Aleutian Islands in World War II Air Base photograph collection, circa 1942-1944  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Aleutian Islands in World War II Air Base photograph collection
circa 1942-1944 (inclusive)
31 photographic prints (1 folder) ; 3 x 5 inches and smaller
Collection Number
Photographs of the Aleutians Islands during World War II
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

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.


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

Photographs of the Aleutian Islands during the period of Allied operations against Japanese occupation in World War II. Includes scenic views, and images of service men, aircraft, military buildings, and graves. Many of the photographs are stamped on verso "Passed by examiner - Base 1717 Army."

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the digital version of the collection

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


AirplanesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1 circa 1942-1944
1 2 circa 1942-1944
1 3 circa 1942-1944
1 4 circa 1942-1944
1 5 circa 1942-1944

Military baseReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 6 circa 1942-1944
1 7
 Composite of four images of Post Exchanges
Top left image is obscured by loss from possible water damage
circa 1942-1944
1 8 circa 1942-1944
1 9 circa 1942-1944
1 10 circa 1942-1944
1 11 circa 1942-1944
1 12 circa 1942-1944
1 13
 Manmade tree with a sign in front of it reading "TREE ONLY ONE ON ATTU"
The tree was made by the Army engineers, Camouflage division, likely as a joke since trees do not grow on the Aleutian Islands.
circa 1942-1944
1 14 circa 1942-1944
1 15 circa 1942-1944
1 16 circa 1942-1944
1 17 circa 1942-1944

Aleutian Island SceneryReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 18 circa 1942-1944
1 19 circa 1942-1944
1 20 circa 1942-1944
1 21 circa 1942-1944
1 22 circa 1942-1944
1 23 circa 1942-1944
1 24 circa 1942-1944
Photos removed from album because of deterioration. Original order maintained.
Folder item
1 25 1944
1 26 circa 1944
1 27 circa 1944
1 28 circa 1944
1 29 circa 1944
1 30 1944
1 31 circa 1944

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Quonset huts--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Aleutian Islands (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Attu Island (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Kiska Island (Alaska)--Photographs