The end of the year is often a time for reflection and looking hopefully forward to a new year. 75 years ago, as the end of the year approached, people were reflecting on the great conflict that their country was embroiled in. In the midst of World War II people were focused on the victories, the losses, the gains, and the sacrifices made. The December 31st edition of the Shakopee Argus-Tribune provides us with a list of significant events of 1942 to help us reflect on our past. As we reflect on the passing of 2017 let us also take a look at what weighed most significantly on the minds of Americans in 1942.
Information was added to help clarify some of the details listed in the paper. It should also be noted that the information presented by the paper does not always match more recent reporting of these events.
Events of World War II
1st– Hitler takes command of retreating Nazi army on Moscow front.
2nd– Japanese forces take control of naval bases in the Philippine cities of Manila and Cavite.
11th– Japan invades the Netherlands East Indies.
12th– Japan invades the Dutch East Indies
19th– Japan takes the port at Burma, present day Myanmar.
23rd– Australia calls on the U. S. to help fend off Japanese forces.
25th– Dutch and American forces take 33 Japanese ships in the Makassar strait.
26th– American Expeditionary Forces land in North Ireland.
31st– Malaya falls and Japan drives forward into Singapore.
3rd– Nazis rush air and tank reinforcements to the battlefront in southern Russia.
4th– American Expeditionary Force gives aid to the Far East Allies in the Asiatic-Pacific theatre.
6th– A key oil town in Borneo, an island in Asia, is captured by Japan.
13th– Hitler’s fleet escapes from Brest, Belarus and retreats to Kiel, Germany.
15th– Singapore falls to Japan.
16th– Dutch forces destroy 100 million dollar oil fields on the island of Sumatra.
19th– Japan drops first bombs on Darwin, Australia. The Battle of Darwin was Japan’s largest attack since Pearl Harbor and was the largest single attack made on Australia by a foreign power.
20th– Japanese forces land on Timor Island.
21st– A Dutch and American air fleet launches an attack on Japanese ships either causing damage to or sinking 19.
28th– British parachutists and Commandos invade a radar array in northern France.
1st– The Japanese 2nd Division unloads 50 transports at Merak, Java where they are invading.
3rd– Archibald Wavell is dropped as the chieftain of the Allied forces.
7th– Japan invades New Guinea at two sectors, the regions of Lae and Salamau.
14th– American forces land in Australia.
17th– MacArthur and aides escape from Philipines, where they were surrounded by Japanese forces, and land in Australia.
19th– A Japanese invasion fleet headed to Australia is defeated by American forces.
25th– U. S. Navy raids Makin island, a Japanese seaplane base and Japan’s easternmost line of defense.
27th– Chinese destroy a trap in Burma relieving British forces.
29th– British Commandos wreck a Nazi-held St. Nazaire port.
1st– Hand-to-hand combat with Japanese forces occurs in Bataan.
4th– U. S. Navy admits that three warships were sunk by Japanese planes.
8th– Axis desert forces move against British forces in Libya.
9th– Bataan falls. 36,000 U. S. soldiers are taken prisoner.
10th– British-Indian self-rule parley collapses.
13th– Pierre Laval named vice premier of France.
16th– Royal Air Force blitz on German industrial centers goes into its fifth day.
18th– Tokyo bombed by U. S. Air Force, referred to as the Doolittle Raid.
22nd– Commandos raid France at Boulogne and rout the Nazis.
30th– Royal Air Force bombs Paris industries.
1st– Hitler and Mussolini meet at Salzburg with the focus of discussion being Germany’s campaign against Russia. Japan is not included in the meeting.
5th– British forces backed by U. S. forces occupy Madagascar in order to prevent Japan capturing Madagascar’s ports and to protect Allied shipping lines.
6th– The island of Corregidor, in the Philippines, falls to Japanese forces. 7,000 U. S. troops surrender.
8th– U. S. forces sink 13 Japanese warships in the southwest Pacific.
25th– Allied planes sink an Axis submarine off the coast of Brazil.
