The Axis Conquers the Philippines: January 1942-July 1942

Japan's capture of the island fortress of Singapore in February 1942 shocked Britain and other European colonial powers.
Legacy Publishers

The Axis­­ continued to smash forward in World War II during the first half of 1942. On February 15, 1942, the British Empire suffered one of its most humiliating defeats. At 6:15 p.m., in a makeshift conference room in the Ford Motor Company factory in Singapore, General Arthur Percival surrendered the island to Lieutenant General Yamashita Tomoyuki.

The Japanese made the island the headquarters of the Southern Army, which conquered Southeast Asia, and renamed Singapore "Shonan," meaning "Light of the South." Of the 50,000 white troops captured, 18,000 would die of disease and/or mistreatment before war's end.


The Japanese armed forces aimed to capture a broad area in the south. They would defend the perimeter while the rich resources of the region were incorporated into the Japanese war effort.

Resistance was limited. In the Dutch East Indies, the 140,000-man colonial army was overwhelmed. The northern Philippines, with a mixed native and American fo­rce, was quickly overrun except for the Bataan Peninsula, where 100,000 soldiers and refugees were bottled up. The Japanese captured the peninsula in April.

The American headquarters in the fortress of Corregidor, in Manila Bay, fell on May 6, 1942, after a fierce defense. By early June, nearly all American forces in the Philippines had surrendered.­

Further west, a Japanese force overran Burma and entered the capital, Rangoon, on March 8. A Japanese aircraft carrier raided the northern Australian port of Darwin on February 19, and in April Japanese aircraft sank British shipping on the Indian coast.

This was the limit of Japanese expansion, though the assault had been so successful and rapid that senior commanders sought to capitalize on their advantage with further advances. In early May, a naval force sailed south to seize the southern peninsula of New Guinea while Admiral Yamamoto planned a mid-Pacific offensive. This was designed to destroy what was left of U.S. naval power in the ocean and cut off American aid to the South Pacific.

The prelude to the final Japanese assault was the seizure of Port Moresby in southern New Guinea. The task force that was dispatched south in early May was attacked by a small Allied force in the Coral Sea. The battle was a strategic setback for Yamamoto, who was obliged to abandon his plan to seize Port Moresby and isolate Australia. This was the first hint that Japanese expansion was nearing its limit.­

A month later, Yamamoto dispatched a huge task force to Midway Island, hoping to lure what was left of the U.S. Pacific Fleet to battle and then annihilate it. With a small force of carriers and sufficient secret intelligence on Japanese intentions, the Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Chester Nimitz, planned a daring interception.

As the Japanese carrier fleet neared Midway, it was attacked by American dive-bombers. Only a few of their bombs struck, but they sank all four fleet carriers. Yamamoto ordered a return to Japan. His plans had been frustrated by America's intelligence successes, astute leadership, combat skills, and luck.

Elsewhere, the global war remained balanced on a knife edge. China's long, drawn-out conflict with Japan had become a formal state of war on December 9, 1941, following Pearl Harbor. Although the Japanese army controlled much of eastern and northern China, Chinese hit-and-run tactics made it difficult for Japan to pacify and control even those areas under occupation.

In May 1942, Japanese commanders embarked on a ruthless policy of pacification -- "kill all, steal all, burn all" -- to try to deter further Chinese resistance. Roughly 250,000 Chinese were killed in 1942.

In North Africa, British Empire forces based in Egypt had moved forward successfully across Libya against weak Italian resistance. But in January 1942, against an Axis force strengthened by a Nazi German corps under General Erwin Rommel, the British Empire Forces began a long retreat back to Egypt. Tobruk fell to the Axis on June 21, and by the end of June Axis forces were a few miles from El Alamein, Egypt, within striking distance of the Suez Canal.

The British position at sea -- in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic -- remained precarious. In 1942 they lost 7.8 million tons of shipping. Britain was able to import only one-third of what it took in before the war. The Allies' persistent bombing of Nazi German naval installations and submarine building sites achieved almost nothing.

The most dangerous situation lay in the Soviet theater. With the successful defense of Moscow in December 1941, the Soviets launched further offensives, trying to find weak spots in the Nazi German line. In the south, the Red Army created a large salient in Nazi German defensive lines south of Kharkov.

But when Joseph Stalin ordered the Red Army to capture the city in May 1942, the Nazi German front absorbed the attack and then encircled and annihilated the attackers. In the Crimea, the Nazi Germans repulsed a Soviet counteroffensive on the Kerch Peninsula. In July, they captured Sevastopol after an assault with the world's largest artillery piece: "Big Dora."

Nazi Germany's central ambition was the final defeat of the Soviet Union in 1942. Adolf Hitler planned to attack the less well-defended southern front toward the Volga River and the Caucasus oil fields. Their capture would give his forces huge new oil supplies and deny them to the enemy.

On June 28, Nazi Germany launched "Operation Blue" with substantial success. The Soviet southern front retreated. So successful was the assault that Adolf Hitler divided the force in two. He sent the Sixth Army, under General Friedrich Paulus, to seize Stalingrad and cut the Soviet Union off from the resources of the south. By August, Nazi German forces had reached the oil city of Maikop and were advancing toward the rich oil fields around Grozny.

A Nazi German infantryman gives food to a malnourished Soviet child.

In midsummer 1942, the war was poised in the balance. The strategic dream of the Axis powers was to link up in the Middle East. They would seize the Suez Canal and the oil that lay beyond it from one side, and they would sweep down from the Caucasus on the other side.

With Japan threatening India and the United States not yet fully armed, the ambition seemed less fantastic at the time than it now appears. Yet the summer of 1942 saw the high watermark of Axis aggrandizement. Over the next year, the Allies would find not just greater resources but also more effective ways of fighting. They were poised to reverse the long series of defeats that had until then littered their war effort.

Let's take a closer look at these events, beginning with a timeline of early January 1942 on the next page.

Learn more about the significant events and players of World War II in these informative articles:


World War II Timeline: January 1942-January 11, 1942

On January 2, 1942, the Philippine capital of Manila was occupied by the Japanese army. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of January 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: January 1-January 11

January: In a directive that is important for troop morale, British General Claude Auchinleck reminds his Eighth Army that Erwin "Desert Fox" Rommel is an ordinary, though successful general, and not an invincible, supernatural force.


January 1: The United Nations is born from an agreement among 26 Allied nations not to make separate peace with the signatories of the Tripartite Pact.

Auto dealerships across the United States close their doors after steel conservation measures force a moratorium on new car and truck sales.

Twenty-three Czech partisans are murdered by the Nazi occupation force on suspicion of sabotage.

January 2: The rampaging Japanese army occupies the Philippine capital of Manila.

January 3-12: China emerges victorious in a battle for Changsha, Hunan. The Chinese drive some 70,000 Japanese troops into full retreat.

January 4: New Japanese bases in Thailand are now operational.

January 6: Washington and London announce plans to station American troops in Britain to help further Allied military goals in Europe.

In a victory that is Britain's first against Nazi German troops in this war, the Eighth Army routs a division of Erwin Rommel's Panzer Corps, inflicting nearly 40,000 casualties.

January 10: The Japanese launch a propaganda war in the skies over the Philippines, dropping leaflets on Allied troops that press for their surrender.

January 11: Japan invades the Celebes Islands, part of the Dutch empire, and declares war on the Netherlands.

Japan continues its campaign of conquest with the seizure of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II and show the details and consequences of Japan conquering the Philippines in 1942.

British Borneo falls to Japan: Japanese infantry go on the assault in British Borneo. Mountainous and heavily jungled, with a limited network of roads, Borneo was strategically important due to its position on the main routes between Japan and Malaya. It also offered large supplies of oil and raw materials to the resource-starved Japanese (though for Japan to successfully transport oil along shipping lanes that would see increased Allied activity would be difficult).

For the moment, though, the possibility of Japanese access to additional oil was unappealing to the Allies. British strategists had long realized that Borneo could not be held. Nevertheless, the only Allied ground unit on Borneo, an outnumbered Indian battalion of the 15th Punjab Regiment, managed to resist for 10 weeks before it was overwhelmed.

The Battle of Changsha, China: A Chinese soldier mans a light machine gun during the Battle of Changsha. The Japanese offensive against the city began with 120,000 troops in late December 1941. The Chinese army resisted with 300,000 men, which harassed the Japanese advance and then established lines of defense in Changsha itself.

The Japanese assault penetrated the city, but on January 1 the Chinese counterattacked, inflicting heavy casualties. Other Chinese units swept down from the mountains to sever Japanese supply lines. Suddenly finding themselves besieged, the Japanese began a costly retreat, finally reaching the safety of the Sinchiang River on January 15.

Brazil linked to Nazi Germany: The United States had deep concerns about Brazilian policy in the years prior to World War II. Enamored of the Nazi German model, Brazilian dictator Getúlio Vargas had dissolved Brazil's constitutional government in 1937 and strengthened trade links with Nazi Germany, creating alarm in U.S. political circles. Vargas cleverly played upon those fears to win economic concessions from the U.S. In 1942 Brazil finally came into the war on the Allied side. However, enemy agents and the large German population in South America provided pro-Axis pressure and cover for Axis communication facilities well into 1944.

See the next section for a timeline and more headlines from January 1942.

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World War II Timeline: January 12, 1942-January 22, 1942

The Soviet Union began evacuating the besieged city of Leningrad on January 22, 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of January 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: January 12-January 22

January 12: The Inter-Allied Conference meets in London and resolves to try Axis officials with war crimes at the end of the conflict.


January 13: The first 700 of 10,000 Polish Jews from the city of Lódz´ scheduled for "resettlement" are shipped to the newly established Chelmno death camp in Poland.

The Nazi Germans launch Operation Drum Roll, a U-boat offensive along the American East Coast.

January 14: American and British war planners, meeting in Washington, D.C., agree to focus on Adolf Hitler's defeat before turning their attention to Japanese domination in the Pacific.

Nearly 2,000 European companies with Axis interests are barred from doing business with any American entity, public or private.

