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Inquiry Question

Historical Context

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About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file for "Attu Battlefield and U.S. Army and Navy Airfields on Attu" (with photographs) and other source materials. Attu was written by Fay Metcalf, education consultant. The lesson was edited by the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in U.S. history, social studies, and geography courses in units on World War II. Attu will help students understand the indomitable spirit of soldiers on both sides of World War II fighting for what they believed to be a just cause.
Time period: World War II
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To explain how the Japanese occupation and American recapture of Attu were significant in the history of World War II.
2) To describe the complexity of even a relatively small-scale military campaign.
3) To discuss both the valor of the American soldiers, who fought under weather conditions considered among the worst in the world, and the loyalty of the Japanese troops to their emperor and their cause.
4) To analyze different sources of information relating to a particular historic site.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) one map of Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands;
2) one reading about the Battle of Attu;
3) one drawing of the battle;
4) six photos of the battle and its aftermath.

Visiting the site
Attu is in a very remote and inaccessible location and military clearance is required to visit it. More information is available from the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Aleutian Islands Unit, PO Box 5251, Adak, Alaska, 99546 or Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 95 Sterling Hwy #1, Homer, AK 99603.

Aleutian World War II National Historic Area is located on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Island Chain, 800 miles west of Anchorage, the nearest large urban center. It can be reached by air through commercial and charter flights from Anchorage, or by the Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry System). The park is open year around. The best time to visit is May through October. For more information, write to Ounalashka Corporation, P.O. Box 149, Unalaska, AK 99685, or visit the park's Web page.

 

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