Skip to main content

Aleutian World War II National Historic Area

Aleutian World War II National Historic Area

This little known site of arduous WWII battles is located on a rich and remote archipelago stretching from Alaska to Siberia. 

Perched on Mount Ballyhoo in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the concrete remains of the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area speak silently of a time of war. This magical place was the stage for two American tragedies: here, servicemen fought both the Japanese and the extreme weather, as hundreds of native Unangan people were interned a thousand miles away, longing to return to their island homes. 

In 1996, Congress designated the site a national historic area, commemorating the defense of Dutch Harbor during World War II and Aleutian contributions to the American war effort. The Aleuts helped defend against a year-long Japanese campaign against the western Aleutian islands. 

On June 3-4, 1942, a Japanese aircraft carrier task force launched attacks against the Dutch Harbor Naval Base and Fort Mears on Unalaska. Seen as a diversionary attack by American military commanders, the poor visibility hampered the Japanese bombing of Dutch Harbor. The following day, a much larger Japanese naval force was defeated by American forces at the Battle of Midway, halting the Japanese advance in the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.