27th– Nazis launch an attack on Gazala, Libya in an effort to capture Tobruk.
1st– Nazis are trapped in a Libyan desert. Japanese submarines are sunk in Sydney harbor.
2nd– Nazi industrial city of Essen “smashed” by 1,000 Royal Air Force planes. According to the World War II Database website, the damage dealt by this attack was not significant.
4th– The naval operating base and U. S. Army base at Dutch Harbor in Unalaska, Alaska is bombed twice by Japan.
5th– Japanese forces attack Midway island.
6th– The U. S. Navy smashes the Japanese fleet at Midway Island.
10th– British announce 183,550 casualties during first two years of war ending September 2, 1941 including 48,973 killed and 46,363 wounded.
12th– Japanese forces land in the Aleutian Islands at Kiska Harbor.
21st– Tobruk, a British stronghold held since January 22, 1941 surrenders to Nazi desert fighters.
25th– Nazi General Erwin Rommel drives 60 miles into Egypt; British abandon the Egyptian cities of Solum and Sidi Omar.
1st– Germans capture Sevastopol after eight-month, 25-day siege.
6th– U. S. made General Grant tanks battle Nazis in African war.
8th– Nazi 35,000-ton ship Tirpitz, torpedoed twice by Soviet submarines.
16th– Soviets place German losses for period, May 15-July 15, at 900,000 men. Germany admits their own losses as 399,000 killed in action.
19th– German drive eastward to Stalingrad and southeastward to Rostov slowed by Soviets. Royal Air Force and Russia both bomb the Vulkan submarine yard in Berlin. Most bombs miss their targets.
23rd– One of the largest U. S. convoys to cross the Atlantic reaches North Ireland.
26th– U. S. pilots in action over France, flying British Spitfires. One American-piloted Spitfire shot down by Nazis.
27th-Russian admit Rostov, Gateway to Caucasus, falls after evacuation of troops.
31st– According to U. S. Naval official, 10,000 Japanese soldiers stationed in the Aleutian Islands.
10th– Marines land in the Solomon Islands where Japan was building naval and air bases. U. S. Navy raids Japanese positions at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
14th– German military begins march on Stalingrad.
19th– Ten thousand Allied troops, mostly Canadians, supported by British Commandos and a few score U. S. Rangers raid Dieppe, France, for nine hours. Casualties heavy on both sides. Overhead 1,000 British planes engage the enemy.
21st– Japanese forces attempt to retake Solomon Island positions but are repelled by U. S. marines.
22nd– Fifteen Jugoslavian guerrilla planes bomb Axis garrison and Nazi troop columns west of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
3rd– U. S. pilots down German Focke-Wulf bomber near Iceland, report U. S. military authorities.
4th– Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell’s headquarters in Chungking announces that bomb loaded U. S. fighters hit Japanese forces in five different Chinese zones.
6th– Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Axis forces begin retreating. Allies bomb Axis African sectors.
9th– All 1,600 passengers and crew members saved when 24,289-ton U. S. navy transport Wakefield (formerly luxury liner Manhattan) swept by fire at sea. Wakefield saved and brought to Atlantic port by tugs.
13th– House to house, see-saw battle between Nazis and Russians in progress at Stalingrad.
14th– New type Nazi stratosphere bomber reported flying over England on reconnaissance flights at 40,000 feet.
16th– U. S. 19,900-ton carrier Yorktown reported sunk on June 7 during the Battle of Midway. Vichy French officers reject armistice terms offered by British occupying Madagascar.
23rd– Tobruk attacked from sea while British mobile units raid Axis African positions 500 miles behind lines.
3rd– U. S. Army troops, supported by the Navy, occupy Andreanof group of the Aleutian Islands, between Japan held Kiska and Alaskan Dutch Harbor.
17th– A large force of U. S. troops arrive in the Republic of Liberia.
20th– Total of 530 Axis submarines announced destroyed by British and U. S. Navies since the war began.
23rd– Japanese mining installations in North China bombed by U. S. planes in successful attack.
