One Year: 1942

Season 4: Episode 5

When Internment Came to Alaska

The U.S. military claimed it was protecting Indigenous Alaskans during World War II. The real story is much darker.


Episode Notes

Six months after Pearl Harbor, Japan launched another attack on the United States. This time, Axis forces actually invaded, turning the Aleutian Islands into a battleground. What the country did next, in the name of “protecting” Alaska’s Indigenous people, is a shameful chapter of the war. And it’s one the nation has never fully reckoned with.

This episode of One Year was produced by Evan Chung, Sophie Summergrad, Sam Kim, Sol Werthan, and Josh Levin.

Derek John is senior supervising producer of narrative podcasts and Merritt Jacob is senior technical director.

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Sources for This Episode


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Kohlhoff, Dean. When the Wind was a River: Aleut Evacuation in World War II, University of Washington Press, 1995.

Mobley, Charles M. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska,  National Park Service, 2015.

Obmascik, Mark. The Storm on Our Shores: One Island, Two Soldiers, and the Forgotten Battle of World War II, Atria Books, 2019.

The Aleutians Campaign June 1942 - August 1943, Office of Naval Intelligence - United States Navy, 1945.


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About the Show

The people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. In each episode, host Josh Levin explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before. What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?

The fourth season of One Year covers 1942, a year when inflation threatened to sink America, disinformation was rampant, and a worker revolt changed music forever.

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