The tanker Norness, flying Panamanian colors, is torpedoed off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras. It is the first ship attacked off the U.S. East Coast by a Nazi German U-boat.

January 20: At the Wannsee Conference in Berlin, the Nazis draw most German government agencies into the European portion of the "Final Solution" for the Jews. Reinhard Heydrich suggests that they should be worked to death, and those that don't succumb should be executed.

Facing a certain threat by Japan, Winston Churchill calls on British troops to defend Singapore "to the death."

January 21: Erwin Rommel shocks his British foes by directing his Afrika Korps in a tactical about-face. He launches an offensive in Libya that will see him regain lost territory almost immediately.

January 22: The Soviets begin the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from the besieged city of Leningrad.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II in 1942, including Japan's victories after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Japan gathers a string of victories in the Southeast: Soon after Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces invaded Thailand and Malaya. Landings also took place in the Philippines, North Borneo, and the Dutch East Indies. On December 26, the fall of Hong Kong ended an 18-day Japanese onslaught. During January 1942, Manila and Kuala Lumpur were occupied and the Solomon Islands invaded. From February to April, the British stronghold of Singapore fell, and Japanese landings were made at Bali, Mindanao, and Dutch New Guinea.

Then, just as the overextended Japanese forces sought to consolidate their newly won territories, a series of U.S. victories from May to August -- in the Coral Sea, at Midway, and at Guadalcanal -- finally reversed the strategic situation.

The political cartoons of Dr. Seuss: A decade before he broke through as a famous children's book author, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) created more than 400 political cartoons for the liberal New York tabloid PM during the war. Primary targets for his biting caricatures were Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, conservative politicians, and isolationists. Dr. Seuss also condemned anti-black and anti-Semitic beliefs, but he targeted all Japanese as potential enemies of America.

In cartoon pictured aboved, which appeared in PM on February 13, 1942, he expressed the fear that most of the Japanese Americans on the Pacific coast were potential saboteurs. His cartoons contributed to the hysteria that led to the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942.

Italy routed at Tobruk, Libya: In January 1942, the Italian garrison of Tobruk, Libya, fell to the Allied Western Desert Force. Some 25,000 prisoners, 208 guns, 23 tanks, 200 trucks, and a multiplicity of rations and supplies were captured -- as was a guaranteed source of fresh water. The British also acquired a major port vital to their logistic plans.

Meanwhile, the Italian navy suffered from defective operating concepts, underfunding, poor gunnery, and general mismanagement. Accordingly, the part-submerged remains of the Italian destroyer pictured above, sunk by the Royal Navy outside the harbor, symbolized the totality of the Italian defeat at Tobruk.

Nazi Germans freeze on Eastern Front: Nazi German soldiers huddle around a fire during their first winter in the Soviet Union in 1941-1942. Daytime temperatures were routinely -30ºF. Although Nazi German morale generally held up remarkably well, the Wehrmacht high command was unprepared for campaigning in the Soviet winter. Lubricants froze, and consequently vehicles and weapons refused to work. Many horses upon which the army -- especially the artillery units -- still depended died during the bitterly cold nights. Meanwhile, many infantry companies were quickly reduced to platoon strength due to their lack of winter clothing. The Red Army was much better prepared.

Australians ambush Japanese: Trapped in a defile, Japanese troops are cut down near the Gemencheh Bridge near Gemas, Malaya. On January 14, 1942, a company of Australians ambushed Japanese bicycle-mounted troops who were passing through a cutting that led to the bridge on the Sungei Gemencheh River. Despite inflicting heavy casualties in their first major confrontation with the Japanese, the Australians were eventually forced to withdraw. The Japanese Fifth Division lost an estimated 1,000 men in the ambush and subsequent fighting closer to Gemas. The Australian 2/30th Battalion suffered just 81 casualties.

Find a World War II timeline detailing the important events of January 1942 on the next page.

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World War II Timeline: January 23, 1942-February 1, 1942

On January 25, 1942, Thailand declared war on the United States and Great Britain. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: January 23-February 1

January 23: Australia sends an urgent request for assistance from the Allies after a series of conquests in the Southwest Pacific brings the Japanese within a thousand miles of Australian territory.


January 24: U.S. Supreme Court justice Owen Roberts reports that inquests into culpability for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor reveal indifference and neglect on the part of Navy and Army commanders -- Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter Short.

The first significant naval battle in the Pacific Theater, the Battle of Makassar Strait, ends with the Japanese losing four transport ships. Despite their losses, they will achieve their objective of securing the oil-rich port of Balikpapan, Borneo.

January 25: Thailand declares war on the United States and Great Britain.

January 26: The U.S. armed forces establish their British office in the capital city of London.

The Japanese gain a critical base with the capture of Rabaul, New Britain.

January 30: In a speech that leaves no doubt about one of Adolf Hitler's primary goals of the war, the Führer asserts that the conflict will end with the "complete annihilation of the Jews," calling them "the most evil universal enemy of all time."

February 1: The Reich institutes a policy of tobacco rationing in the Fatherland, allowing German women half a man's ration.

Nazi puppet Vidkun Quisling is named Norwegian premier for the second time. He will publicly accept his reappointment in a speech unapologetically delivered in German.

Nazi German U-boats adopt a new cipher called "Triton," meaning the Allies can no longer interpret their messages.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II, including the evacuation of Singapore.

Civilians killed during evacuation of Singapore: Women and children arrive in Britain after evacuating from Singapore. Confident of the impregnability of the fortress and fearful of creating a panic, British authorities waited too long to begin the mass evacuation of civilians. As defeat loomed, all available ships were hastily loaded with fleeing civilians. The Empire Star, designed to carry a small number of passengers, was crammed with 2,000 refugees. As coordination broke down, the evacuation became a debacle. Enemy planes attacked the fleeing ships and thousands of civilians drowned. Others survived drowning only to be murdered by Japanese troops as they struggled ashore on Bangka Island.

Australian Vivian Bullwinkel survives Japanese ­massacre: Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, an Australian Army nurse, was among the last 65 nurses evacuated from Singapore before it fell in February 1942. Their ship was sunk by Japanese aircraft off Bangka Island near Sumatra. Bullwinkel and a group of survivors struggled ashore and surrendered to Japanese soldiers, who bayoneted the men and shot the women.

Miraculously, Bullwinkel survived a bullet to the side. She escaped into the jungle and eventually surrendered to Japanese sailors, from whom she concealed her wounds. She then endured three years of harsh imprisonment, attributing her survival to the friendship of fellow nurses and faith in Australia.

Britain's heartbreaking defeat in Singapore: The loss of the "Gibraltar of the Far East" on February 15, 1942, ranks among the greatest defeats in British military history. The quick Japanese victory over a numerically superior force stunned the world, shattered British military power in the region, exposed the myth of Western superiority for all to see, and raised the hopes of nationalist movements chafing under colonial rule. Britain's colonial star went into decline and would never regain its former ascendancy.

See the next page for a World War II timeline that follows the major events of early February 1942.

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World War II Timeline: February 1, 1942-February 13, 1942

Franklin Roosevelt approved aid to the Nationalist Chinese on February 7, 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of February 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: February 1-February 13

February 1: Japanese bases on the Gilbert and Marshall islands come under attack by more than 90 carrier-based U.S. warplanes.


February 4: In Egypt, British ambassador Sir Miles Lampson surrounds King Farouk's palace with Allied tanks to pressure the monarch into appointing a pro-British government.

Japan presses Britain to surrender control of Singapore, the crown jewel in the British Asian empire.

February 6: British and American officials meet in Washington, D.C., for the first conference of the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff.

The United States counterattacks a reinforced Japanese force on the island of Luzon, Philippines.

February 7: A congressional call for $500 million in aid to the Nationalist Chinese gets Franklin Roosevelt's stamp of approval.

February 9: The Japanese capture Singapore's Tengah airfield, a vital supply link.

February 10: Axis sabotage is suspected when Normandie, the luxury French liner impounded in New York, catches fire and capsizes. No sabotage actually occurred.

February 11: London questions Vichy France's assertions of neutrality, revealing that France has supplied Nazi German forces in North Africa with more than 5,000 tons of fuel over the past three months.

February 11-13: The Nazi German navy humiliates the British with the perfect execution of Operation Cerberus, also known as the "Channel Dash." Unable to return from Brest, France, to their home ports via the British-controlled Atlantic route, the Nazi German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugen make an audacious escape up the English Channel.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline key events of World War II, such as Japan's air raid on Surabaya, Java.

Adolf Galland, the Wehrmacht's youngest general: Adolf Galland, probably the best-known Luftwaffe ace of the war, led a fighter group during the Battle of Britain that accounted for 103 aircraft "kills." By late 1941, he was commanding the Luftwaffe fighter arm. In late 1942, he became the Wehrmacht's youngest general (age 31). Despite his youth, he consistently demonstrated impressive organizational and intellectual abilities. Galland's well-founded advocacy of using the Luftwaffe tactically rather than strategically was fully in line with the air-warfare policies of Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler. He was dismissed in January 1945, and was later shot down and captured while commanding an Me 262 jet fighter squadron.

The Blenheim bombers attack Nazi German targets: The British Royal Air Force's (RAF) Bristol Blenheim bombers were the first RAF aircraft to make a bombing attack against Nazi German targets. These three-man-crewed light bombers flew at 225 mph to a range of 1,450 miles, carrying up to 1,350 pounds of bombs. Five machine guns were provided for self-defense.

Fifteen RAF Blenheim squadrons were in service by 1939, with a much-improved "long-nose" Mark IV version introduced that year. Used for low-level daylight bombing raids in 1941-1942, almost 600 of 1,012 RAF Blenheims were lost -- 403 to enemy action. They were finally withdrawn from service in late 1942, and were replaced progressively by Boston, Ventura, and Mitchell bombers.

Japan goes after Java's oil: Clouds of smoke roil into the sky following an air raid on Surabaya, Java, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in February 1942. The Japanese had long coveted the region's vast oil fields and refineries, and they moved to occupy Java soon after the fall of Singapore. An Allied attempt to turn away the Japanese invasion fleet failed in the seven-hour Battle of the Java Sea on February 27. Five Allied warships were sunk in the melee, while the Japanese lost only a single destroyer.