24th– British start African campaign to drive Axis out of continent.
25th– First U. S. air raid on Hong Kong destroys docks and railroad yards in the region of Kowloon.
26th– Naval officials announce that aircraft carrier, Wasp, sunk off Solomon Islands on September 15. Serious fighting continues on Guadalcanal with heavy Japanese losses. Guadalcanal is an area Japanese forces attempted to claim in order to limit Allied forces supplies and communication.
1st– U. S. Army troops reinforce marines on Guadalcanal. Australian and American forces push Japan back on New Guinea. U. S. air force bombs Japanese forces daily on Aleutian Kiska.
7th– U. S. troops land in French Africa (French Morocco, Algeria) under commander-in-chief Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower to forestall successful Axis invasion which would endanger America.
8th– Vichy French government breaks relations with U. S. for first time since 1778. Nazis retreat to Libyan border.
11th– Axis forces invade unoccupied France; Italians also land on Corsica. Under orders from Admiral Jean Francois Darlan French, North Africa surrenders to U. S. troops. Tunisia continues fighting.
12th– Second naval battle of Solomon Islands begins.
13th– French garrisons in Tunisia reported battling Axis forces landing by sea and air. Admiral Jean Darlan assumes responsibility for French interests in Africa.
16th– U. S. naval authorities announce crushing defeat of Japanese navy in second naval battle of Solomons: 23 ships sunk, 7 damaged, with enemy casualties near the 40,000 mark.
18th– Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain, former prime minister of France, appoints Pierre Laval dictator of Nazi-occupied France.
24th– Russian offensive smashes across Don River, Germans lose 50,000 men in pincer dive.
27th– French scuttle fleet at Toulon, 62 ships sent to bottom of harbor to avoid seizure by Hitler.
29th– Prime Minister Churchill appeals, via radio, to Italian people to overthrow their dictator, sue for peace.
1st– Russia continues to advance in two large-scale offensives. Allied parachutists seize airfield near Tunis.
2nd– U. S. push German forces to the sea in Tunisia. Admiral Jean Darlan assumes African rule in Henri-Philippe Petain’s name.
5th– Pearl Harbor disaster reviewed: 10 ships, floating drydock sunk or damaged; 247 planes destroyed or disabled; 4,575 casualties.
7th– Office of War Information reveals 53,307 casualties in first year of war.
14th– Nazis retreat from stronghold at El Agheila in Libya after a battle with forces from the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
15th– U. S. troops capture Buna from the Japanese, following the fall of Gona, in New Guinea.
17th– Units of Erwin Rommel’s Nazi forces retreating from El Agheila cut off by British in Libya.
1st– Sales of new cars banned pending rationing.
5th– Congress reconvenes to discuss the war. In this session Congress discussed methods of raising money for the war effort, lowering the draft age, providing support to dependents of soldiers, and expanding the power of the President for emergency situations.
6th– War draft of 1942 announced.
10th– Industrialists protest automobile labor-management plan, rejected.
11th– Office of Personnel Management orders halt in private home building.
14th– Donald Nelson, now chief of all war production. He helped to convert commercial production factories into war time factories and identify ways for the military to save money on its materials.
16th– Sumner Welles asks for a Pan-American anti-Axis front at Rio.
19th– Roosevelt asks congress for another 28 ½ billion dollars.
21st– Office of Personnel Management abolished by Donald Nelson.
22nd– South American anti-Axis compact completed.
28th– Nation told 80 Nazi U-boats off East coast.
30th– Price control bill passes. President Franklin Roosevelt’s 60th birthday.
4th– Congress working on loans to China.
5th– Giant Japanese spy ring disclosed on West coast.
10th– House kills so-called “frivolity” in Office of Civilian Defense. The Office of Civilian Defense was intended to help protect civilians, maintain morale, and promote civilian involvement in defense.
16th– U. S. registers nine million more for draft.
