During August 1942, some 75,000 Jews from the Polish city of Lvov were murdered at the Belzec death camp. Learn about this and the other important World War II events that occurred during the month of August 1942 below.
World War II Timeline: August 12-August 22
August 12: Winston Churchill arrives in Moscow for a summit with Joseph Stalin, who will be disappointed with Churchill's assertion that U.S. and British forces will concentrate on driving Erwin Rommel out of North Africa rather than relieving the pressure on the Soviets with a second European front.
Japan goes on the offensive in China's Shantung Province, capitalizing on internal strife between Chinese Nationalist and Communist troops.
August 16: The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) sees its first action in the skies over Egypt, staging raids against Erwin Rommel's troops.
August 17: USAAF high-altitude "Flying Fortresses" attack Rouen, France, in the first all-American air raid of the war.
A contingent of Marine commandos known as Carlson's Raiders attacks Japanese units and a seaplane base on Makin Island, killing the entire Japanese garrison.
August 19: A racing pigeon named Tommy finds its way back to England from the Netherlands. It carries a message from the Dutch resistance that reveals the location of an important U-boat base.
August 20: With a portion of Guadalcanal in the hands of the Allies, 31 American fighters land safely on that island at Henderson Field.
August 21: The Nazi swastika is planted at the 18,500-foot summit of Mt. Elbrus in the Soviet Caucasus Mountains.
The Japanese suffer 800 casualties in an attempt to retake the airfield on Guadalcanal.
August 22: In the past two weeks, some 75,000 Jews from the Polish city of Lvov have been murdered at the Belzec death camp.
World War II Headlines
Below are more highlights and images that outline the details of World War II, including anti-Japanese propaganda and the use of war dogs.
Japan's unwise assault against U.S. defenders: Grossly underestimating the number of U.S. defenders, Colonel Ichiki Kiyono used only 900 men for a frontal assault on Marines defending Henderson Field on Guadalcanal on August 20-21, 1942. Nearly 800 Japanese were killed by the dug-in Marines. It was a mistake Japanese commanders repeated throughout the campaign. First Marine Division commander General A. A. Vandegrift wisely kept his forces in a defensive posture to protect the valuable airfield, moving reinforcements to critical points as needed.
Anti-Japanese propaganda delivered by the OWI: The U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) was created in June 1942 to consolidate the release of propaganda at home and overseas. It was common to use a stereotypical image of Japanese soldiers with slanted eyes engaged in evil acts. Japanese soldiers would be depicted with very sharp features carrying an American woman from a scene portraying hell. The message was that unless the Allies stopped the Japanese in the Pacific, horrors like this would happen in America.
War dogs ("K9 Corps") used in battle: The U.S. "K9 Corps" was created weeks after the U.S. entered the war. It initially accepted more than 30 breeds, but as the program progressed, the K9 Corps limited the breeds to German shepherds, Belgian sheepdogs, Doberman pinschers, farm collies, and giant schnauzers. To train each dog took from eight to 12 weeks. During the Battle of Guam in 1944, 25 Marine dogs were killed while serving as sentries, scouts, messengers, and on mine and booby-trap detection. America's allies and enemies also used dogs for these purposes. Nazi Germans primarily chose German shepherds and Doberman pinschers. Above, a sentry dog detects a nocturnal prowler.
The next timeline takes us through the World War II events that occurred during the rest of August and into early September 1942.