan's only campaign in the Western Hemisphere.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Three aerial view photographs of the Aleutian Islands during World War II, showing American military aircraft in flight over the islands. Two of the photographs show a view of mountains and water with American military planes in the air; one shows an aerial view (with the wing of the plane visible) of battleships in the water at Adak. Two of the photographs are stamped on verso as "Official Navy Photograph" and "Passed by Naval Censor."

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1 U.S. military plane over mountains and water circa 1941-1944
2 Three U.S. military planes over mountains and water August 22, 1941
3 View of battleships in water near Adak circa 1941-1943

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs