25 July, 2014

The Forgotten Internment

The Forgotten Internment: The invasion triggered the chaotic removal of all the Aleut civilians from the islands. On June 12, a naval commander ordered the immediate evacuation of Atka, the next-most-westerly Aleut settlement, 875 kilometres east of Attu. Once its residents had retreated to the hills, they watched as a military crew burned the village to the ground to prevent its use by the invaders. Then the Atkans were ordered to board a military ship and, without further explanation, their long voyage east began.

Over the next month, the remaining nine Aleut settlements were emptied and their buildings, instead of being burned, were occupied for military use. Residents received little to no warning of their departure and no information about where they were going or how long they would be gone. Some were allowed to bring a single suitcase each; others carried nothing at all.