25th– Two waves of planes seen over Los Angeles causing an immediate blackout. Anti-air weaponry opened fire over the period of a few hours. This event was later determined to be a false alarm after finding no evidence of an attempted enemy air raid.
28th– Bill to end 40-hour week defeated.
2nd– Automobile rationing begins. Automobile production was often halted and sales were limited to priority cases.
3rd– Army air force now an equal branch of army. The Army Air Force was put under its own control instead of being under the control of the Army Field Forces.
6th– All new and used typewriter sales are halted.
8th– Supreme command of all U. S. naval operations given to Admiral Ernest King.
11th– U. S. fixes used tire price.
12th– House farm bloc kills sub-parity bill.
13th– First wartime lottery since 1918.
24th– U. S. takes over strike-bound Toledo, Peoria and Western railroad. After refusing to let The United States District Court arbitrate on a strike, Franklin Roosevelt seized the railroad from Peoria and Western through executive order.
25th– Charles Lindbergh offered position in Henry Ford’s bomber plant.
27th– U. S. unifies command to end U-boat menace.
1st– Senate defeats ban on 40 hour week.
2nd– All bicycle sales halted.
7th– Plan to halt production of most durable goods.
23rd– Sugar for restaurants and other food services cut by 50 percent.
24th– U. S. opens sedition quiz of suspects. Suspects were brought in and interrogated to determine if they were guilty of sedition.
27th– Thirteen million sign labor questionnaire.
30th– Report three Nazi bids for peace since first of year.
1st– Plans to draft women for war service temporarily abandoned.
2nd– Director of Defense Transportation, Joseph B. Eastman, announces
restriction of competing train and bus service.
4th– National sugar registration for ration books begins, first of four days.
12th– House passes (102-40) increase in pay to $50 for army and marine privates, navy and coast guard apprentice seamen.
16th– Earl Browder, former secretary of the American Communist party, has four-year federal sentence commuted to 14 months already served.
19th– East coast gas rationing to be put on national scale, Roosevelt hints.
26th– Commercial air service for 25 cities, 21 routes, curtailed by Civil Aeronautics board.
27th– Total of 13,600 women apply as candidates for officer’s training school of the Women’s Army Auxiliary corps: WAACs.
28th– On the grounds he is a Communist party member, Harry Bridges, Australian born West coast Congress of Industrial Organizations leader, order deported by Attorney General Francis Biddle.
1st– First eastern statewide surprise blackout held in New Jersey. Blackout drills were done in order to prepare civilians for air raids.
7th– Virtually entire Japanese population of West coast (99,770) moved inland.
9th– William Dudley Pelley, a member of the para-military American fascist organization called the “Silver Shirts”, indicted on charges of sedition by Indianapolis, Indiana grand jury.
18th– Prime Minister Churchill makes third visit with the President of the United States, at Capitol.
23rd– Genealogy magazine editor reveals President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are eighth cousins, once removed- both descended from Mayflower passenger John Cooke.
26th– Naval expansion bill of over 8 ½ billion dollars passed by senate for 1,900,000 tons of ships.
27th– Eight highly trained Nazi saboteurs caught by FBI. Four landed on beach in Florida, other four landed on Long Island. Nazi sub used in operations. Long Island landing effected on June 13, Florida landing on June 17.
1st– Navy’s giant 70-ton patrol bomber, Mars, makes official tests over Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.
8th– Seven-man military commission, appointed by President, begins secret trial of eight Nazi saboteurs in Washington.
10th– Elmer Dais, director of the new Office of War Information, names new assistants, says OWI shall try to give American people an accurate picture of nation’s war activities.
17th– Super-powered troop carrier command announced by Lieutenant General Henry H. Arnold, chief of army air forces.
29th– Henry Ford urges world federation after present war to prevent another “more terrible conflict.”
1st– Local police and FBI agents round more than 80 Japanese, Nazis and Italians in New York city and Philadelphia.
2nd– Charles Lindbergh testifies at sedition trial of William Dudley Pelley, Indianapolis.
8th– Six of eight Nazi saboteurs executed in the electric chair at Washington, D. C. Two others (who turned over state’s evidence) sentenced to prison.
