Jan 2, us secretary of State John Hay announced the Open Door Policy to prompt trade with China. This policy rejected efforts to carve up China or restrict its




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1941       


Jan 6, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to support the lend-lease plan to help supply the Allies.

Jan 11, Adolf Hitler ordered forces to be prepared to enter North Africa to assist the Italian effort, marking the establishment of the Afrika Korps.

Feb 10, Iceland was attacked by German planes.

Mar 7, 50,000 British soldiers landed in Greece.

Mar 11, The Lend-Lease Act was passed by the US Congress. It authorized the president to send aid to nations whose defense he considered essential to US defense.

Apr 3, Churchill warned Stalin of German invasion.

Apr 13, German troops captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Hitler soon installed Gen. Milan Nedic as a quisling leader. Nedic proceeded to wipe out the Jewish community of Serbia.

Apr 17, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany ending 11 days of futile resistance against the invading German Wehrmacht.

Apr 21, Greece surrendered to Nazi Germany.
  May 1,    The motion picture "Citizen Kane," directed and starring Orson Welles (24), premiered in New York. Randolph Hearst attempted to bury the film by banning all advertising in his newspapers. One in five Americans read a Hearst paper at this time.

May 1, General Mills introduced Cheerioats, later renamed Cheerios.

May 9, The German submarine U-110 was captured at sea by the Royal Navy, revealing considerable Enigma material. Enigma was the German machine used to encrypt messages during World War II.

May, Germany dropped 1,500 paratroopers on Crete in the first successful airborne invasion in military history.

Jun 22, German troops invaded Russia and thereby violated the 1939 Russo-German non-aggression pact. Under the codename Barbarossa, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the largest invasion of another country in history.

Jun 24, The entire Jewish male population of Gorzhdy, Lithuania, was exterminated.

Jun 25, Finland declared war on the Soviet Union.
    (HN, 6/25/98)

Jun 29, Nazi divisions in a surprise assault made sweeping advances toward Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev. Joseph Stalin had ignored warnings that Hitler would betray the 1939 Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact.

Jun, In the northeastern city of Iasi, Romania, up to 12,000 people are believed to have died as Romanian and German soldiers swept from house to house to killing Jews.

Jul 1, Commercial black and white television broadcasting began in the US under approval by the FCC.

Jul 5, German troops reached the Dnieper River in the Soviet Union.

Jul 7, Nazis executed 5,000 Jews in Kovno, Lithuania.

Jul 27, The German army entered Ukraine.

Jul 27, Japanese forces landed in Indo-China.

Aug 5, The German army completed taking 410,000 Russian prisoners in Uman and Smolensk pockets in the Soviet Union.

Aug 9, President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill met at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Their meeting produced the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between the two countries on war aims, even though the United States was still a neutral country.

Aug 14, The Atlantic Charter was created in 1941. It was a joint declaration of peace aims and a statement of principles by US Pres. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill that renounced aggression.

Aug 21-Sep 26, The Soviet Union’s greatest defeat in WWII occurred during the encirclement of the Ukrainian city of Kiev. The Germans took some 665,000 Soviet prisoners.

Aug 22, Nazi troops reached Leningrad.

Aug 29, The German Einsatzkommando in Russia killed 1,469 Jewish children.

Sep 3, Nazis made the 1st use of Zyclon-B gas in Auschwitz on Russian prisoners of war

Sep 8, The entire Jewish community of Meretsch, Lithuania was exterminated.

Sep 19, German army conquered Kiev.

Sep 30, 3,721 Jews were buried, some still alive, at Babi Yar ravine (near Kiev) Ukraine.

Oct 10, Soviet troops halted the German advance on Moscow.

Oct 12, Russian government moved from Moscow to Volga as Nazis closed in on Moscow.

Oct 31, The US Navy destroyer "Reuben James" was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Iceland, killing 115, even though the United States had not yet entered World War II.

Nov 12, Germany's drive to take Moscow halted.

Dec 7, At 7:50 a.m. [7:55 a.m.] Japan launched an aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, the home base of the U.S. Pacific fleet, and forced US entry into the war. They also attacked the Philippines, the Int’l. Settlement at Shanghai, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Dec 8, The United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor

Dec 8, The Nazi Chelmno extermination camp opened in Poland.

Dec 11, The US declared war on Germany and Italy. Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

Dec 11, Guam was occupied by Japanese troops.

Dec 25, Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong. Major John Crawford (d.1997) and some 1,975 Canadian soldiers were captured and incarcerated at the Sham Shui Po prison camp at Kowloon for 44 months.


1942       


Jan 14, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered all U.S. aliens to register with the government.
Jan 15, Jawaharlal Nehru succeeded Mohandas K. Gandhi as head of India's National Congress Party.

20, Top Nazis met at Grossen-Wannsee, outside Berlin, and there formulated the infamous "Final Solution" to the Jewish question. Chaired by SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the one-day conference was designed to address the Nazi efforts at removing the Jews. The 15 top-ranking men of the German Reich agreed upon a blueprint for the extermination of Europe’s Jews. Their "final solution" called for exterminating Europe's Jews.

Feb 11, "Archie" comic book debuted.

Feb 15, British forces in Singapore surrendered to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. Yamashita prevailed, when British Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Percival and 130,000 Empire troops surrendered. It was the largest surrender in British history.

Feb 18, Japanese troop landed on Bali.

Feb 19, President Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 that gave the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans. The order resulted in the incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans living in California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona.

Feb 19, Port Darwin, on the northern coast of Australia, was bombed by about 150 Japanese warplanes; at least 243 people were killed.

Feb 23, A Japanese submarine shelled an oil refinery at Ellwood, near Santa Barbara, Calif., the first Axis bombs to hit American soil.

Feb, The first transport of Jews arrived at Auschwitz, Poland, and the adjoining Birkenau camp.

Mar 7, Japanese troops landed on New Guinea.

Mar 17, The Nazis began deporting Jews to the Belsen camp.

Mar, British and US intelligence received information on Nazi plans for the Holocaust: "It has been decided to eradicate all the Jews."

Apr 3, The Japanese began their all-out assault on the U.S. and Filipino troops at Bataan.

Apr 10, The 65-mile Bataan Death March began to a prison camp near Cabanatuan. The prisoners were forced to march 85 miles in six days with only one meal of rice during the entire journey. Some 10k-15k soldiers perished on the march. Bataan is a peninsula of western Luzon in the Philippines.

Apr 18, The first US air strike against Japan, an air squadron from the USS Hornet led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (d.1993), raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities. 16 U.S. Army B-25 bombers broke through Japanese defenses to strike Tokyo and other cities in broad daylight. The North-American B-25B Mitchells were launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet, and after striking their targets, flew on to China. 2 of the 80 men drowned. 3 of 8 captured by the Japanese were executed and 1 died in a prison camp.

May 2, Japanese troops occupied Mandalay Burma.

May 4,    The Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began during World War II.

May 7, In the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese and American navies attacked each other with carrier planes. It was the first time in the history of naval warfare where two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other. This battle stopped Japanese expansion.

May 12, A Nazi U-boat sank an American cargo ship at mouth of Mississippi River.

May 27, Nazi overlord and SS general Reinhard Heydrich was killed in Prague by Czech commandos, who had parachuted into Czechoslovakia and ambushed his car. Hitler promptly ordered the deaths of 10,000 residents of Lidice, near Prague.

May, Japanese documents in 1998 revealed that their military used poison gas in a northern China battlefield. China claimed that poison gas was used 2,900 times.

Jun 4, The Battle of Midway began. It was Japan’s first major defeat in World War II. Four Japanese carriers were lost. The carrier USS Yorktown was hit by 3 Japanese bombs and put on tow to Pearl Harbor.

Jun 21, German General Erwin Rommel captured the port city of Tobruk in North Africa and 25,000 Allied troops.

Jun 27, The FBI announced the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs who had been put ashore from 2 submarines, one off New York’s Long Island and the other off of Florida. The men were tried by a military court and 6 were secretly executed in a DC jail. Ernest Burger and George

Jun 28, German troops launched an offensive to seize Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus and the city of Stalingrad.

Jul 1, German troops captured Sevastopol, Crimea, in the Soviet Union.

Jul 22, Warsaw Ghetto Jews (300,000) were sent to death at Treblinka extermination Camp.

Jul 23, Treblinka Concentration Camp was destroyed.

Jul 24, The Soviet city of Rostov was captured by German troops.
    (HN, 7/24/98)

Jul 28, Nazis liquidated 10,000 Jews in Minsk, Russia.

Aug 7, The U.S. 1st Marine Division under General A. A. Vandegrift landed on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon islands. This was the first American amphibious landing of the war and the start of the first major allied offensive in the Pacific during World War II.

Aug 9, Mahatma Gandhi and 50 others were arrested in Bombay after the passing of a "quit India" campaign by the All-India Congress.

Aug 19, About 5,000 Canadian and 2,000 British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France. Over 3,600 men  perished in this battle. The information gathered from this landing was considered valuable for planning the successful Allied landings in Northern Africa, Sicily, and Normandy, France. 

Aug 23, German forces began an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad. From Aug. to Feb. 1943, The Battle of Stalingrad, 600 miles southeast of Moscow, was fought and ended with the encirclement and destruction of the German 6th Army Group.

Sep 2, German troops entered Stalingrad.

Sep 21, British forces attacked the Japanese in Burma.

