Armed Forces on a Northern Frontier: The Military in Alaska's History, 1867-1987

Hardcover | September 1, 1988

byJonathan M. Nielson

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This book examines the contribution of the military to the exploration, settlement, development, and defense of Alaska. The work covers the period of time from its purchase from Russia in 1867 to the present. During that time Alaska emerged from an obscure colonial dependency to a resource-rich state. This same period confirmed its strategic significance in hemispheric and continental defense, first during the second world war, when Japanese forces occupied the Aleutian Islands, and then during the cold war confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. While in some ways analagous to the western experience generally, the duties of the military on the Alaska frontier were unique. Geography, climate, and unprecendented responsibilities of governance and law enforcement imposed many new challenges. In recent years Alaska and the Arctic have acquired military significance for both the United States and Russia. This fascinating study is in inquiry into the historical evidence and the major themes, events, and personalities that have shaped the development of our forty-ninth state. It offers original research in archival and manuscript sources, and provides a useful synthesis of the published documentary record, and brings together in a comprehensive bibliography resources that are available for those who wish to pursue specific areas of interest. The broad scope, both interpretive and narrative, of this important work will make it an indispensable aid to students and scholars of the western historical experience, American military history, and world history.

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This book examines the contribution of the military to the exploration, settlement, development, and defense of Alaska. The work covers the period of time from its purchase from Russia in 1867 to the present. During that time Alaska emerged from an obscure colonial dependency to a resource-rich state. This same period confirmed its str...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:301 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:September 1, 1988Publisher:GREENWOOD PRESS INC.

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313260303

ISBN - 13:9780313260308

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?A comprehensive, chronological review of the principal US military units that served in Alaska, and of their success in pursuing diverse missions. The book is organized into chapters on the purchase period, exploration, the gold rush era, the settlement period after the gold rush, WW II, and postwar defense. In addition to important original military records., Nielson consulted a wide variety of printed primary and secondary sources. Citation of these sources is a major contribution of the work. Much background material not directly related to the role of the military is also included. More than other areas of the West, WW II changed Alaska dramatically and permanently. Population rose from 72,500 in 1940 to 128,600 in 1950. About 3 billion dollars were spent constructing military facilities; 300,000 military personnel served there at various times during the war. The book's most valuable contribution is a discussion of the continuing military presence in Alaska after WW II, and the role of Alaska in the postwar balance of power between the US and the Soviet Union. Neilson argues that in addition to the economic significance of its presence, the military's understanding of Alaska's strategic location helped raise awareness of America's vulnerability and to form national defense policy. College and university libraries.?-Choice