See the next page for details of the other significant World War II events that occurred during February 1942.

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World War II Timeline: February 13, 1942-February 22, 1942

On February 15, 1942, Great Britain surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of February 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: February 13-February 22

February 13: After numerous delays, Adolf Hitler permanently cancels the Nazi German invasion of Britain, code-named Operation Sealion.


­Japanese aviators inadvertently dive-bomb their own troops in a raid on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.

February 14: The British government directs the British Royal Air Force (RAF) to begin a campaign that targets German civilians, shifting the focus away from exclusively bombing military and production facilities.

February 14-16: The Japanese score an important strategic victory with the seizure of the oil-rich island of Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies.

February 15: In a stunning defeat for the Empire, the British surrender Singapore to the Japanese, who will raise the rising sun flag over the governor's residence the following day.

February 19: The Canadian Parliament approves a resolution calling for a military draft.

In just one day, the unstoppable Japanese attack Bali, Mandalay, and Timor. They will install occupation forces in both Bali and Timor the following day.

February 20: Lieutenant Edward "Butch" O'Hare, Navy flying ace for whom Chicago's major airport will eventually be named, shoots down five Japanese bombers over a five-minute period.

February 22: The Allies launch a campaign against Japanese shipping when they seed the mouth of Burma's Rangoon River with 40 British magnetic mines dropped from USAAF B-24 bombers.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt reassigns General Douglas MacArthur, pulling him from his post in the Philippines and naming him commander of Allied forces in Australia.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II, including the involvement of Burma in the war.

Kondo Nobutake among Japan's top commanders: Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake ranked among Japan's most out­­standing fleet commanders in 1941 and 1942. He led the naval forces that supported the invasion of Malaya, Java, and Singapore, and spearheaded the main "covering force" in the Battle of Midway. He later commanded the Second Fleet in the bitter -- and ultimately unsuccessful -- struggle to dominate the waters off Guadalcanal from August to November 1942. Following that defeat, he served as deputy commander of the Combined Fleet and briefly as commander following Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku's death in 1943. Kondo survived the war and died in 1953.

Kozo Nishino's swears revenge on California: In the late 1930s, a Japanese tanker docked near the Ellwood oil field outside of Santa Barbara, California, for refueling. As its commander, Kozo Nishino, walked along a path from the pier, he slipped and fell on a prickly pear cactus. Several workers on a nearby oil rig laughed at Kozo's misfortune. Humiliated, he reportedly swore revenge. On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine fired several shells at an Ellwood oil rig. Although the shells did minimal damage, they raised the anxiety level of civilians anticipating a Japanese invasion. The skipper of the enemy submarine was none other than Kozo Nishino.

President Roosevelt approves funds for testing bat bombs: In January 1942, dental surgeon Lytle Adams submitted a plan to the White House that, he claimed, would bring the blazing effects of war to Japanese civilians. Upon review, President Franklin Roosevelt released funds for testing. Adams's plan called for the delivery of a large number of bats carrying small incendiary bombs over enemy cities. The bombs would be set to ignite after the bats took daylight refuge in surrounding buildings. Testing began in March 1943 with limited success. Approximately $2 million was spent on the project before it was scrapped in early 1944.

Allies scorch Rangoon, Burma, before departing: Smoke billows over Rangoon on March 6, 1942, as British forces prepare to abandon the city to the advancing Japanese. As Burma's capital and major port, Rangoon served as a major Allied supply point. Determined to leave nothing of value for the Japanese, the Allies evacuated the city and declared a general scorched-earth policy. Oil storage tanks, refineries, port installations, cars and trucks, stockpiles of tires, and even stocks of blankets and bed sheets were destroyed. The main power station was blown up on March 9 as the last defenders left. The Japanese entered the ravaged city the following day.

Chinese try to help in Burma: Chinese troops arrive in Burma in early 1942 to join the British in the battle against invading Japanese. Concerned about the loss of their Lend-Lease supply routes, the Chinese offered assistance soon after Burma was invaded by the Japanese. The British accepted their help only after the Japanese had broken through toward Rangoon. By late February, two Chinese armies had joined the campaign, but they proved to be little match for the Japanese. The British withdrew to India and the Chinese units returned to China as best they could, some as an undisciplined mob of refugees.

Divided loyalties between British and Japanese in Burma: Burmese civilians trudge north to escape the advancing Japanese in March 1942. Many Burmese resented British colonial rule and supported the Japanese in hopes of obtaining independence. Others, particularly groups such as the Karen and Kachins, remained loyal to the British and organized resistance units to fight the Japanese. They suffered severely from both the Japanese and the puppet Burmese Independence Army. They later provided invaluable aid when the Allies recaptured Burma in 1944-1945.

Check out the next section for a timeline of major World War II events in late February and early March 1942.

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World War II Timeline: February 23, 1942-March 9, 1942

More than 270 Allied merchant vessels were lost during March 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: February 23-March 9

February 23: In the first Japanese "attack" on the American mainland, a Japanese submarine surfaces at night off Ellwood, California, near Santa Barbara. It fires on an oil derrick, damaging a catwalk but little else. Much local panic follows for a few days.


February 26: Joseph Stalin makes the first of many requests to the American and British command to open a second European front against the Nazi Germans so as to relieve some of the pressure on the Red Army.

February 27: Japan launches an assault on the Andamans, a chain of islands on India's Bay of Bengal.

February 27-March 1: Ten Allied warships are sunk during the disastrous Battle of the Java Sea. With the Allies suffering one of the worst wartime defeats at sea, Japanese ships are left to roam Indonesian waters at will.

February 28: Pearl Harbor commanders Lieutenant General Walter Short and Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel retire. The U.S. military announces it will court-martial the two commanders at a later date.

March: The Allies lose 273 merchant vessels this month.

Desperate for metal to manufacture airplane engines, Nazi Germany begins to collect bronze and copper church bells for the smelter's fires.

March 2: The U.S. government bans all Japanese Americans from all of two and portions of three Pacific coastal states.

Nazis murder some 5,000 Jews in Minsk, Belorussia.

March 8: The Japanese take the Burmese capital of Rangoon.

March 9: The Japanese seize the Indonesian island of Java from the Dutch.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II and provide details on Japanese internment during World War II.

Japanese Americans report to internment camps: In response to dire warnings from the military and rising panic among ordinary citizens, the U.S. government in February 1942 began evacuating people of Japanese ancestry from Pacific Coastal areas. About 8,000 Japanese Americans voluntarily left, and another 120,000 -- 72,000 of whom were U.S. citizens -- were forcibly relocated. Japanese Americans were held under guard at assembly centers, where their baggage was inspected for forbidden items, such as cameras, shortwave radios, and guns. They were then bussed to camps east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Life in the Japanese internment camps: Japanese Americans were relocated into barracks in such locations at Manzanar, California. Since the internees knew nothing about where they were being taken, most did not have suitable clothing for the extremes of heat and cold in their new locations. Each family was assigned a 20' X 25' living space, and they shared communal latrines and showers. Confinement to barbed-wire fenced camps that were overseen by armed guards and watchtowers was psychologically devastating to people who considered themselves good Americans.

Canada interns Japanese: Above, an officer of the Royal Canadian Navy questions Japanese Canadian fishermen. When Canadians became afraid that fishermen of Japanese ancestry might be charting the Pacific coastline for the enemy, the government confiscated all Japanese fishing boats. In early 1942, Canada interned the nearly 23,000 Japanese Canadians who lived in British Columbia -- about three quarters of whom were citizens -- in 10 camps scattered throughout the nation. At first, men and women were incarcerated separately. Later, families were allowed to be together if the men agreed to fill labor shortages on sugar beet farms.

The next page outlines some of the other major events that occurred during March 1942.

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World War II Timeline: March 10, 1942-March 20, 1942

On March 18, 1942, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten was named the chief of Combined Operations by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of March 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: March 10-March 20

March 10: Britain has already spent more than nine billion pounds on the war effort, more than was spent on the entire First World War.


March 11: The French Resistance blows up a Nazi troop train, killing about 250 Nazi German soldiers.

As compensation for their shipping losses to the Axis, Brazil seizes Axis property.

March 13: America enters the China-Burma-India theater with the arrival of U.S. Army Air Force airmen in Karachi, India.

March 14: Washington sets plans in motion to increase troop levels in Europe in preparation for an eventual attack on the heart of the Nazi Reich.

In response to the Japanese menace, the first contingent of American troops that will serve under General Douglas MacArthur lands in Australia.

March 17: General Douglas MacArthur assumes his new post as supreme commander of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific Theater. He lands in Darwin, Australia, a few days after his first group of men.

March 17-31: Some 20,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, are murdered in the new Belzec, Poland, death camp, which opened on March 13.

March 18: The American and British Combined Chiefs of Staff install Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten as the chief of Combined Operations.

March 19: British home secretary Herbert Morrison accuses the London paper The Daily Mirror of "reckless indifference to the national interest" for its practice of publishing stories with an antiwar slant.

March 20: Japanese and Chinese troops clash along the Sittang River on the Burmese front.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II, as well as the involvement of British women during the war.

Hu Shih solicits U.S. support for China: Known as "the father of the Chinese literary revolution," Hu Shih studied at Cornell University in 1910 and later at Columbia University. A noted philosopher and intellectual, he served as Chinese ambassador to the United States from 1938 to 1942.

As ambassador, he successfully rallied U.S. sympathy and support for his nation's battle against the Japanese. He later served as a delegate to the San Francisco Conference, which established the United Nations. An outspoken advocate of democracy and human rights, Hu Shih relocated to Taiwan after the Chinese Revolution. He died of a heart attack in 1962.

Chinese struggles to provide medical care: Throughout the war, the Chinese struggled to adequately treat wounded and diseased troops and civilians. The relatively few available hospital facilities suffered from a lack of supplies and equipment, and a shortage of doctors. Conditions were better at a U.S. missionary hospital run by Dr. Gordon Seagrave and his nurses in the Namhkam Valley, Burma, off the Burma Road. Seagrave had been recruited by the U.S. military and may have had intelligence duties as well as medical responsibilities.

