Kiska - Aleutians - June 1942

Japanese Troops on Kiska in The Aleutians. The West Coast got worried.

June 14, 1942 – A War Closer To Home: Invasion Of The Aleutian Islands – News On The China Front

Kiska - Aleutians - June 1942
Japanese Troops on Kiska in The Aleutians. The West Coast got worried.

June 14, 1942 – Voice Of China – Radio Tokyo English Service – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

June 14, 1942 – Beginning with news from China that the Japanese invasion and occupation of parts of China were still going on and the struggle to retake some towns and defend others. But the news that grabbed the most attention, not only in China but the Allies as well, was news that an invasion of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands was underway. In the only two invasions of the United States during the war of a U.S. incorporated territory, a small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, where the remoteness of the islands and the challenges of weather and terrain delayed a larger American-Canadian force sent to eject them for nearly a year. Successful Japanese invasions of other U.S. territories, which were unincorporated territories, in the western Pacific shortly after the Attack on Pearl Harbor included Wake Island, Guam, and the Philippines. The islands’ strategic value was their ability to control Pacific transportation routes as US General Billy Mitchell stated to the U.S. Congress in 1935, “I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.”

The Japanese reasoned that control of the Aleutians would prevent a possible US attack across the Northern Pacific. Similarly, the US feared that the islands would be used as bases from which to carry out a full-scale aerial attack on US West Coast cities like Anchorage, Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

The Japanese invasions and occupations of Kiska on June 6 and Attu on June 7 1942 shocked the American public, as the continental United States was invaded for the first time in 130 years since 1815 (during the War of 1812). The invading forces initially met little resistance from the local Unangax, also known as Aleuts. Though the U.S. Navy had offered to evacuate Attu in May 1942, the Attuan Unangax chief declined. Little changed for the Unangax under Japanese occupation until September 1942 when Japan’s Aleutian strategy shifted. It was at this point that the Unangax were taken to Hokkaido, Japan, and placed in an internment camp.

The invasion of Attu and imprisonment of the local Unangax became the justification for the United States’ policy of forcible evacuation of the Unangax in the Aleutian Islands. Unangan civilians were placed in internment camps in the Alaska Panhandle.

There was a lot more going on and The Voice Of China switch from news of the day to celebrating United Nations day (not the Official United Nations but rather the allied nations) and attempting to bolster morale.

Radio Tokyo, on the other hand recites victories of the Japanese forces throughout the Pacific and increased bombings of Darwin and other objectives.

All in all, a day of interesting contrasts via Shortwave – faint, fuzzy signals not withstanding, a view of the war as others were seeing it.




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