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Chronology 1942

Date Event Historical Background
January 1, 1942 United Nations Declaration Twenty-six nations signed the United Nations Declaration in Washington, DC, including the U.S., Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. The declaration affirmed the principles of the Atlantic Charter, pledged the full employment of their military and economic resources against the Axis powers, and promised not to make a separate armistice or peace with their common enemies.
January 2, 1942 Far East Command Established Allied leaders announced the creation of the Supreme Command for American, British, Dutch, and Australian Forces in the Far East (ABDACOM) after a conference in Washington. British General Sir Archibald P. Wavell served as the commander of ABDACOM, with Major General George Brett as the deputy commander.
January 2-May 6, 1942 Japanese Campaign in the Philippines and the Fall of Manila Superior Japanese forces captured Manila and Cavite in the Philippines on January 2nd, forcing American and Filipino forces to retreat and fortify the Bataan Peninsula. General Douglas MacArthur established his headquarters on Corregidor in Manila Bay, but departed in March to take command of the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific. After a three-month siege, the Americans abandoned Bataan on April 9th and retired to Corregidor. General Jonathan Wainwright finally surrendered Corregidor on May 6th and the Japanese gained control of the Philippines.
January 11-March 9, 1942 Japanese Occupation of the Dutch East Indies Japanese forces began the occupation of the Dutch East Indies, landing troops on Celebes on January 11th, at Rabaul on January 23rd, on New Ireland on January 25th, in the Solomon Islands on January 26th, on Amboina on January 31st, and on Timor on February 20th. The Allies lost a major naval engagement, the Battle of the Java Sea, on February 27th, which exposed the East Indies to Japanese conquest. The Japanese secured control of Batavia on March 6th and captured all of Java by March 9th. With Australia in danger, the Allies succeeded in stopping the Japanese advance in the jungles of New Guinea.
January 12, 1942 Joint U.S.-Mexican Defense Commission The U.S. and Mexican governments established a joint defense commission to coordinate defense planning between the two countries.
January 15-28, 1942 Inter-American Conference at Rio de Janeiro Representatives from 21 American republics met in Rio de Janeiro for an Inter-American Conference to unite the American republics in coordinate policies in defense of the Western Hemisphere. The delegates unanimously adopted a resolution which called for all of the American states to sever diplomatic relations with the Axis powers. All of the governments involved at the conference, with the exceptions of Argentina and Chile, broke off relations with the Axis.
January 20-May 12, 1942 Soviet Winter Offensive The Red Army struck against the Axis forces across the Eastern Front. The Soviets recaptured Mozhaisk on January 20th, Dorogobuzh on February 23rd, and Rzhev on March 20th. In the Ukraine, the Red Army advanced towards Kursk (April 29th) and regained Kharkov on May 12th.
January 25, 1942 Thai Declaration of War on the U.S. and Britain The Thai government, after signing a ten-year Treaty of Alliance with Japan in December 1941, declared war on the United States and Great Britain.
January 27, 1942 Anglo-American Combined Raw Materials Board In an effort to achieve full cooperation in harnessing the resources of their countries, the British and American governments formed the Anglo-American Combined Raw Materials Board in Washington, DC.
January 29, 1942 Anglo-Soviet Iranian Pledge The British and Soviet governments agreed to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Iran. Both countries would withdraw their occupation forces from Iran after the end of the war.
January 31, 1942 British Recognition of Ethiopian Independence After ending the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, the British government recognized the sovereign independence of the kingdom, agreed to provide financial aid, to send technical and administrative advisors, and to reestablish diplomatic relations with the government of Emperor Halie Selassie.
February 1, 1942 Establishment of Quisling Regime in Norway The German Commissar for Norway, Joseph Terboven, appointed Vidkun Quisling as the new "Minister-President" of the National Socialist regime in Norway. President Quisling abolished the Norwegian constitution on February 7th and established a dictatorship. The Norwegian government-in-exile in London condemned Quisling's government.
February 6, 1942 Joint Anglo-American War Council President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appointed Combined Chiefs of Staff for the Joint Anglo-American War Council, headquartered in Washington, DC.
