To the Leader
Alaska is our last geographical frontier. War, out of strategic necessity, has made Americans conscious of this United States outpost as nothing has since the Yukon gold rush nearly fifty years ago. Many vigorous young men and women are wondering what this vast area is like. What kinds of opportunities will it offer after this war is over?
This pamphlet is packed with facts and figures about Alaskan climate, geography, agriculture, and industry. These facts afford an excellent basis for forums or discussions on at least three major questions. The three are listed here together with other questions that naturally come to mind in connection with them:
What Has Alaska to Offer Postwar Pioneers?
In what ways does Alaska resemble the Western frontier of, say, 1850? In what ways is it different? Will the development of Alaska in the next century parallel the development of the West in the last?
Has the frontier a vital contribution to make to present-day American living?
What do you consider of greatest importance in Alaska today: The dollar-and-cents value of its fish, minerals, and other resources? Its strategic and military defense role? Its position on world airways? Its possibilities as a vacationland and recreation area? Its possibilities as a migration area for settlers from the States and Europe? Others?
How Should Alaska Be Developed after the War?
Should Alaska be developed to the full by modern industry and agriculture, or should it be left as a source of fish and minerals and as a national playground?
Should Army equipment remaining in Alaska be turned over to the Territory for roadmaking, clearing of farmland, and similar tasks?
Should permanent military installations be kept in Alaska?
Should the Alaska Highway be developed for pleasure and commercial freight traffic, or should it remain a military service road only?
Would a railroad overland into Alaska be worth its cost in dollars and manpower?
What should the role of the Alaska native be in the development of the Territory? Should Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos be accorded the same economic and political privileges as white Alaskans?
What Is Likely to Be Alaska’s Political Development in the Future?
Should Alaska be given statehood? What effect would this have on its development? On the exploitation of its resources?
Should Alaskans elect their governor and other Territorial officials? Should Congress continue to exercise a veto power over Territorial legislation?
What should be the policy of Alaska toward immigration after the war?
What should be the relation of Alaska to its neighbors, USSR and the Canadian Northwest?
If you wish to do so, you might organize one meeting on each of the major questions. Or still another question may suggest itself to you as more likely to interest your group. Perhaps future political development for Alaska will be less interesting to your members than the possibilities for industrial development or for personal opportunities. In planning a meeting or meetings on Alaska you should of course be guided by what your men would like to discuss.
Use EM 1, G.I. Roundtable: Guide for Discussion Leaders. It was planned to be full of practical suggestions on choosing subjects, on promoting off-duty discussion, on using charts, maps, movies and other visual aids, and on other matters pertaining to a discussion group program. Almost any meeting which you may plan on Alaska will require a wall map of the area. If such a map is not available, have some G.I. artist draw a rough outline of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands on a sheet of paper about 4 by 6 feet. (If large sheets of paper are not available, such a map can be prepared in two or four sections and the sections mounted on a wall or a large board with tacks.) Have the main features likely to be valuable for your discussion printed on the outline as shown in the map opposite page 1 of this pamphlet. This map might also indicate the products and industries of the various regions: agriculture, gold, fur farming, trapping, salmon, tourists, etc.
It is suggested that the map will be more effective if a color scheme, using crayon or ink, is used: red for the regions, black for geographical features, and green for products and industries. A more elaborate color scheme could be developed by breaking the geographical features down into parts. You can use the colors for printing the names or for underlining names printed in black.
Make copies of this pamphlet available for reading by your group members. You can place pamphlets on a loan basis in the library, service club, or day room. Some reading by members in advance of discussion is always helpful even if only a few take advantage of the opportunity.
Publications on the following pages are suggested for further reading if it so happens that you have access to them. They are not approved nor officially supplied by the War Department. They have been selected because they give additional information and represent different points of view.