The Alaska-Siberia Connection
The World War II Air Route
Military History - World War II
6 x 9, 200 pp.
16 b&w photos., 2 maps.
Pub Date: 07/01/1996
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
  cloth
Price:        $39.95 s

978-0-89096-711-9

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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The Alaska-Siberia Connection

The World War II Air Route

By Otis Hays Jr.

Early in World War II, two hundred years after Vitus Bering made the first Siberian connection with Alaska, Russians once again returned to Alaska as part of the U.S.–Soviet Lend-Lease program to ferry American-made aircraft to Siberia.

American Lend-Lease generosity helped to join Russia and America in a wartime alliance against Germany. However, Russia, suspicious of American sincerity, delayed the establishment of an Alaska–Siberia delivery route (known throughout the war as ALSIB) to the German war front. Instead, other routes via the North Atlantic and the Persian Gulf were employed for the delivery of urgently needed aircraft in 1941–42.

Eventually, recognizing that an ALSIB route would allow the delivery of American-made aircraft in days, not weeks or months the Russians agreed to the ALSIB route in late 1942.

The ALSIB route became the fastest and most productive means of moving combat aircraft to the Russian–German front. Additionally, although it was primitive and dangerous, it established a direct and time-saving artery between Moscow and Washington, and it was heavily used by diplomats, politicians, and countless military officials, both Soviet and American.

Declassified official U.S. military records and selected Russian sources, as well as reminiscences from former American liaison officers who were stationed at ALSIB posts in Alaska between 1943 and 1945, serve as the basis for this intriguing story.

Otis Hays's The Alaska-Siberia Connection: The World War II Air Route, presents the untold story of how the Soviets and Americans worked together to deliver fighting aircraft where they could be used effectively, shared always dangerous and sometimes deadly subarctic flying hazards, surmounted most of the language and cultural barriers they faced, and staunchly refused to allow mutual mistrust to overcome their efforts.

Otis Hays, Jr., is the author of Home from Siberia: The Secret Odysseys of Interned American Airmen in World War II, also published by Texas A&M University Press. He served as a senior member of the Alaska Defense Command's military intelligence staff and was the responsible staff supervisor of the command's foreign liaison operation in 1943–44. He lives near Pierce City, Missouri.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Crammed with operational and political details, historical perspective, and personalities. . . . This authoritative account is one of many new history titles benefiting from access to long-closed military sources. Recommended for all academic and military collections." --Library Journal

“Because he also gathered interviews with Russians and Americans who had been involved, he is able to enliven his story with personal references. . . .” --Anchorage News

“He has utilized declassified military intelligence files and the recollectionsof others, American and Russian, to tell the story.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“This is an excellent book for history and World War II buffs.” --Conservative Review

“A very informative work on this little-known part of the war...” --Stone & Stone

The Alaska-Siberia Connection is as informative as it is enjoyable to read.” --Alaska History

The Alaska-Siberia Connection helps fill a void in the literature.” --Net Assessment

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