February 8-May 2, 1942 Japanese Offensive in Burma Japanese forces based in Thailand initiated an invasion of Burma on February 8th, capturing Rangoon, the capital, on March 8th. The British evacuation allowed the Japanese to rapidly occupy Burma. On April 30th, Lashio fell to the Japanese, which closed the Burma Road, ending overland resupply of the Nationalist Chinese. Only a few tons of cargo could be flown by air over the Himalayas on a monthly basis to Chongqing (Chungking). It was critical for the Allies to support the Nationalist Chinese, since the Chinese armies kept over a million Japanese troops in China to protect towns and railway lines. The Japanese captured Mandalay on May 2nd, and prepared for an invasion of India. The U.S. and British governments approved the appointment of General Joseph W. Stilwell as commander of the Chinese armies in Burma and to serve as the chief of staff in that theater of the war.
February 15, 1942 Fall of Singapore After landing forces on the Malay Peninsula in January, the Japanese advanced south towards Singapore. Despite claims of impregnability, the British forces in Singapore surrendered after the Japanese cut off their water supply and the Japanese captured 60,000 prisoners of war. The loss of Singapore was a major blow to the British defense strategy in Southeast Asia.
February 23, 1942 Master Mutual Lend-Lease Agreement with the Imperial Powers The U.S. government signed a master agreement regarding Lend-Lease assistance with the governments of Australia, Britain, and New Zealand.
March 1942 Establishment of Inter-American Defense Board Following up on the Inter-American Conference at Rio de Janeiro in January 1942, the American republics set up an Inter-American Defense Board to promote cooperation in defense planning for the Western Hemisphere.
March 8, 1942 Anglo-American Loan to China To reduce mounting inflation in China, the British government extended 50 million pounds and the U.S. government provided $500 million in credits to the Nationalist Chinese government.
March 8-September 29, 1942 Japanese New Guinea Offensive The Japanese landed troops on Law and Salamaua in New Guinea on March 8th with the goal of establishing a base for operations against Australia. The Japanese attempted to seize the key base of Port Moresby on the southern coast of New Guinea by sea, but the Allies repulsed the invasion force during the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 7th-8th. On July 22nd, the Japanese army launched a ground assault from northern New Guinea, attempting to seize Port Moresby, but encountered stiff Australian resistance.
March 19, 1942 U.S. Airbases in Guatemala The Roosevelt administration announced the establishment of U.S. air bases in Guatemala to help protect the Panama Canal.
March 17, 1942 MacArthur Southwest Pacific Commander After escaping from the Philippines, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed General Douglas MacArthur as the commander of the combined Allied forces in the southwest Pacific.
April 1942 Haitian Withdrawal from the League The government of Haiti informed the League of Nations of its intention of withdrawing from the organization.
April 9, 1942 Fall of Bataan American and Filipino troops surrendered to the Japanese from the last fortified positions on the Bataan Peninsula.
April 11, 1942 Rejection of British Autonomy for India In an effort to secure Indian support for the Allied war effort in the face of an imminent Japanese invasion, the British government sent Sir Stafford Cripps as an emissary to the Indian Nationalists to offer autonomy to India after the war, with the right to secede. Indian Nationalist leaders rejected the offer and instead demanded immediate independence from Britain. As disturbances spread across India, the British arrested Mohandas K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Abdul Kalam Azad, and other Indian independence leaders. The British eventually released these leaders during the course of the year.
April 14, 1942 Reinstatement of Laval in Vichy French Government Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain reinstated Pierre Laval as Vice Premier of the Vichy French government under pressure from the Germans.
April 18, 1942 U.S.-Mexican Subsoil Rights Agreement The U.S. and Mexican governments reached a final figure of almost $24 million for the subsoil rights American oil companies lost in Mexico after the nationalization of the country's oil industry. The Mexican government agreed to pay an additional $9.6 million for individual settlements with two U.S. oil companies. This agreement marked the end of a long period of tensions between the two countries.
April 29, 1942 Salzburg Conference Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Premier Benito Mussolini conferred at Salzburg on the Axis war effort. The Germans had driven deeply into the Soviet Union and were fighting in North Africa, but the Italian war effort was seriously compromised by the loss of East Africa.
May 1942 Biltmore Program for Palestine At a conference of American Zionists, the delegates approved the Biltmore Program. This plan repudiated the British Plan of 1939 and called for the establishment of a Jewish state and Jewish army. The war caused a significant increase in the number of Jewish immigrants traveling to Palestine.
May 5, 1942 British Occupation of Madagascar To preempt Japanese influence in the western Indian Ocean, the British landed troops in northern Madagascar at the naval base at Diego Suarez. Vichy French forces opposed the British occupation and fighting lasted until November 1942.
May 6, 1942 Fall of Corregidor Island The besieged American and Filipino garrison at Corregidor Island in Manila Bay surrendered to the Japanese. This conquest gave the Japanese control of the Philippine Islands, although surviving American and Filipino units conducted guerilla warfare against the Japanese during the remainder of the war.
May 7, 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea Allied naval and air forces eliminated a Japanese task force in the Coral Sea, sinking 100,000 tons of Japanese shipping between New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The Japanese had planned to land forces either in Australia or the New Hebrides. This battle marked the first serious Japanese setback of the war.
May 12-17, 1942 Soviet Counter-Offensive in the Ukraine Axis armies smashed a Soviet counter-offensive on the Kharkov Front which allowed the Germans to launch a summer offensive in southern Russia.
May 26, 1942 Anglo-Soviet Mutual Aid Treaty Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Foreign Minister Vyascheslav M. Molotov signed a twenty-year Mutual Aid Treaty between Britain and the USSR.
May 27-June 29, 1942 Second Axis Egyptian Offensive Armed with reinforcements, General Erwin Rommel launched a second offensive against Egypt, capturing Tobruk on June 21st and driving on to Bardia and Bir-el-Gobi. By the time the Axis forces ended their offensive, they were positioned at El Alamein, only 70 miles from Alexandria and access to the Nile River.
May 29, 1942 Soviet Official Visit to the U.S. Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrived in Washington for a conference with President Franklin Roosevelt and other high American officials. The meeting focused on the supply of Lend-Lease supplies and equipment for the Soviet Union, which resulted in the Master Lend-Lease Agreement in June.
June 4-7, 1942 Battle of Midway The Japanese navy attempted to seize the strategic island of Midway in the central Pacific. American air and naval forces intercepted the Japanese fleet, inflicting heavy losses. The American victory checked the Japanese advance across the central Pacific and eliminated the threat to Hawaii. Most importantly, the loss of the Japanese aircraft carriers restored the balance of power in the Pacific.
June 9, 1942 Anglo-American Resource Agreement The American and British governments agreed to share food and production resources in an effort to achieve maximum efficiency and final victory over the Axis. This agreed resulted in the creation of the Combined Production Resources Board and the Combined Food Board.
June 10-September 14, 1942 German Summer Offensive in the Ukraine With the goal of gaining access to Soviet oil reserves in the Caucasus region, the Axis powers launched a summer offensive in the Ukraine on June 10th. The Germans captured Sevastopol on July 2nd, after an eight-month siege, and drove south and east capturing Voronezh on July 7th, Millerovo on July 15th, and Rostov on July 24th. After seizing Maikop on August 9th, the Germans cross the Don River on August 20th, and began an offensive against Stalingrad (August 22nd). German forces also crossed the Kerch Straits on September 1st and captured Novorossisk on September 6th. Axis forces finally entered Stalingrad on September 5th, which resulted in house-to-house fighting. Stalingrad was the key to the Soviet war effort. By cutting off this city, the Germans hoped to stop Soviet river traffic on the Volga, including the major petroleum supply line to the Red Army.
June 11, 1942 Master Lend-Lease Agreement with the Soviet Union The American and Soviet governments negotiated a major military supply agreement between the two countries. The Roosevelt administration promised to supply the Soviets with materials, equipment, and services to prosecute the war against the Germans, under presidential authorization. In return, the Soviets pledged that materials, equipment, and intelligence would not be transferred to a third party without the consent of the President of the United States. This agreement would begin on July 1st and remain in effect until a date agreed upon by the two governments. Any materials or equipment not used by the Soviets were to be returned to the U.S. after the war.
June 12-21, 1942 Japanese Aleutians Offensive Japanese forces occupied the island of Attu on June 12th and landed troops on Kiska on June 21st in the western Aleutian Islands. These occupations marked the high water mark of the Japanese offensive in World War II, and coincided with the German drive on the Caucasian oilfields in Russia.