14th– Commemorating first anniversary of Atlantic Charter President sends message to Churchill reaffirming principles for a happier world.
19th– James Bennett Jr., attorney general of New York defeats White House favorite Senator James M. Mead for Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
25th– Pending stabilization of farm prices and wages at present level hinted by the President during press conference.
2nd– John McCloy, assistant secretary of war, says 500,000 American fighting men and technicians are now abroad.
10th– Creation of Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying command, headed by Nancy Harkness Love, announced by war department.
13th– Selective Service Director Major General Hershey says married men with children face draft in 1943.
21st– War Production Board Chairman Donald Nelson forecasts great civilian economy to win war. Japanese sponsored disobedience program in Chicago broken up by FBI.
1st– President Roosevelt ends two-week, secret circle trip of nation.
3rd– Office of Economic Stabilization created by the President to stabilize farm prices, rents, wages and salaries.
7th– United Mine Workers Cincinnati convention votes to withdraw its 500,000 members from Congress of Industrial Organizations.
9th– U. S., Britain announce willingness to give up extra-territorial rights in China. Ethiopia joins United Nations. War Production Board orders all except small gold mines to cease operations. There is a raise in food price.
12th– Department of Justice’s petition for injunction against James C. Petrillo’s ban on commercial recording dismissed by Chicago U. S. District court.
14th– Wendell Wilkie arrives in Washington to report to President Roosevelt on his 31,000-mile trip. American Federation of Labor president William Green re-elected at close of Federation’s convention in Toronto, Canada.
21st– 4,000 experienced miners undergo a furlough because of shortages in copper, lead, molybdenum, and tungsten.
22nd– Draft bill rider by Senator Josh Lee (Democratic) Oklahoma, banning sale of alcoholic beverages in or near military reservations defeated by Senate: 49-25.
26th– In a New York broadcast Wendell Willkie, reporting on his globe-circling trip, renews his demand for a second front in Europe.
27th– War Manpower Commission Director McNutt announces plan to freeze all necessary skilled dairy, livestock, and poultry workers.
29th– War Secretary Stimson announces army trucks now using all of the 1,671 mile Alcan highway. The Alcan highway was built to connect Alaska to the United States through Canada.
1st– U. S. takes over all short-wave broadcastings for use by the Overseas Division of the Office of War Information.
2nd– To relieve growing coal shortage in West, United Mine Workers executive committee authorizes seven-day work week.
4th– Republicans make new gains: 19 in Senate, 42 in the House of Represenatives.
9th– President scores France’s chief of government, Pierre Laval, and expresses regret that Laval forced diplomatic break of U. S. and France.
14th– Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, a renowned airplane pilot, and crew members rescued. His crew was sent to the Pacific to inspect military equipment and personnel but they ended up getting lost.
18th– President orders registration of 600,000 youths who reached 18th birthday after July 1st.
20th– Women’s Auxiliary Reserve in the Coast Guard termed “SPARs.” SPARs is a contraction of the group’s motto “Sempur Paratus, Always Ready.”
24th– Saboteurs sentenced in Chicago: Men get death, women get 25 years in jail.
26th– All war industries continue working while nation celebrates Thanksgiving.
27th– Virginia conference of the Methodist Church South demands through their official organ that song “Praise the Lord” be eliminated from radio broadcasts.
28th– New ration book (Number 2) to be issued toward end of year, or first part of 1943.
1st– Gas rationing begins on nation-wide basis.
2nd– Governor Herbert H. Lehman of New York becomes director of foreign relief and rehabilitation.
4th– President orders Works Progress administration abolished.
7th– Harrison E. Spangler, Iowa, named chairman of Republican party.
11th– Approximately 660,000 war workers frozen to jobs in Detroit.
15th– Office of Population Affairs orders change in heating oil rationing for North zone.
17th– Leon Henderson, director of Office of Price Administration, announces resignation.
Written by Tony Connors, Curatorial Assistant.
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