The Aleutian World War II National Historical Park and Visitor Center focus on telling the story of the Forgotten War ; the events of the Aleutian Campaign that include the bombing of Dutch Harbor by the Japanese in June 1942, the evacuation and internment of the Aleuts, the Japanese invasion of the islands of Attu and Kiska, the Battle of Attu, the Allied invasion of Kiska, and the bombing of Paramishiru. Through the preservation and protection of World War II historic buildings and structures, the park preserves in memory the commitment and sacrifice of the more than 100,000 American and Canadian troops once stationed on these wind-swept islands off the western coast of Alaska. For the Unangax (Aleut) the park is dedicated to reconciling the injustices of the Aleutian Campaign and the suffering and loss of those forced to leave their villages and lifes treasures behind to spend years in Southeast Alaska - only to return home to find their villages in ruins or gone.
The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area encompasses the historic footprint of the U.S. Army base Fort Schwatka. Located on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Island Chain of Alaska, the fort was one of four coastal defense posts built to protect Dutch Harbor (the back door to the United States) during World War II, the fort is also highest coastal battery ever constructed in the United States. In 1996 Congress designated this National Historic Area to interpret, educate, and inspire present and future generations about the history of the Aleut or Unangan people and the Aleutian Islands in the defense of the United States in World War II.
The park and its facilities on Amaknak Island in Unalaska, Alaska, are owned and managed by the Ounalashka Corporation, the village corporation for Unalaska. The National Park Service provides technical assistance to the corporation and its staff to plan, develop, and preserve the resources on site. Through this cooperative partnership, the Unangax are the keepers of their history and invite the public to learn more about its past and present.