June 17, 1942 Dutch East Indies Consultative Board To assist the Dutch minister for colonies, a consultative board for the affairs of the Dutch East Indies was set up in London.
June 18-27, 1942 Second Washington Conference British Prime Minister Winston Churchill traveled to Washington, DC for a series of meetings with President Franklin Roosevelt in an effort to coordinate Anglo-American war strategy. Prime Minister Churchill urged President Roosevelt to support an offensive in the Mediterranean and attack Italy as the "soft under-belly" of the Axis. The two Western leaders also met with Soviet and Chinese representatives to discuss strategic problems.
June 25, 1942 Eisenhower Appointed Commander in Chief in Europe President Franklin Roosevelt appointed General Dwight Eisenhower as the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Forces in the European Theater.
June 30, 1942 U.S. Defense Appropriation The U.S. Congress authorized a record $42 billion for defense appropriations to prosecute the war against the Axis powers.
July 1942 Restoration of the Cortes in Spain Generalissimo Francisco Franco restored Spain's national legislative body, the Cortes, on a reorganized basis. The Cortes reflected Fascist lines as the supreme organ of the state, composed of 438 members, selected on administrative or judicial posts.
July 1942 London Combined Chiefs of Staff Conference The Combined Chiefs of Staff met in London and decided to postpone the establishment of a Second Front in Europe, as well as an offensive in the Pacific. Instead, Anglo-American forces would invade North Africa. The Soviets bitterly opposed this decision since they sought Western relief from the German invasion.
July 6, 1942 Argentinean Neutrality President Ramon S. Castillo declared that Argentina would maintain its policy of neutrality in the world war.
July 9, 1942 Chinese Victory in Jiangxi Province Nationalist Chinese forces won a major victory over the Japanese in Jiangxi (Kiangsi) Province, which helped tie down Japanese forces in China.
August 7, 1942-February 9, 1943 U.S. Solomon Islands Offensive U.S. forces landed on Tulagi and seized control of the Japanese airfields on Guadacanal, marking the beginning of the Allied offensive against the Japanese. Intense fighting continued on Guadacanal for six months as both sides attempted to gain a clear victory. In a series of sea battles and resupply efforts, the Americans and Japanese struggled to gain the advantage. On November 12th-15th, a naval battle began off the Solomon Islands, ended in a decisive U.S. victory. Fighting continued on the island, however, until February 9, 1943, when the Japanese evacuated their remaining troops.
August 12-16, 1942 First Moscow Conference British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Moscow to meet with Premier Josef Stalin and U.S. Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, who represented President Franklin Roosevelt, to discuss a common war strategy. Prime Minister Churchill, with the support of Ambassador Harriman, informed Premier Stalin that it would be impossible for the British and Americans to open a Second Front in Europe in 1942.
August 13, 1942 Atomic Bomb Project The Roosevelt administration appointed Brigadier General Leslie Groves to command the Manhattan Project for the development of an atomic bomb. Construction began in three major installations including a U-235 separation plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee; a bomb development laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico; and a plutonium production plant at Hanford, Washington.
August 19, 1942 Dieppe Raid British and Canadian forces conducted a major raid on the French port of Dieppe to test the effectiveness of German defenses and amphibious assault operations. The Germans put up a savage defense of the town and the Allies lost over half of their force in the attack. Despite the losses, the Allies learned valuable lessons in the attack.
August 30, 1942 German Annexation of Luxemburg The German Gauleiter in Luxemburg announced that the German Reich annexed the grand duchy and the introduction of military conscription. Workers in Luxembourg responded with a general strike. The Germans shot a number of strikers and deported others.
September 1942 Ecuadorian Approval of U.S. Bases in Galapagos Islands The Ecuadorian government agreed to allow the U.S. government to build naval bases in the Galapagos Islands and the Santa Elena Peninsula.
September 5-December 29, 1942 Soviet Counter-Offensive in Southern Russia Although German forces had succeeded in entering the city of Stalingrad on September 5th, the Axis forces had over-extended their supply lines in southern Russia. Red Army forces counter-attacked northeast of Stalingrad on September 21st and launched a second strike southeast of the city on October 1st. Despite the request of German commanders, Chancellor Adolf Hitler refused to allow the German army to withdraw from Stalingrad. By November 19th, the Red Army succeeded in a pincher movement against the Axis forces in Stalingrad and opened a new offensive against Rzhev (November 25th) and Kharkov (December 16th). The Soviets defeated a German relief army at Kotelnikovo on December 29th, isolating the Axis forces in Stalingrad.
September 14, 1942 Vichy French Work Decree To meet German demands for labor collaboration between Vichy France and Germany, the Vichy French government established compulsory labor for men between the ages of 18 and 65, and for unmarried women between the ages of 20 and 35.
September 23, 1942 Fall of Antananarivo British forces finally captured Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, from Vichy French forces.
September 29-October 10, 1942 Australian Counter-Offensive in New Guinea Australian forces, operating from Port Moresby, launched a counter-offensive against the Japanese on September 29th. The Australians pushed the Japanese back and crossed the Owen Stanley Range on October 10th.
October 1, 1942 German Annexation of Northern Slovenia The German government formally annexed northern Slovenia into the German Reich and declared all of the inhabitants of the region as German citizens.
October 9, 1942 Anglo-American Relinquishment of Extra-Territorial Rights in China The British and U.S. governments formally relinquished extra-territorial rights and special privileges in China. This policy change reflected an effort to bolster the Nationalist Chinese government as a strategic partner in the war against the Japanese.
October 23, 1942-January 24, 1943 Third British Libyan Offensive General Bernard L. Montgomery led a revitalized British Eighth Army in a major offensive against the Afrika Korps in western Egypt. The British drove east on October 23rd and achieved a major victory at El Alamein on November 4th. This battle forced the Axis forces retreat from Egypt by November 12th. The British Eighth Army continued their advance across Libya, capturing Bardia on November 12th, Tobruk on November 13th, and Tripoli on January 24th.
November 5, 1942 Madagascar Armistice Fighting on Madagascar finally ended, when Vichy French forces signed an armistice with the British.
November 8-December 1, 1942 Allied Invasion of North Africa U.S., British, and Allied forces, commanded by General Dwight Eisenhower, landed at several cities in Morocco and Algeria to gain control of North Africa from the Vichy French. This attack represented the largest invasion attempted up to that point, with over 850 Allied warships, transports, and cargo ships participating in the invasion. Allied troops landed at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. After several days of fighting, the Vichy French forces surrendered to the Allies and Allied forces advanced east against Italo-German forces in Libya and Tunisia.
November 11, 1942 German Occupation of Vichy French In response to the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa, German forces advanced into Vichy France to prevent an Allied invasion of southern France.
November 11, 1942 North African Armistice The Vichy French representative for North Africa, Admiral Jean-Francois Darlan, arranged an armistice with the Allies which ended the fighting in Morocco and Algeria. Admiral Darlan also helped the Allied governments to gain control over French West Africa, which eliminated the threat to Allied convoys operating along the African coast.
November 17, 1942 Reorganization of Vichy French Government Marshal Henri-Phillipe Petain appointed Pierre Laval his successor, which reflected increasing German control over the Vichy French government. Laval received the power to make laws and issue decrees.
November 27, 1942 Scuttling of French Fleet in Toulon French crews sank their warships at anchor in Toulon to prevent these ships from falling under German control. The French fleet was the world's fourth largest navy in 1939 and most units were stationed in Toulon.
December 1, 1942 Darlan's Assumption of Control over French North Africa With the support of the American and British governments, Admiral Jean-Francois Darlan assumed authority as the Chief of State in French North Africa.
December 2, 1942 First Self-Sustaining Nuclear Reaction Scientists working on the Argonne Project at the University of Chicago achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction. This experiment marked the feasibility of harnessing nuclear energy for weapons and commercial purposes.
December 24, 1942 Assassination of Darlan Admiral Jean-Francois Darlan, Chief of State in French North Africa, was killed by an assassin. Due to his ties with the Vichy French government, Admiral Darlan was not a popular appointment with the Free French and his death avoided political controversy in the Allied camp. General Henri Giraud succeeded Admiral Darlan as the new Chief of State in French North Africa.

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