Stepping Stones to Nowhere: The Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and American Military Strategy, 1867-1945

By Perras, Galen R.; O'Reilly, Kenneth | International Journal, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Stepping Stones to Nowhere: The Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and American Military Strategy, 1867-1945


Perras, Galen R., O'Reilly, Kenneth, International Journal


Galen Roger Perras

Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003, xiv, 274pp, $85.00 cloth (ISBN 0-7748-0989-2), $25.95 paper (ISBN 0-7748-0990-6)

Deeds and dreams of empire have a way of persisting even in the face of cold facts. And where could those facts be colder than in Alaska? Even as the overly practical dismissed the Russian fire-sale of 20 June 1867 that gave the United States "Seward's Icebox" (in honour of Secretary of State William H. Seward) for the piddling amount of $7.3 million, those concerned with the strategic side of the colonial vocation saw Alaska--and more specifically its Aleutian Island chain--as a logical perch from which the American eagle could begin the tedious business of keeping the planet well ordered. Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan fought the first battle of Pearl Harbor in 1911, arguing that the nation's Pacific fleet ought to be based at Kiska Island. Needless to say, Mahan and Alaska lost out to Hawaii on the grounds, ironic given later events, that the Aleutians were too close to the Kuriles and thus too vulnerable to a Japanese sneak attack. Twenty-four years later, in 1935, Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell of the Army Air Service came out of retirement to inform Congress that Alaska's importance could not be exaggerated: "Air power can neutralize anything standing still or moving on the surface of the earth or water... [and] Alaska is the most central place in the world for aircraft.... [H]e who holds Alaska will rule the world, and I think it is the most important strategic place in the world" (p 30).

This rule-the-world rhetoric suggested the dream of empire. The title of Galen Roger Perras's book suggests that the deeds of empire were a bit more mundane for the simple reason that no strategic thinker's map could make Alaska and its Aleutians anything but stepping stones to nowhere. For a brief period during World War II, Billy Mitchell's prophecy did appeared to be unfolding--principally because the Japanese appeared to share the same Alaskan delusion. In June 1942, seven months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops seized the Aleutian island of Attu and held it for eleven months until American troops took it back in a bloody three-week battle. A major theatre in the North Pacific appeared certain thereafter as some 35,000 United States soldiers and sailors set their sites on a second Aleutian island held by the enemy. But when this force arrived on Kiska, they discovered that the Japanese had evacuated. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stepping Stones to Nowhere: The Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and American Military Strategy, 1867-1945
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.