Aleutian Islands: America's Backyard Threat

Adak Army Base
Credit- National Park Service
Aleutian Islands: America’s Backyard Threat
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It was a journey to the most remote military build up of the Cold War. An island chain stretching over a thousand miles across the Bering Sea from the Alaskian Peninsula towards Russia. In 1987, as Soviets troops threatened to invade Western Europe, the Pentagon drew up plans for a counter offensive that involved attacking Russia on its Eastern flank – to catapult the Aleutian Islands into the front lines of a possible World War III. An examination of the military build up along the Aleutian chain. Secretly American forces were preparing to invade the Soviet eastern front if Russian tanks rolled into Western Europe. The production team was given exclusive access to the battle plan, became the first television crew to witness the military build-up and were taken along the Aleutian Islands to the furthest outpost on Attu. 

Behind The Scenes

The nine hour flight along the Aleutian chain revealed images from the Second World War. Japanese encampments and even a Japanese submarine still resting in Kiska harbor. The British Ministry of Defense called after the show was broadcast on the BBC as they didn’t even know their ally had a ship in Adak harbor capable of detecting income Soviet missiles using advanced over the horizon radar. 

Produced For
BBC NewsNight
Reporter
Gavin Esler
Director
David C. Taylor
Producer
David C. Taylor
Editor
Jerry Manley
Awards & Recognition
Topical Feature Award- British Academy of Film and Television Awards
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