Sep 23, At Auschwitz Nazis began experimental gassing executions.

Sep, More than 400 villagers died of bubonic plague in China’s eastern Zhejiang province after Japanese warplanes of medical Unit 731 dropped germ bombs. Unit 731 was stationed on the outskirts of Harbin, China, until the Soviet Union entered the war. The unit deposited typhus into the water supply flowing into Manchuria. In 2000 Yoshio Shinozuka testified to seeing men infected with the plague and then being dissected while still alive. Harbin had 26 affiliates across China and its germ bombs (anthrax, cholera, typhus and bubonic plague) killed an estimated 270,000 people.

Oct 1, The German Army ground to a complete halt within the city of Stalingrad.

Nov 4, The 13th day of battle at El Alamein: Axis Africa corps retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

Nov 6, Nazis executed 12,000 Minsk ghetto Jews.

Nov 8, Operation Torch began during World War II as U.S. and British forces landed in French North Africa. Gen’l. Eisenhower landed with American troops in Algiers, Casablanca.

Nov 11, 745 French Jews were deported to Auschwitz.

Dec 2, A self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago. On the squash court underneath a football stadium of the University of Chicago, the first nuclear chain reaction was set off.

Dec 19, British advanced 40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.

Dec 22, The Soviets drove German troops back 15 miles at the Don River.

-A Revenue Act was passed that for the first time subjected working-class Americans to federal income tax.


1943       


Jan 11, President Franklin D. Roosevelt flew to Morocco for a top-secret meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He had not flown since 1932, when he traveled from Albany, New York, to Chicago to accept his nomination at the Democratic national convention. No U.S. president had previously flown while in office because the Secret Service regarded flying as a dangerous mode of transport. Air travel was the only realistic option for the trip to Casablanca because German submarines lurking in the Atlantic made a surface crossing too risky.

Jan 14, Roosevelt, Churchill, and DeGaulle met at Casablanca, Morocco, to discuss the direction of the war. The Casablanca Conference, a pivotal 10-day meeting during WWII between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, determined unconditional surrender would be the only basis of negotiations with the Axis. Roosevelt and Churchill also pledged maximum aid to the Soviet Union and China in the war

Jan 22, Battle of Anzio: Italy.

Jan 24, President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill concluded a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.

Jan 30, Field marshal Friedrich von Paulus surrendered himself and his staff to Red Army troops in Stalingrad.

Jan, Construction began at Los Alamos, New Mexico, on a research facility for the Manhattan Project, the US atomic bomb program.

Mar 13, There was a failed assassination attempt on Hitler during the Smolensk-Rastenburg flight.

Mar 21, An assassination attempt on Hitler failed.

Apr 6, British and American armies army linked up in Africa.

May 16, "Skipping bombs" were used for the first and only time to breach three massive Ruhr Valley dams--the Eder, the Mohne and the Sorpe--that supplied water and hydroelectric power to Germany's vital armament factories. The bombs were designed to bounce over anti-torpedo nets and explode at the base of the dams.

May 30, American forces secured the Aleutian island of Attu from the Japanese during World War II.

Jul 5, The battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history, began as German tanks attacked the Soviet salient.

Jul 13, Greatest tank battle in history ended with Russia's defeat of Germany at Kursk. Almost 6,000 tanks took part and 2,900 were lost by Germany.

Jul 22, The American Seventh Army forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily. Gen Patton moved his troops across Sicily through August.

Jul 25, Benito Mussolini was dismissed as premier of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III and placed under arrest. Mussolini was later rescued by the Nazis and re-asserted his authority.

Aug 3, Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.

Aug 17, The Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

Aug 25, U.S. forces completed the occupation of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands during World War II.

Sep 11, The Jewish ghettos of Minsk & Lida in Belorussia were liquidated.

Sep 12, German paratroopers took Benito Mussolini from the hotel where he was being held by Italian resistance forces. Waffen-SS troops under Otto Skorzeny freed Mussolini at Gran Sasso in the Abruzzi Mountains.

Sep 13, Chiang Kai-shek became president of China.

Sep 24, Soviet forces reconquered Smolensk.

Oct 29, 3 Allied officers escaped the German camp Stalag Luft 3.

Nov 6, Soviet forces reconquered Kiev.

Nov 20, US Marines began landing on Tarawa and Makin atolls in the Gilbert Islands, encountering fierce resistance from Japanese forces but emerging victorious three days later. The US 2nd marine division invaded the tiny isle of Betio on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilberts. It was the first seriously opposed landing experienced by the Americans in WWII. After 3 days 1,027 US Marine and Navy personnel were killed.

Nov 28, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin met in Tehran, Iran, to map out strategy during World War II.

-The Hanford nuclear reservation was constructed in Washington state for the Manhattan Project.

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