World War II in the Pacific
Modern China began with the overthrow of the Ch'ing dynasty in 1912. President Yuan accepted Japanese 21 points of influence. On his death in 1916, the massive country of China was divided among his subordinates and local war lords. International commercial interests had spheres of influence. The battle for national political influence was fought by backing of various coalitions of war lords, specially by Russia and Japan, traditional rivals, each of which wanted to consider China as a puppet state. By the middle 20's, Chaing Kai'shek had thrown off this communist sponsors and Chaing Tso-lin had been murdered by his Japanese backers. Chaing consolidated a national government, albeit with a communist rival; Russia controlled the (outer) Mongolian Peoples Republic; and Japan concentrated power north of the Great Wall.
Japan had started three previously victorious wars: Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895
obtained Formosa and the Pescadores. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 gained
Port Arthur and Korea. First World War gained the former German colony
on the China coast and islands in the north Pacific and 21 point concessions from
China. The imperial military, not under the parliamentary Diet, occupied
Manchuria and governed it as the puppet state of Manchukuo. Japan was to start
two more wars in the next few years.
Jan 7 . US protests Japanese aggression in Manchuria.
Jan 29. Japs raid and bomb Shanghai, profess "destiny".
Feb18. Japanese declare Manchuria to be Manchukuo, a ward of Japan.
Feb . Japan occupies Jehol province in China; to be annexed to Manchukuo.
Feb 24. League of Nations calls for Japan to retire from Manchuria.
Chaing attacks communist province of Kiangsi.
Long March of communists from Kiangsi
More of northeast China is occupied by Japanese.
Mao Tse-tung emerges a leader from Long March, 6000 miles.
Feb 26. Attempted coup gains military increased power in Japanese government.
Chiang Kai-shek declares Japan is at war with China.
Dec . Sian agreement ends civil war between communists and nationalists in China.
June 7 . Formal start of Sino-Japanese War by staged attack on Marco Polo bridge in Peking.
July 28. Peking occupied.
Quick victories in northern China.
Nov . Take Shanghai in eastern China.
Dec 13. Japanese "Rape of Nanking" - 200,000 murdered - shocks the world.
Fall . Japanese advance up Yangtze River in east central China
May . Japanese link northern and eastern conquests of China.
July 11. USSR-Japan clash.
Russian troops defeat Japanese incursion at Nomonhaniu
Sep 3 . War declared in Europe.
June 24. Japanese pressure Vichy for French Indochina, start build up of troops for invasion of southeast Asia.
Aug 27. U.S. passes selective service
Japan occupies coastal cities of southern China and southern French Indo-China.
For Japan to gain control the population of China required the resources of the East Indies. The US had suspended strategic trade with Japan. The western powers were involved in a European war. The United State was gearing up its military that would soon put Japan at a disadvantage. Japan felt the time to take the East Indies and Indochina was now. The goal was destroy the retaliatory capabilities of the U.S., British, and Dutch navies and to establish a defensive ring of fortified islands. This was to take six months. After that, a settlement could be established to retain the conquests. Then, Japan could return to the war to take China and complete her "destiny" to control the orient.
Jan 17. Koh Chang naval fight between French and Thai
July 26. MacAuthur to head US forces in the Far East.
Oct 5 . U.S. organized reserve called to active duty by year-end.
Nov 25. Japanese convoy of war and troop ships sighted on way to East Indies.
Nov 26. Strike fleet departs Japanese waters for Pearl Harbor.
Dec 4 . Invasion fleets set sail for Malaya and Thailand.
Dec 7 . (U.S. time) Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Midway, Wake Island. Simultaneously,
Dec 8 . (Tokyo time) Japanese attack Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaya, Philippines
Dec 8 . U.S. declares a State of War exists with the Empire of Japan.
Dec 9 . (Tokyo time) Japanese Imperial Rescript declares a State of War with the US and UK.
Dec 9 . Japs sink Repulse and Prince of Wales off Malaya. 2-1/2 min video
Dec 11. German/Italian axis declares war on U.S.
Dec 11. U.S., others respond with war on Germany and Italy.
|Dec 1941 - -||. . . Japan Sweeps . . .|
|27Nov41||Japanese fleets depart to attack east and invade west Pacific|
|07Dec41||Japan raids Pearl Harbor, Midway, Wake Island, takes Guam|
|07Dec41||Japan Declares War. Bombs Philippines|
|07Dec41||Japan invades Siam, Maylaya, Hong Kong|
|08Dec41||Japan takes Gilbert Islands|
|09Dec41||Japan sinks Repulse, Prince of Wales|
|10Dec41||Japan takes Guam, Makin, Tarawa.|
|10Dec41||Japan lands on Luzon, P.I.|
|11Dec41||Wake Island defended.|
|11Dec41||Japan invades Burma|
|16Dec41||Japan invades North Borneo|
|19Dec41||Japan invade Mindanao, Philippines|
|22Dec41||Japan main landing on Luzon. Philippines|
|23Dec41||Japan bombs Rangoon, Burma: 2,000 killed.|
|23Dec41||Japan invades Wake Island|
|25Dec41||Hong Kong surrenders|
|31Dec41||Japan occupies Manila|
|- - 1942 - -||. . . Holding Actions . . .|
|11Jan42||Japan invades Dutch East Indies|
|24Jan42||Battle of Makassar Strait|
|19Feb42||Battle of Badoeng Strait|
|19Feb42||Japan bombs Darwin, Australia|
|27Feb42||Battle of Java Sea|
|13Mar42||Japan lands in Solomons|
|05Apr42||Japan raids Ceylon, Indian Ocean|
|18Apr42||Doolittle Raid on Tokyo|
|7-8 May||Battle of Coral Sea|
|08May42||Corregidor falls, Philippines surrendered|
|4-6Jun42||Battle of Midway|
|07Jun42||Japanese take Attu, Aleutians|
|07Aug42||Marines land at Guadalcanal|
|09Aug42||Battle of Savo Island|
|19Aug42||Raid on Dieppe|
|23Aug42||Battle for Stalingrad starts|
|24Aug42||Battle of Eastern Solomons|
|26Aug42||Japan lands at Milne Bay, New Guinea|
|05Sep42||Japan evicted at Milne Bay New Guinea|
|11Oct42||Battle of Cape Esperance|
|25Oct42||Battle of Santa Cruz|
|08Nov42||Allied invasion of North Africa.|
|12-15Nov||Naval Battles of Guadalcanal|
|30Nov42||Battle of Tassafaronga|
|- - 1943 - -||. . . The End of the Beginning . . .|
|02Jan43||Buna taken on N. coast of New Guinea.|
|31Jan43||Germany surrenders army at Stalingrad|
|09Feb43||Guadalcanal declared secure|
|22Feb43||Kasserine Pass, Tunisia|
|2-4Mar43||Battle of Bismarck Sea|
|26Mar43||Battle of the Komandorski Islands (Alaska)|
|18Apr43||Yamamoto shot down by P-38's.|
|11May-30Jun||US retakes Attu, