Canadian - Alaska 1 Canadian - Alaska 2 Canadian - Alaska 3
The North Pacific has been described as the forgotten war due to the remote location to the main theatres of war in Europe, North Africa, the Central and South Pacific. The actions fought were few and far between but the strategic value assigned to the North Pacific by Japan, the U.S., Canada, and the Soviet Union was important and tied into the overall approach by all in how to deal with wartime preparations and actions during the war.
Canada had expected the Pacific Coast to be the most likely area of conflict and potential attack up until 1938 when Europe began to accelerate towards war. The question of conflict between Japan and the Soviet Union was only narrowly avoided when after a brief outbreak of hostilities in 1939 and a bloody Japanese nose, the Japanese military establishment decide to look south for expansion with naval supported actions backing up the army. The Soviet Union had alienated many countries and after signing a non-aggression pact with Germany in August of 1939 became obsessed with not offending the Axis powers. Even after the Germany invasion of Russia in June 0f 1939, Stalin did everything in his power to avoid a two-front war with Japan in Asia while fighting for his life against Germany.
The U.S. took a hard-line stand against Japan after it moved south the take over former European colonies in Indochina and expanded further into China by imposing steel and oil embargos on it. The U.S. had sent Colonel Simon Buckner Jr. to Alaska to beef up American defences, build airfields and expand the general military presence throughout Alaska.
The issue was a chain of islands called the Aleutian Islands which extend for over 1,000 miles from Alaska, southwest into the Pacific to within 750 of Japan. This potentially threatened Japan with a location which could conduct bombing missions directly on Japan itself and was thus, viewed as a critical danger. Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto who had masterminded the attack on Pearl Harbour, was planning an operation against Midway Island intended to draw out and destroy the American fleet. As a part of the operation Japan also targeted the islands of Attu and Kiska for occupation by Japanese forces in order to block American attacks on Japan. The Japanese were convinced that the Doolittle raid had originated from the Aleutians and that defensive weakness had to be resolved.
Douglas, W.A.B.; Sarty, Roger; Whitby, Michael (2002). No Higher Purpose: The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1939–1943 Volume II, Part I. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN1-55125-061-6.
Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910–2002 (Third ed.). St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN1-55125-072-1.
Macpherson, Ken (1997). Minesweepers of the Royal Canadian Navy 1938–1945. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN0-920277-55-1.