British singer Vera Lynn, the "Forces' Sweetheart": When war began, young British singer Vera Lynn was sure that her fledgling career was over. She volunteered for wartime duty, expecting to work in a factory or join the Army. To her surprise, Lynn was told that she would be more useful as an entertainer. Soon dubbed the "Forces' Sweetheart," she became the most popular vocalist of her time, raising spirits on the war front and at home with her wide repertoire of wartime songs. "We'll Meet Again" was one of Vera Lynn's best-loved selections.

Resisters' develop innovations to aid war effort: Active and passive resistance movements developed within most of Nazi German-occupied Europe. Inevitably, resisters attracted harsh reprisals, brutal interrogations, and summary executions. Many resisters used ingenious technical innovations -- assassination weapons, booby traps, codes, sabotage explosives, and communications equipment. Such innovations were designed and provided by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) or devised locally. One such Norwegian device was an intricately wired denture plate that could receive radio broadcasts from London some 1,200 miles away.

Britain's Women's Land Army created: The Women's Land Army (WLA) was formed in 1939 under its first director, Lady Gertrude Denman, and numbered 87,000 fully trained "land girls" by mid-1943. The organization's members worked in agriculture and forestry, producing much of the vital food stocks and timber for wartime Britain. Although many land girls lived fairly well, either on the farms or in hostels, others endured an isolated and often rudimentary rural existence. In 1945 government parsimony denied the land girls postwar financial benefits.

HMS Hermes, the war's oldest aircraft carrier, destroyed: Launched in 1919, the HMS Hermes was the world's first purpose-built aircraft carrier. A relic by the time of World War II, the Hermes suffered from design problems that included a small hanger and instability at high seas. Even so, the carrier served the Allies in the southern Atlantic and off the coast of Africa. On April 9, 1942, it was destroyed by 70 Japanese attack aircraft near Ceylon. Shown sinking here (in a photograph taken by a Japanese pilot), it went down with 307 men.

See the next page for a timeline of the major World War II events of early spring 1942.

Learn more about the significant events and players of World War II in these informative articles:


World War II Timeline: Spring 1942-March 31, 1942

On March 28, 1942, the first of 6,000 Parisian Jews were sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the spring of 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: Spring 1942-March 31, 1942

Spring: Construction begins at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The U.S. Army constructs simulated Japanese and German towns in order to test the effects of incendiary bombs and other weapons.


March 22: British and American Air Force units are left exposed to assault as they beat a retreat after the Japanese capture of Burma's Magwe airfield. The loss of the strategic landing strip leaves the Allies unable to call for air support.

Abwehr (German intelligence) captain and double agent Paul Thummel, a British MI6 asset on the ground in Czechoslovakia, is arrested by the Nazis.

March 24: Japan launches an offensive against Bataan.

March 26: The Nazi government orders that all Jewish homes in Germany and the occupied territories must be identified as such.

Admiral Ernest King, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Fleet, becomes the highest-ranking officer in the Navy with his appointment as chief of Naval Operations.

March 28: Allies deliberately slam the HMS Campbeltown into the gates at the Normandy dock at St. Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast, the largest drydock in Nazi-occupied Europe and the only one large enough to handle the Nazi German battleship Tirpitz. Once past the gates, Allied commandos sabotage the facility.

The first of 6,000 Parisian Jews designated for "resettlement" at Auschwitz are loaded onto a train and sent to that extermination camp.

March 31: India's Congress Party demands immediate independence from Britain. It rejects a British offer made the previous day that included Indian independence but only after the conclusion of the war.

World War II Headlines

Below are more details that outline the events of World War II, including the horrific acts carried out by Japanese troops.

Homma Masaharu commands Philippines invasion: Japan's Homma Masaharu, whose 14th Army conquered the Philippines, was an unusual general. Highly intelligent, artistic, and familiar with Western ways through close contact with the British Army in World War I and India, he was said to lack samurai spirit. After experience in China, he was appointed to command the Philippines invasion. He planned meticulously and captured Manila quickly, but his failure to prevent American withdrawal to Bataan precluded victory within the allotted 50 days. His unimpressed superiors effectively ended his career by recalling him in August 1942. Arrested by U.S. troops in 1945 for war crimes in the Philippines, Homma was executed by firing squad in April 1946.

Bataan prisoners beaten and killed by Japanese: American and Filipino troops totaling 78,000 went into captivity on Bataan on April 9, 1942. Their starving and diseased condition influenced Major General Edward King's decision to surrender, though he was unable to extract from the Japanese commanders a commitment to treat the prisoners compassionately. The Japanese decided to march the prisoners to Camp O'Donnell, some 65 miles away. The following quote by U.S. Army tank crewman Lester Tenney describes his experiences following capture on Bataan:

The first Japanese soldier I came into contact with used sign language to ask if I had a cigarette. . . . I had to tell him I did not have any cigarettes. He smiled and then a second later hit me in the face with the butt of his gun. Blood spurted from my nose and from a deep gash on my cheekbone. He laughed and said something that made all of his buddies laugh, too. He walked away from me and went to the GI on my right. He used the same sign language, and this time my buddy had cigarettes and offered him one. The Japanese soldier took the whole pack, and then he and his friends began beating my friend with rifle butts and cane-length pieces of bamboo until he could not stand. Then they left, laughing, laughing at the defeated and weak Americans.

POWs perish in the Bataan Death March: The trek from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell became known as the Bataan Death March. Japanese plans for the march did not take into account the exhaustion, starvation, and illness of the prisoners, who were thus sure to die in large numbers. Added to this neglect was active Japanese persecution. Some senior Japanese officers so despised the prisoners that they wanted them killed en masse. Field officers beheaded many with their swords, and Japanese common soldiers willfully buried prisoners alive or set fire to civilians who sought to aid those suffering. No single factor adequately explains this brutality.

The next timeline carries us into the major events of April 1942.

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World War II Timeline: April 1, 1942-April 11, 1942

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) attacked Hamburg, Germany, with more than 270 bombers on April 8, 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of April 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: April 1-April 11

April 1: Vital supplies reach the Soviets, as 14 of the 19 ships of the first Arctic convoy successfully make it to the Soviet port of Murmansk.


April 3: Some 2,000 Burmese civilians die during a Japanese air raid on Mandalay.

April 4: Adolf Hitler orders the Baedeker raids. Named after a series of tourist guides, the raids will be specifically targeted to inflict maximum damage on Britain's most important historic sites.

April 6: Japanese troops land at Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.

April 7: The air raid sirens on Malta sound for the 2,000th time since the beginning of the war.

April 8: In one of the most intense air raids of the war, the RAF attacks Hamburg, Germany, with more than 270 bombers.

A new lifeline is opened to China with the inauguration of U.S. Air Ferry Command service over the Himalayan mountain range.

April 9: Soviet general Mikhail Yefremov takes his own life rather than suffer the shame of surrendering to the Nazi Germans.

April 10: Japanese troops land on Cebu Island, Philippines.

The atrocity that will become known as the Bataan Death March begins with the surrender of more than 78,000 exhausted and starving American and Filipino troops in the Bataan Peninsula. In an effort to get them to the nearest railhead, their Japanese captors will force-march the prisoners some 65 miles. Eleven thousand of the captives will be killed or will perish along the way.

April 11: The first 8,000-pound bomb is dropped on Essen, Germany, by a Halifax bomber. It is not known if the bomb reached its target or what damage it caused.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II, including Japanese bombings in Australia, German bombings in England, and the American raid on Tokyo.

German shortwave radio broadcasts to North America: This program guide, titled "Germany Calling," lists German shortwave radio broadcasts to North America for April 13 through April 19, 1941. In addition to German versions of international news, the schedule included such programs as America Asks -- Germany Answers (purported to be answers to questions from American listeners), German Contributions to Making America, and From the German Heart, as well as commentary from the infamous "Lord Haw-Haw."

The Baedeker Raids destroy historic sites: The 15th-century Old Boar's Head Inn in Norwich, England, was damaged in an April 1942 Luftwaffe raid. Nazi Germany bombed the picturesque English towns of Exeter, Bath, Norwich, and York. Nazi propagandist Baron Gustav Braun von Sturm declared, "We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the [German-published] Baedeker [travel] guide." These Baedeker Raids on England -- which included Canterbury and other nonstrategic historic sites -- took lives and destroyed property. However, the heavy toll on the Luftwaffe revealed the German bombers' limitations.

The Flying Tigers assist in war effort: The P-40 Tomahawk fighters were operated by the American Volunteer Group (AVG), more popularly known as the Flying Tigers. Commanded by Claire Chennault, the AVG was comprised of American military pilots who had "resigned" from the service in order to fly against the Japanese in China. In their first encounter on December 20, 1941, the AVG shot down three or possibly four Japanese bombers. Though their overall impact was limited, the AVG provided some deterrent to Japanese airpower over the next several months. The Flying Tigers were incorporated into the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942.

American Claire Chennault helps Chiang Kai-shek: A native of Louisiana, Claire Chennault learned to fly during World War I and remained in the service for two decades afterward. However, he was unpopular in the U.S. military because of his acerbic criticism of accepted fighter tactics, and he retired in 1937 with the rank of major. He then was hired by Chiang Kai-shek to revamp the Chinese air force, and he became a lifelong supporter of the Nationalist general. After the U.S. entered the war, Chennault was promoted to general and given command of the 14th Air Force.

Australia's leader John Curtin galvanizes the nation: John Curtin of the Labor Party became prime minister of Australia in October 1941. Curtin was a pacifist before the war, and his cabinet was short on military experience. Nevertheless, the Pacific war enabled him to galvanize the nation in 1942-1943. His insistence that the Seventh Division be returned to Australia -- and not Burma, as Winston Churchill wanted -- proved wise and saved Port Moresby when the Japanese tried to take it by a land assault.

Curtin announced in December 1941 that Australia looked to America rather than Britain for support. He welcomed the appointment of General Douglas MacArthur as supreme commander of Allied Forces in the South West Pacific Area and proved amenable to the American's direction. Against his party's traditions, John Curtin promoted labor and military conscription. He died in office in July 1945.

Japanese bomb Port Darwin, Australia: On February 19, 1942, some 200 Japanese warplanes dropped more bombs than they had on Pearl Harbor in two waves of attacks on Port Darwin, Australia. They sank eight ships, devastated structures, and killed at least 243 people in a population of about 2,000. The unprepared Australian government reaffirmed its intention to rely on the American military rather than the British, and U.S. general Douglas MacArthur promptly established his headquarters in Australia.

James Doolittle prepares for raid: A former racing and stunt pilot, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle had been directed to look into the feasibility of flying medium bombers off an aircraft carrier to attack Japan. Doolittle worked out the takeoff requirements, weight limitations, and necessary fuel, and arranged for special equipment and training for the all-volunteer force. Eager to get into combat, he volunteered to personally lead the dangerous mission.

Doolittle Raid affects both Japanese and American morale: This aerial photo, snapped during the Doolittle Raid, reveals ships moored in Tokyo Bay. Most of the B-25s arrived over Tokyo just after noon on April 18. They targeted an oil tank farm, steel mill, and power plants. Other bombers hit targets in Yokohama and Yokosuku. All the B-25s survived the actual raid, except for one that crash-landed in China after it ran out of fuel. Though minimal damage was done to the targets, the harm to Japanese morale was immense. By contrast, the raid lifted American spirits, which had been at low ebb following a string of Allied military defeats.

Doolittle raiders take off from aircraft carrier: Army pilots had practiced short takeoffs from dry land, but none had ever tried it from a heaving carrier deck. The force for the Doolittle Raid was comprised of 16 modified bombers, each carrying five crew members, four bombs, and extra fuel. An encounter with a Japanese picket boat forced the Doolittle Raiders to launch earlier than planned. Aided by a 50-mph headwind, all the B-25s got safely into the air, though many hung perilously close to the waves before gaining altitude.

Reprisals after the Doolittle Raid: Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek had been reluctant to allow the U.S. bombers to land in China following the Doolittle Raid, fearing that harsh Japanese reprisals would result. Events proved him correct. Less than a month after the raid, the Japanese army launched the operation Sei-Go. Japan intended to seize Chinese airfields within range of the home islands and take vengeance on villages that aided the airmen. As many as 250,000 civilians were killed in the Chekiang and Kiangsu provinces during Sei-Go.

Find out about the major events during the remainder of April 1942 on the next page.

Learn more about the significant events and players of World War II in these informative articles:


World War II Timeline: April 14, 1942-April 29, 1942

On April 15, 1942, the newest Nazi extermination camp in Poland, Sobibór, opened its gates. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of April 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: April 14-April 29

April 14: The U.S. Navy "kills" its first U-boat when U-85 is attacked by the destroyer USS Roper in the Atlantic Ocean.

With Japanese forces closing in, British troops torch Burma's Yenangyaung oil fields to keep them out of Axis hands.

April 15: Sobibór, the newest Nazi extermination camp in Poland, opens its gates.

In an effort to minimize textile-industry labor, Britain bans the manufacture of lace on women's underwear, effective June 1.

April 16: Nazi German field marshal Gerd von Rundstedt is appointed commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Wall defenses.

Britain presents the strategically critical island of Malta with the George Cross, a medal given for valiant service to the Empire.

April 18: Japan is blindsided by a carrier-based bombing raid on Tokyo by 16 B-25 bombers from the USS Hornet.

April 20: The Luftwaffe destroys 30 Spitfire planes on the island of Malta.

April 21: General Henri Giraud, captured by the Nazis when they occupied his native France, makes a daring escape to Allied territory.

April 24: Nazi German authorities issue a decree prohibiting Jews from using public transportation of any kind.

April 26: Adolf Hitler is empowered to act outside the laws of the Reich in dealing with his subjects when the Reichstag confers on him the ultimate title of "supreme justice," among others.

April 29: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet to decide how to address internecine border bickering between Hungary and Romania.

Nazi saboteurs are suspected when an explosion in a Belgian chemical plant claims some 250 lives.

A critical link to China is lost when Japan's capture of Lashio, Burma, closes the Burma Road.

World War II Headlines

Below are more details that outline the events of World War II, such as the deportation of Jews to extermination camps.

Allies deliver tanks to Soviets: When Germany sent its powerful army against the USSR in June 1941, the Soviet Union dismantled and moved some of its arms factories away from highly endangered areas. That disrupted production, and by fall the nation was in urgent need of tanks and aircraft. Britain and the U.S. began supplying Russia with 400 tanks and 500 aircraft per month -- numbers that would rise as the war progressed.

English pianist Myra Hess keeps the music playing: When Nazi German air raids closed down British concert halls, internationally renowned English pianist Myra Hess organized hundreds of musicians to play lunchtime concerts at London's National Gallery. Even while bombs fell on London, Hess herself gave hugely popular performances of German composers, not merely defying Nazi violence but reminding audiences of the humanity of German culture. For her patriotic efforts, Hess was honored with the title Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in 1941.

Jews deported to death camps: In spring 1942, trains began transporting Jews from ghettos in Germany and its occupied nations to camps. Here, Jews board trains for deportation from the ghetto in Lódz´, Poland, to the Chelmno extermination camp in Poland in April 1942. On July 19, Heinrich Himmler accelerated the program, ordering that all Jews be "resettled" by the end of 1942 -- although the deportations would extend far beyond his deadline. In all, some 3,000 trains moved about three million people. Since this was only about 15 percent of the total trains that the Reich operated each day, the economic effect on Nazi Germany was manageable during the early years of the Holocaust.

Nazi Germans prepare boys for war: Wenn die Soldaten durch die Stadt marschieren (When the Soldiers March Through Town) was a hugely popular 1942 book of verses and pictures that portrayed children enraptured by Nazi German soldiers. The Nazi regime did more than merely romanticize the military in children's eyes. Starting in 1936, preparation for military service became mandatory for boys. If he was deemed sufficiently fit and racially pure, a 10-year-old boy began his training and indoctrination in the Deutsches Jungvolk (German Youth). He then graduated to the paramilitary organization Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) at age 14.

Americans committed to stopping Adolf Hitler: After the Nazi German declaration of war on the United States in December 1941, Americans committed themselves to stopping the spread of Nazi evil in Europe. Rallies such as the one in New York's Times Square on Adolf Hitler's birthday, April 20, 1942, expressed American sympathies and also boosted the sale of War Bonds, which helped finance the war effort on both fronts.

Continue on to the next page for details on the major events of late April and early May 1942.

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World War II Timeline: April 30, 1942-May 11, 1942

Nationalist Chinese general Chiang Kai-shek led his troops in a major offensive against the Japanese occupation in May 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: April 30-May 11

April 30: By the end of the month, the squalor of the Warsaw Ghetto has claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 Polish Jews.

May 1: A strategic error by Britain allows the Japanese to take Mandalay by penetrating the Royal Army's exposed left flank.

May 2: Aid is promised to both Iran and Iraq under the provisions of the U.S. Lend-Lease Act.

May 4: The USAAF Flying Tigers shift their base of operations to Kunming, China, and out of Japanese-occupied Burma.

May 4-8: The Battle of the Coral Sea, the first carrier-to-carrier battle in history, results in a tactical Japanese victory, since they sink a major American carrier. But it marks a strategic Japanese reverse since the Japanese are unable to seize New Guinea and thus isolate Australia.

May 5: Nationalist Chinese general Chiang Kai-shek leads his troops in a major offensive against the Japanese occupation, striking seven key cities.

May 6: After 27 days of artillery barrage, the Americans surrender to the Japanese at Corregidor in the Philippines.

May 8: Japan's ability to produce fuel from its captured oil fields in the Dutch East Indies is seriously crippled when the ship carrying skilled production workers to the fields is sunk by an Allied torpedo.

May 10: Winston Churchill sternly warns Nazi Germany against engaging in chemical warfare on the Russian front.

May 11: An Allied personnel transport ship is struck by a Nazi German U-boat that managed to make its way up Canada's St. Lawrence River undetected.

World War II Headlines

Below are more details that outline the events of World War II, including the Japanese capture of the island of Corregidor.

The Red Cross Blood Bank offers blood: In February 1941, the American Red Cross began a blood donor service in anticipation of America's entrance into the war. By September 1945, the Red Cross had collected 13.4 million pints of blood from 6.6 million donors. The system for storing blood plasma was pioneered by African American physician Dr. Charles Drew, who was appointed the first director of the Red Cross Blood Bank. He resigned, however, when the organization excluded black blood donors. As the war progressed, the Red Cross began accepting "black blood" but restricted its use to black GIs.

Nazi German E-boats patrol English Channel: The Nazi German fast patrol and torpedo-carrying Schnellboot was dubbed "E-boat" by the Allies. The MTB and PT boats were the Anglo-U.S. equivalents. E-boats were used extensively in the English Channel and North Sea littoral region for raids on Allied shipping, routine patrols, clandestine operations, and rescue of downed aircrew. By 1944 about 40 E-boats were operating in the Channel area. One of their most significant successes was on April 28, 1944, when two flotillas attacked a D-Day landing exercise in the Channel off Slapton, Devon, sinking two LSTs and killing 749 men of the U.S. Fourth Infantry Division.

Germany's premier admiral, Erich Raeder, battles with Nazi leaders: In 1933 Admiral Erich Raeder became the architect of German naval rearmament. A committed Nazi, he planned to provide Nazi Germany with world-class surface and subsurface fleets by 1949. The outbreak of war in 1939 forestalled this aspiration. Nevertheless, he successfully oversaw the operations of the Kriegsmarine as its commander-in-chief until 1943. That year, his friction with Hermann Göring over airpower priorities, and the increasing divergence of his maritime policy views from those of Adolf Hitler, resulted in his enforced retirement. Found guilty on three counts at Nuremberg, Raeder was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 1955 due to ill health.

Massive warfare at Kharkov, Ukraine: Nazi German troops surrendered to Red Army soldiers near Kharkov, Ukraine, on May 4, 1942, following four relatively uneventful months near the city that the Nazi Germans had captured the previous October. Much more activity occurred in May around Kharkov, which Adolf Hitler had selected for the launch of the Nazi German spring offensive. Joseph Stalin ordered a major offensive there by Marshal Timoshenko's Southwest Front beginning May 12. Initially, Timoshenko's armies struck deep, with two tank corps pushing rapidly to seize Kharkov. But then, on May 17, the Nazi German Sixth and First Panzer armies counterattacked, trapping more than 250,000 Soviet troops and 1,200 tanks by May 28.

Japan takes Corregidor, Philippines: At first, Japan struggled to capture Corregidor. Though supported by powerful artillery, the confident invaders landed in disorder on May 5, 1942. The cornered Americans, including Army and Navy personnel, fought back fiercely, inflicting hundreds of casualties. The Japanese ran dangerously short of ammunition and landing craft, but the arrival of tanks and continuous artillery bombardment eventually proved decisive. On May 6, General Wainwright sought terms.

Corregidor's Malinta Tunnel used as U.S. headquarters: To make full use of Manila Harbor after the surrender of the American and Filipino troops on Bataan, the Japanese had to first take control of the nearby island of Corregidor, which the U.S. military occupied. Beneath the surface, the U.S. built the Malinta Tunnel, which housed headquarters, communications, service staff, refugees, and casualties. Reinforced concrete walls rendered Malinta Tunnel impervious to the bombardment that destroyed the island's above-ground defenses. However, as conditions worsened outside, crowding, vermin, odor, heat, dust, noise, and lack of water made conditions oppressive. To protect 1,000 wounded men and other defenseless occupants of the tunnel from slaughter, General Jonathan Wainwright surrendered.

Learn about the other key World War II events that took place during May 1942 in the next section.

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World War II Timeline: May 12, 1942-May 25, 1942

Fuel rationing began in May 1942 in 17 cities along the U.S. eastern seaboard. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of May 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: May 12-May 25

May 12: Thirteen Nazi German transport planes go down in the Mediterranean after an RAF engagement off the coast of North Africa.

Overwhelming monsoon-induced mud brings operations in Southeast Asia to a standstill.

May 14: Not entirely trusting British guarantees to return Madagascar to France at war's end, General Charles de Gaulle sends troops under his command to force the issue.

Congress establishes the U.S. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.

May 15: Fuel rationing begins in 17 cities along the United States' eastern seaboard.

­Chinese troops retreat into China and British troops retreat into India, officially completing Japan's occupation of Burma.

May 16: Franklin Roosevelt appeases the Soviets by releasing Earl Browder from federal prison. Browder, the leader of the Communist Party in the U.S., had served 14 months for passport violations.

May 20: Thanks to outstanding work by U.S. intelligence cryptologists, the Allies possess advance knowledge of a Japanese attack on Midway Island and a simultaneous diversionary attack on the Aleutians. The U.S. command responds by deploying a defensive force to Midway.

May 21: Adolf Hitler delays a planned invasion of Malta indefinitely, as he is afraid of losses to airborne troops after the experience on Crete. He opts to focus on the conquest of Egypt.

May 22: Mexico declares war against the Axis.

May 25: A small Japanese fleet steams out of Hokkaido en route to Alaska. The Japanese stage an attack on the Aleutians that they hope will draw attention away from the real target of Midway Island in the South Pacific.

World War II Headlines

Below are more details that outline the events of World War II, including the Battle of the Coral Sea.

British troops fight Vichy forces in Madagascar: British troops rush ashore from landing craft at Madagascar on May 5, 1942. Seizure of the Vichy French-controlled island was prompted by fears that Japanese long-range submarines might use it as a base to interdict Allied communication lines and shipping in the Indian Ocean. This was critical for supply lines to India, the Soviet Union, and the Middle East. Vichy forces, consisting mostly of Madagascan and Senegalese troops, offered more resistance to the operation than expected. Low-level fighting dragged on until November 5, when the Vichy commander finally surrendered.

Battle of the Coral Sea: A major turning point in the Pacific war, the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 foiled a Japanese amphibious assault on New Guinea's Port Moresby, which could have led to the invasion of northern Australia. Fought by carrier aircraft, this was the first naval engagement in which the surface ships never sighted or directly fired on one another. The U.S. lost the carrier Lexington, and the Yorktown was badly damaged. The Japanese lost the small carrier Shoho, while Shokaku was severely damaged. Though a tactical victory for the Japanese, the Allies were the strategic winners because the Japanese invasion was aborted. It was Japan's first real setback of the war.

Arthur Travers Harris promotes city bombing: Arthur Travers Harris, the head of the RAF Bomber Command, implemented area bombing -- the indiscriminate destruction of cities instead of specific military targets. The British adopted this policy in winter 1942-1943 after learning that their bombers could not hit specific targets. Harris believed that this tactic alone would destroy enemy morale and force Nazi Germany to surrender. His most controversial action was the bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945, which caused a firestorm that killed tens of thousands of civilians. After the war, Harris grew bitter that his methods were increasingly criticized.

The deadly Mosquito fighter bomber proves successful: Operational from 1942, the RAF's De Havilland Mosquito fighter bomber is generally regarded as the most successful and versatile combat aircraft of the war. With its revolutionary lightweight, wood-based construction, the "Mossie" could fly at 408 mph up to 2,206 miles while carrying its two-man crew and a total bomb load of 5,000 pounds. A Mossie could fly to Berlin and back twice in one night to deliver its devastating 4,000-pound "Blockbuster" bombs. When configured as a fighter bomber, it had four 20mm cannons and four machine guns and could carry 1,000 pounds of bombs or eight rockets.

The next page offers a timeline and details on the major World War II events of late May and early June 1942.

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World War II Timeline: May 27, 1942-June 5, 1942

In June 1942, the Battle of Midway shifted the momentum of the Pacific war. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: May 27-June 5

May 27: The British Eighth Army shows off the American Grant M3 tank, its newest piece of high-tech weaponry, against Rommel's troops in Libya.

Damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the carrier USS Yorktown returns to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

May 29: Effective today, all French Jews must wear the yellow Star of David badge.

Czech partisans sent from England attack the car carrying Bohemia and Moravia deputy Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, mortally wounding him.

May 30-31: Cologne, Germany is devastated by the first RAF raid to employ more than 1,000 bombers.

June: Eight Nazi German secret agents arrive via U-boat in the U.S., four in New York and four in Florida. They plan to destroy a cryolite factory in Philadelphia, but two of the members betray the operation to the FBI.

June 1: The Luftwaffe inflicts heavy damage on Canterbury, England.

June 2: More than 130 Czech citizens are murdered to avenge the attack on Reinhard Heydrich.

June 4: Reinhard Heydrich dies in Prague of an infection stemming from his injuries at the hands of Czech partisans.

June 4-6: The momentum of the Pacific war shifts to favor the Allies when they achieve a stunning victory at the Battle of Midway. The Japanese lose 3,500 men and four of their six largest aircraft carriers, permitting the Allies to go on the offensive.

June 5: Forty-nine civilians die in an accidental explosion at an Elmwood, Illinois, ordnance plant.

The United States formally declares war on Axis satellites Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, each of whom had declared war on the U.S. in December 1941.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the events of World War II and show the details and consequences of numerous attacks and battles across the globe.

The bombing of Cologne, Germany: For 90 minutes on the night of May 30-31, 1942, the RAF dropped 1,445 tons of high explosives and 915 tons of incendiaries on Cologne, Germany, and its one million inhabitants, killing more than 500 and injuring more than 5,000. The docks and railways were destroyed, together with 36 factories and more than 3,000 homes. Some 45,000 people were left homeless. Of the 1,046 bombers involved, only 40 failed to return. This devastatingly successful raid was inspired by Air Chief Marshal "Bomber" Harris. It was designed to boost British morale, shatter German self-confidence, and impress Britain's allies.

Japanese subs attack Sydney, Australia, area: A shattered Japanese midget submarine is hoisted from the waters of Sydney Harbor following an attack on Allied shipping on the night of May 31, 1942. Three of the two-man midget subs, launched from standard submarines, participated in the attack. All were lost. One became tangled in an anti-torpedo net and blew itself up. The crew members of the second committed suicide after their sub was damaged in a depth-charge attack. The third sub fired two torpedoes, one of which sank a depot ship. Though never found, it too failed to return to the mother sub. One week later, a Japanese sub attacked the Sydney area, damaging houses but causing no serious injuries.

Reinhard Heydrich's assassination: In September 1941, Reinhard Heydrich became the governor of Nazi German-occupied Bohemia and Moravia (today's Czech Republic). The overly confident governor often rode in an unescorted, open-roofed car. On May 27, 1942, two British-trained Czech resistance fighters successfully ambushed him in Prague, wounding him with a grenade. Seen here is the car in which he was attacked. After several days of agony, Heydrich died on June 4.

The destruction of Lidice, Czechoslovakia: The Nazis' most notorious retaliation for Reinhard Heydrich's assassination was the destruction of the Czech village of Lidice, suspected by Adolf Hitler of being a hotbed of anti-Nazi resistance. On June 10, 1942, Nazi German authorities rounded up the town's entire population. All males over 16 years of age -- about 172 in number -- were shot to death the next day. Many of Lidice's surviving women were sent to their deaths at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, while some children considered sufficiently "Aryan" were adopted by German families. All told, about 340 people from Lidice were murdered. The village was rebuilt after the war.

Chester Nimitz leads the Pacific Fleet: Chester Nimitz entered the Naval Academy at the age of 15 in 1901 and graduated seventh in his class. President Franklin Roosevelt chose him to replace disgraced Admiral Husband Kimmel as commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Nimitz's first task was to rebuild the Pacific Fleet, a job he accomplished swiftly. Within six months of the attack, Nimitz achieved a stunning victory over the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. The U.S. followed that triumph with a string of amphibious attacks, one island after another, until the Allies were at the doorstep of Japan in August 1945.

Battle of Midway turns the tide: Many historians consider the Battle of Midway the most significant naval engagement of World War II. Fought from June 4 to 7, 1942, the battle turned back a Japanese attempt to seize Midway Atoll and destroy the U.S. fleet in a decisive confrontation. Armed with key intelligence on enemy plans, outnumbered U.S. forces mauled the Japanese. The Imperial Japanese Navy would never regain the superiority it had enjoyed over the first six months of the war.

Hiryu, Japan's important aircraft carrier, is attacked: The Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu takes evasive action while under attack by U.S. B-17 bombers during the Battle of Midway. Commissioned in 1939, the 20,250-ton carrier was involved in the raid on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 as well as in operations in the East Indies and Indian Ocean. At Midway, its planes heavily damaged the U.S. carrier Yorktown on June 4. Hours later, Hiryu was attacked by 13 dive-bombers from Enterprise. Struck by four bombs, it was abandoned when massive fires could not be brought under control. The Hiryu was subsequently scuttled by torpedoes from the destroyer Makigumo.

Yorktown sinks at Midway after Japanese air attacks: Smoke billows from the USS Yorktown following Japanese air attacks at Midway. The carrier survived three bomb hits and returned to action before coming under renewed attack by enemy torpedo planes. Struck by two torpedoes, the carrier lost headway and began listing to port. Fearing the carrier was about to capsize, the crew was ordered to abandon ship. Hours later, with the Yorktown still stubbornly afloat, efforts were underway to salvage the ship when a Japanese submarine sent two more torpedoes into the carrier. Mortally wounded, Yorktown sank in 3,000 fathoms the following morning.

Japanese vice admiral Nagumo Chuichi demoted: Japanese vice admiral Nagumo Chuichi led the attack on Pearl Harbor and gained fame during the initial flood tide of Japanese victories in the Pacific. Since Nagumo's schooling was in surface tactics, many fellow officers had questioned his appointment as commander of the First Carrier Fleet in April 1941, feeling he lacked familiarity with the naval air arm. Despite early successes, Nagumo fell out of favor after the loss of four carriers at Midway. He was eventually demoted to a series of less important posts. Assigned to the Marianas, he was trapped by the U.S. invasion of Saipan and took his life on July 6, 1944.

The reliable Dauntless is mainstay of U.S. Navy air fleet: Considered obsolete when war broke out, the U.S. Navy Douglas SBD Dauntless was underpowered, slow, noisy, and fatiguing to fly over long distances. On the plus side, it handled well, could absorb considerable punishment, and was very accurate. These attributes transformed the Dauntless into the mainstay of the U.S. Navy's air fleet from 1941 to 1943. In fact, it was credited with sinking more Japanese warships than any other U.S. aircraft type. At Midway alone, Dauntless dive-bombers sank four Japanese carriers and damaged two heavy cruisers.

­Learn more about the events of June 1942 in the timeline on the next page.

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World War II Timeline: June 7, 1942-June 20, 1942

On June 10, 1942, the Czechoslovakian village of Lidice is razed as retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of June 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: June 7-June 20

June 7: The Chicago Tribune states that the U.S. Navy had advance knowledge of the Midway strike. The article jeopardizes years of intelligence collection and cryptology work.

Japanese forces occupy the Aleutian islands of Attu and Kiska in the war's only Axis occupation in North America.

June 10: The entire Czechoslovakian village of Lidice is razed in reprisal for the killing of Reinhard Heydrich. More than 400 residents are driven from their homes; the men are executed while the women and children are sent to concentration camps.

June 11: The office of SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler calls for the transfer of some 100,000 Jews from occupied France to "relocation" camps.

German U-boats launch a mine-laying campaign in eastern U.S. coastal waters.

U.S. officials sign a new Lend-Lease agreement with Soviet ambassador Maxim Litvinov.

June 12: The oil-producing region around Ploesti, Romania, is strafed by U.S. Army Air Force B-24 bombers.

June 13: British troops suffer a major defeat at the hands of General Erwin Rommel when Lieutenant General Neil Ritchie orders an attack against a well-entrenched Nazi German Army in Libya.

June 15: The tanker Robert C. Tuttle runs aground on Virginia Beach after hitting a Nazi German mine, making it the first American ship lost to enemy mines at home.

June 18: A six-hour gun battle in a church ends with the deaths of seven Czech partisans who took part in the Reinhard Heydrich assassination.

Bernard Robinson becomes the first African American U.S. naval officer (an ensign in the Reserves).

June 20: Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill agree to move forward with an invasion of the French colonies in northwest Africa.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the details of World War II, such as the involvement of the FBI in the war.

The expanded role of the FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was established in 1908 and led by J. Edgar Hoover beginning in 1924. Primarily a crime-fighting agency during its early years, the FBI was authorized to investigate subversive organizations beginning in 1936. When war broke out in Europe in 1939, the FBI's role was expanded to include sabotage and espionage investigations. With the added responsibilities came an increase in agents, from 391 in 1933 to 3,000 in 1942 to 4,886 in 1944. Hoover publicized the successes of his department, increased the confidence of civilians, and expanded the FBI's responsibilities well beyond its prewar assignments.

FBI captures Nazi German spies: On August 8, 1942, six men, found guilty of espionage, were led individually to an electric chair in a District of Columbia jail. The condemned had been members of two four-man Nazi German teams sent to New York and Florida via submarine about two months earlier to disrupt the manufacture of war materials. The men had been chosen for the mission because they had lived in the U.S. before. Two of the men revealed the plan to the FBI before any acts of sabotage could be carried out, and thus had their death penalties commuted by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur turns fact into fiction: Not one instance of enemy sabotage occurred in the United States during the war -- a testament, in part, to FBI vigilance. For the 1942 film Saboteur, however, director Alfred Hitchcock supposed that such a crime did take place. In the film, an innocent shipyard worker becomes a fugitive. Footage of the capsized troopship USS Lafayette (formerly the French passenger liner Normandie) was used by Hitchcock to suggest sabotage. The real destruction of this ship, which occurred at New York's Pier 88 on February 9, 1942, was traced to a welder's spark.

Americans ration rubber, gas: The U.S. Office of Price Administration (OPA) was created in August 1941 to stabilize prices and ration consumer goods. Rubber was the first item rationed, followed later by gasoline. Five priority levels were created for travel, ranging from A for pleasure driving to E for emergency vehicles. Any vehicle with an A sticker received only three to five gallons per week. The allocated amount increased with each level. Commuters (level B) were encouraged to carpool.

Appeals to patriotism notwithstanding, many Americans elected not to follow Washington's program. New or nearly new tires were available to anyone who had the money to pay a black-marketeer. Trade-in black market gasoline also was robust.

Office of War Information (OWI) promotes war via American media: In June 1942, the U.S. government created the Office of War Information (OWI) to funnel information to the American media. The OWI soon concentrated on "selling" the war by manipulating pro-American sentiment and dehumanizing the enemy. For instance, the OWI sent story directives to pulp magazines. In addition, rigid guidelines restricted what could appear in movies. With the OWI controlling what the American public read, saw, and heard, relevant information about the war was laced with propaganda.

See the next section for a look at the major World War II events of late June and early July 1942.

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World War II Timeline: June 21, 1942-July 8, 1942

Dwight Eisenhower was named U.S. Army chief in Europe on June 25, 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: June 21-July 8

June 21: Nazi German General Erwin Rommel pushes east after conquering Tobruk, Libya. His troops capture supplies, along with 33,000 prisoners of war.

June 22: Fort Stevens, Oregon, escapes harm when it is shelled by the Japa­nese.

June 23: Rail-transported Parisian Jews are the first to go through the selection process for the Auschwitz gas chambers.

June 25: Franklin Roosevelt appoints Dwight Eisenhower to the post of U.S. Army chief in Europe.

June 26: The important U-boat base of Bremen, Germany, is in flames following a massive RAF attack.

July 1: Some 250 alien saboteurs are arrested in the U.S. when the FBI uncovers a plot to blow up the Pennsylvania Railroad.

July 4: After eight months, the Nazi Germans finally prevail in the Battle of Sevastopol, the site of the Soviets' main naval base on the Black Sea. Germany's 11th Army takes 90,000 Soviets as prisoners.

American bombers undertake their first independent raids of the war, attacking four Nazi German air bases in Dutch territory.

July 5: The Soviet Union yields the Crimea to Germany.

Britain angers Joseph Stalin by imposing a moratorium on convoys to northern Russia. This follows a devastating Nazi German attack that sank 23 of 33 Allied ships in a convoy on the Barents Sea.

July 7: The British send Nazi spies Jose Keys and Alphonse Timmerman to the gallows.

July 8: U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Chester Nimitz orders the invasion of the strategically significant Solomon island of Guadalcanal. His aim is to take an airfield being built by the Japanese, who have seized this island.

World War II Headlines

Below are more details that outline the events of World War II, including an American POW Fourth of July celebration in Mindanao, Philippines.

Nazi Germany builds railroad guns: From 1937, the German manufacturer Krupp designed and built two enormous railroad guns: "Gustav" and "Dora." The guns were arguably vulnerable to air attack. However, the existence of Europe's extensive railroad system and the ability to utilize poor-quality and rapidly repaired rails generally validated the railroad gun concept. Eventually, Dora was test-fired in 1942. It was manned by 1,420 men commanded by a brigadier general. Subsequently, it was employed to good effect in the Crimea, where it fired 40 seven-ton shells almost 30 miles into Sevastopol in mid-1942. It later fired 30 rounds into Warsaw during the 1944 uprising. The Gustav was never used in action.

Yugoslav partisans show courage: Moments before his death by hanging on June 22, 1942, Yugoslav partisan fighter Stjepan Filipovic shouts his defiance against his country's Nazi occupiers and his allegiance to the Yugoslav Communist Party. The Yugoslav partisans (officially the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia) brought together an unlikely alliance of Balkan ethnic groups -- including Croats and Serbs -- through their commitment to communism. The partisans' cunning and courage (along with their sometimes savage brutality) and pressure from the advancing Red Army combined to free Yugoslavia from Nazi rule.

The "Mosquito Army" used to scout routes in North Africa: The Long Range Desert Group (originally the Long Range Patrol Group) was founded by Major Ralph Bagnold in 1940 to assist British military efforts in North Africa. Sometimes called the "Mosquito Army" and the "Libyan Taxi Service," the group's purpose was to disappear behind enemy lines in order to scout routes, gather intelligence, and launch raids. Members sometimes spent weeks or even months on dangerous missions in oppressive desert heat. LRDG teams were so cunning and skillful that, as Bagnold observed, raids seemed to come from "a fourth dimension," leaving Nazi German and Italian forces baffled and paralyzed.

Margaret Bourke-White, Life's valiant reporter: "The woman who had been torpedoed in the Mediterranean, strafed by the Luftwaffe, stranded on an Arctic island, bombarded in Moscow, and pulled out of the Chesapeake when her chopper crashed," wrote biographer Sean Callahan, "was known to the Life staff as 'Maggie the Indestructible.'" Margaret Bourke-White was a staff photographer for Life magazine during World War II, and she covered the war from its front lines in Italy, Russia, and Germany. Her book Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly captures the atrocities of warfare, from the battlefield to Nazi death camps.

American POWs celebrate July 4th: The Japanese regime in Malaybalay camp in Mindanao, Philippines, seems to have been relatively benign, but the camp's celebration on the Fourth of July in 1942 was against regulations and dangerous. At Malaybalay, rations were far better than at Davao, where by October the U.S. prisoners had been moved. Prisoners of war of all nations sought to maintain a sense of national unity and to find diversions from the boredom and suffering of imprisonment. Mutual support was crucial to survival.

The next timeline covers major events of World War II in mid-July 1942.

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World War II Timeline: July 9, 1942-July 23, 1942

On July 13, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt approved the creation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which would later become the Central Intelligence Agency. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of July 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: July 9-July 23

July 9: Teenaged diarist Anne Frank goes into hiding along with her family and friends as the Nazis begin to purge Amsterdam of its Jewish population.

July 10: In a disturbing new facet of Nazi inhumanity, 100 female Auschwitz inmates are selected for medical experimentation.

July 11: British Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers fly to Danzig to bomb U-boat pens.

July 13: President Franklin Roosevelt approves the creation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency.

July 15: In the first deportation of Holland's Jews, some 2,000 are sent to Auschwitz under the guise of being relocated to a Nazi German labor camp.

Erwin Rommel must postpone his Egyptian offensive to assist two Italian divisions under Allied attack at El Alamein.

July 17: The United States begins its campaign to convince Britain to launch an invasion of mainland Europe in 1942. The British will resist, opting to build their strength for a major invasion at some unspecified future date.

July 19: The Nazi Germans attempt to limit French partisan violence by imposing a law calling for the slaughter and deportation of male family members of known "terrorists" that evade capture by Nazi authorities.

July 22: The Nazis open the Treblinka death camp outside of Warsaw, Poland. Like Belzec, Treblinka's mandate is exclusively extermination, not confinement and labor.

July 23: The Nazi German army captures some 240,000 Soviet troops at the fall of Rostov.

A German U-boat lays mines in the Mississippi River delta.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the details of World War II, including an example of an American propaganda poster.

U.S. begins production of war goods: One of the tasks facing President Franklin Roosevelt in the early days of the war was to dramatically shift the focus of American manufacturing from domestic to war goods. To oversee that process, the president called for the creation of the War Production Board, whose job would be to oversee the manufacture of war materials. The first decision of the board, which was formed in January 1942, was to ban the production of all cars and light trucks after that month. By the middle of the year, production of consumer durable goods decreased by 29 percent. America's shift to a wartime economy had begun.

U.S. materiel aids effort in Tobruk, Libya: When German commander Erwin Rommel seized Tobruk, Libya, on June 21, 1942, the United States had barely joined active combat in the western hemisphere. Nevertheless, President Franklin Roosevelt immediately saw that the Allies in North Africa needed increased American materiel. With U.S. tanks and planes, such as the American-built Glenn Martin bombers, British-led forces soon turned the tide against Rommel. But for the moment, Rommel ruled the desert.

The Colt pistol at high demand: The Colt M1911 A1 semiautomatic pistol was widely used by American personnel in all branches of service during the war. The weapon, which could easily be assembled and disassembled, featured a magazine that carried seven bullets. Its .45-caliber round had excellent stopping power at close range. In comparison to pistols used by servicemen of other countries, however, the M1911 was quite heavy and large. In order to meet the demand for the weapon during the war, nine different manufacturers were required, which posed problems with interchanging parts.

Americans fear Nazi German invasion: Adolf Hitler was the subject of many propaganda posters, such as the one shown above. They often poked fun at his speeches, but underlying this humor lay a foundation of fear for those Americans who believed it possible for Nazi Germany and Japan to bring the war to North America. Their concern was not unfounded. Nazi Germany began to develop plans for an invasion of the United States even before Adolf Hitler's declaration of war on the U.S. Some felt that Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union was just a staging ground for an attack on America.

In our final section, we'll cover the major World War II events that took place at the end of July 1942.

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World War II Timeline: July 23, 1942-July 31, 1942

Rationing of sweets and chocolates was instituted in Great Britain on July 26, 1942. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of July 1942 below.

World War II Timeline: July 23-July 31

July 23: Judenrat president Adam Czerniakow, who is charged by the Nazis with delivering 6,000 Jews a day for "resettlement" from the Warsaw Ghetto on penalty of the death of his wife and some 100 other Jewish hostages, takes his own life. A day earlier, he was unable to convince the Nazis to spare the ghetto orphans from being sent to Treblinka as part of a mass deportation of Jewish children.

July 26: British minister of food Lord Woolton institutes a sweets and chocolate rationing program that allows a half pound for every man, woman, and child every four weeks.

July 27: Hamburg is once again bombarded by the RAF. This time, some 600 planes participate in the attack.

July 28: According to President Franklin Roosevelt, no less than four million Americans are serving in the military.

July 30: The First Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, fought mostly between British Commonwealth and Nazi German troops, ends in a stalemate, thereby halting the Nazi German advance.

With the Nazi Germans on the move on two separate Russian fronts, Joseph Stalin issues a directive forbidding retreat.

The U.S. Navy begins a reservist program for women called the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service, better known as WAVES.

July 31: The approaches to the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina, are mined by a Nazi German U-boat.

American planes bomb Japanese positions on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.

A Nazi "scientific" organization calling itself the Institute for Practical Research in Military Science begins to collect corpses from the Oranienburg concentration camp in an effort to study Jewish skeletons.

World War II Headlines

Below are more highlights and images that outline the details of World War II, including women in the Soviet air force and more examples of war propaganda.

Hitler's bad judgment in the Caucasus: Nazi Germany's insatiable need for oil-based products meant that the capture of the oil fields at Maikop, Baku, and Grozny remained a key strategic objective. This strategy was ostensibly sound and could have succeeded. However, from mid-1942 Nazi German combat power in the Caucasus was dissipated by Adolf Hitler's ill-judged decisions to redirect forces to the competing operations at Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad. Thus, the Caucasus advance lost momentum. Characteristically, Adolf Hitler blamed his generals for this failure.

The battle for Sevastopol, Ukraine: The Nazi German campaign in the Crimea (a Ukrainian peninsula between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov) focused on the capture of the strategically vital fortified city of Sevastopol. In a bid to prevent this, a series of landings by some 40,000 Soviet troops in December 1941 resulted in the temporary ejection of the Nazi Germans from parts of the peninsula.

However, the better quality and training of General Erich von Manstein's forces eventually led to Nazi German victory, and by July the Soviets had been cleared away by the Nazi Germans. Although the peninsula battles delayed the fall of Sevastopol by about six months, it finally fell to a Nazi German assault in July 1942 (pictured above).

The Soviet Union's female flying aces: The heavy losses of pilots sustained by the Soviet air force during Operation Barbarossa were offset by the training and employing of hundreds of women as combat pilots. Marina Raskova, an already famous Soviet aviator, organized three all-female air combat units. Another combat flying ace was Lilia Litvak, the "White Rose of Stalingrad," of the 586th Women's Fighter Regiment. Then there was Natalya Meklin of the 588th Women's Night Bomber Regiment (known to the Nazi Germans as the "Night Witches"). Meklin flew more than 800 night-bombing missions and was honored as a "Hero of the Soviet Union."

Red Army greatly improved in 1942: By the second summer of the "Great Patriotic War," the Red Army was finally experiencing a renaissance after its ignominious defeats of 1941. Previously, years of centralized political command and control had stultified operational effectiveness and emasculated the officer corps, but now various aspects of this policy were progressively relaxed or revised. Some 500,000 battle-proven, front-line soldiers were quickly trained as commanders, while new radio equipment reduced the army's traditional reliance on landline communications. Meanwhile, thousands of new artillery guns, rocket-launchers, tanks, trucks, assault guns, and automatic weapons at last began entering service.

Postcards used as propaganda: Britain, Nazi Germany, Italy, and other nations used postcards as wartime propaganda tools. Some cards vilified the enemy, stirred patriotism, or celebrated victories. In other cases, postcards with faked origins and images were dropped into enemy countries to cause dissension among citizens. The Soviets faked dozens of Nazi German postcards with the message that soldiers had been lied to by Adolf Hitler and the only Lebensraum they would find in the Soviet Union would be their own graves. This 1942 Soviet postcard glorifies the Soviet victory over Nazi German troops outside Moscow.

Britain's alters military training and establishes new "battle schools": The fall of France and the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in June 1940 prompted significant changes in the organization and training of the British Army and Royal Marines, as Britain prepared for a protracted conflict. Based on the combat experience gained by many officers in France, realistic, imaginative, and physically demanding "battle schools" were established. These schools supplanted the comprehensive but often predictable and inflexible training regime of the prewar period.

Learn more about the significant events and players of World War II in these informative articles:

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: John S. D. Eisenhower, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Rochard Overy Ph.D., David J. A. Stone, Wim Coleman, Martin F. Graham, James H. Hallas, Mark Johnston Ph.D., Christy Nadalin M.A., Pat Perrin, Peter Stanley Ph.D.