Jan 1 In the Caucasus region, Germany's 1st Panzer Army retreats to avoid a cut off by Soviet forces from the northeast.
Jan 4 Seven Soviet armies launch "Operation Ring," against the Germans at Stalingrad. It should be obvious to Hitler that he had grossly underestimated the Soviet Union's ability to defend itself. The German army still has a lot of power, but all that Hitler can hope for is the spending of a vast amount of money and men in continuing to occupy the Soviet Union. Finland's government already sees Germany as losing the war and is interested in getting out as soon as it can.
Jan 18 A six-day offensive, Operation Spark (Iskra), establishes a land bridge to Leningrad.
Jan 18 People in Warsaw's Jewish Ghetto rise up and try to defend themselves.
Jan 19 Romania's foreign minister, Mihai Antonrscu, asks Mussolini to start negotiations with the Allies.
Jan 20 Chile's government sees the handwriting on the wall. It severs diplomatic relations with Germany, Italy and Japan.
Jan 21 Italian occupation authorities on French territory refuse to deport Jews.
Jan 23 World War II: British forces capture Tripoli from the Nazis.
Jan 24 Roosevelt, Churchill and two French leaders, Henri Giraud and Charles DeGaulle conclude a ten-day meeting at Casablanca and decide that the war must end with unconditional surrender of enemy nations.
Jan 24 Hitler orders troops at Stalingrad to fight to the death.
Jan 27 The United States makes its first bombing raid on Berlin without British bombers.
Jan 28 Japan's Prime Minister Tojo tells parliament of his government's intention to recognize the independence of Burma and the Philippines and to aid India in its liberation from British rule.
Jan 30 The British bomb Berlin in daylight for the first time.
Jan 31 German troops at Stalingrad surrender, including their commander, Field Marshal Paulus and 16 other generals. The Soviet offensive in the southern region, begun on December 17 and known as "Little Saturn," ends. Since December 11, Italy has suffered 84,830 killed.
Feb 1 Wanting to make their government in Norway appear more Norwegian, Germany's authority in Norway appoints the unpopular fascist leader, Vidkun Quisling, prime minister.
Feb 3 Hitler's government cannot hide its defeat at Stalingrad. German radio announces three days of mourning for the German troops who died there. A government directive orders journalists to put a special spin on the loss. Rather than the result of Hitler's mistakes, the defeat at Stalingrad is described "as an example of the highest heroism and complete willingness to sacrifice for the victory of the German people."
Feb 7 Across the land bridge to Leningrad, within range of Germany artillery, a Soviet train arrives at a bomb-damaged station in Leningrad. People weakened by hunger and hardship are jubilant over the breakthrough.
Feb 8 Japan ends its three-day evacuation of Guadacanal.
Feb 16 Three students paint with tar on a university building and other buildings in Munich, the words "Freedom" and "Down with Hitler." Some copycat signs are posted by others elsewhere in the city.
Feb 17 Dutch churches protest persecution of Jews.
Feb 20 In the United States, studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.
Feb 22 In Munich, five students and a professor have been reported by those viewing their graffiti and leaflet-making as treason, and on this day the six are beheaded.
Mar 2 Germany begins to transport Dutch Jews to the Sobibor concentration camp.
Mar 5 The Japanese have decided to take 100,000 troops from China and Japan and put them on New Guinea. At the five-day Battle of the Bismarck Sea, north of New Guinea, much of Japan's navy is destroyed. According to the Australians, 2,890 Japanese soldiers and sailors have been killed. About 800 Japanese soldiers make it to New Guinea.
Mar 13 Plans by army officers to assassinate Hitler when he visits army headquarters at Smolensk fail. Hitler has arrived with too many SS body guards. During Hitler's return trip by air, a bomb in a package fails to explode.
Apr 12 The Germans announce their discovery of a grave in Katyn forest containing the bodies of some 4,100 murdered Polish military officers.
Apr 19 Germans launch a large-scale attack on Jews fighting street by street in the Warsaw ghetto.
May 13 British and US forces defeat the German and Italian forces in North Africa.
May 15 The uprising since January in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto is defeated.
Jun 21 The war between Germany and the Soviet Union is two years-old.
Jul 5-12 Against the Red Army at Kursk, the Germans strike back with their last major offensive on their Eastern Front. The battle is the largest armored engagement of all time. The Soviet position consists of numerous lines of trenches 95 miles deep. They have some 1,300,000 men, 3,600 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces and 2,400 aircraft. The Germans have some 2,700 tanks and assault guns, 1,800 aircraft and 800,000 men. The Germans lose between 50,000 and 57,000 men. Russian casualty figures are a mystery, perhaps around 96,000. The Russians win. The war between Germany and Russia is fairly well decided.
Jul 8 The Gestapo has captured a French resistance leader, Jean Moulin. He refuses to disclose the identities of other resistance members and is tortured to death.
Jul 10 British and US forces land on on the southeast coast of Sicily.
Jul 11 The Germans begin to evacuate Sicily.
Jul 19 Mussolini believes that he needs Germany's protection. He visits Hitler and approves of Germany taking military control over Italy. The US airforce bombs Rome.
Jul 25-26 Mussolini's fascist colleagues have turned against him and speak with king Emanuel III. With this support, the king has had Mussolini arrested. A new government is formed, headed by the conservative military leader, Marshal Pietro Badoglio.
Jul 27-28 Bombing with explosives and incendiaries at Hamburg creates many little fires that unite into a firestorm that kills 30,482, including 5,586 children.
Jul 31 Hitler is still holding on to his siege of Leningrad. For July, casualties from shelling the city add up to 210 killed, and 921 wounded.
Aug 6 Sweden cancels its agreement with Germany about the passage of German soldiers and war material across Sweden to and from Norway.
Aug 6 The former Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, has been working with the Germans in the creation of an army of about 20,000 Bosnian Muslims. Heinrich Himmler, leader of Hitler's SS, writes of these Muslims having "come to us out of hatred for the common Jewish-Anglo-Bolshevik enemy."
Aug 17 Germany's evacuation of Sicily is complete.
Sep 3 In secret with the Allies, the government of Pietro Badoglio signs an unconditional armistice. British and Canadian troops cross from Sicily to Italy at Calabria.
Sep 8 In a radio broadcast, Prime Minister Badoglio announces that hostilities against the Anglo-American forces will cease, wherever they may be. German radio speaks of "treacherous intrigue which for weeks had been enacted by an Italian clique, serfs to Jews and alien to their own people." German forces take over the north and disarm Italian ground units.
Sep 9 US and British forces land at the Gulf of Salerno, just south of Naples, in southern Italy.
Sep 11 German forces occupy Rome.
Sep 12 Germans rescue Mussolini from his prison in the Abruzzi mountains. Germans begin an attack against the Allied forces around Salerno.
Oct 1 British and US forces have pushed northward to Naples.
Oct 1 In China's north, Mao Zedong, guerrilla leader against the Japanese, calls for a reduction in rents. The Communists have been appealing to and organizing peasants and spreading their influence. Meanwhile, government forces under Chiang Kai-shek are angering peasants with dire taxation and price increases that will amount to a multiple of 250 between 1942 and 1944.
Oct 13 Prime Minister Badoglio tells General Eisenhower that "His Majesty the King of Italy has declared war on Germany."
Oct 14 The US Air Force bombs ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt. Sixty of its aircraft are shot down, 599 airmen killed and 40 wounded.
Oct 25 The Japanese open the railway from Burma to Siam, built with British and Commonwealth prisoner-of-war labor.
Nov 3 London says that Finland is an Axis power and the principle of unconditional surrender applies also to Finland.
Nov 5 Prime Minister Tojo, like his ally Adolf Hitler, is engaged in wishful thinking. He speaks to foreign dignitaries at the Greater East Asia Conference, in Tokyo, and states that "The countries of Greater East Asia will cultivate friendly relations with all the countries of the world, and work for the abolition of racial discrimination, the promotion of cultural intercourse and the opening of resources throughout the world, and contribute thereby to the progress of mankind."
Nov 6 The Soviet army has been pushing the Germans back in the Ukraine and has taken Kiev.
Nov 10 Ambassador Litvinov says in Moscow that the principle of unconditional surrender does not include Finland.
Nov 10 The destroyer USS Spence attempts to rescue four Japanese in a raft. With his pistol a Japanese officer kills the other three and then himself.
Nov 20-23 A US force consisting of 17 aircraft carriers, 12 battleships, 8 heavy and 4 light cruisers, 66 destroyers and 36 transports, carrying 35,000 US Marines and part of the Army's 27th Infantry Division, attack the atoll (24 little islands) of Tarawa. It is a point in a drive northward toward Japan. The US loses more than 1,000 killed and 2,200 wounded. The Japanese lose 4,690 killed. On the Japanese side, only 110 survive.
Nov 22-26 President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek meet in Cairo, Egypt. They agree that Japan will be "stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the First World War in 1914," and that "all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China."
Dec 4 Josip Broz Tito, guerrilla war leader and Communist, proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government.
Dec 24 General Eisenhower is made supreme commander of the Allied invasion of western Europe.
Dec 30 Subhash Chandra Bose has announced in Japanese occupied Singapore the creation of a liberated Indian government in exile. The Japanese have given him nominal rule on the Andaman islands (between Burma and India) and there, at Port Blair, Bose raises the flag of Indian independence.
Copyright © 1998-2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.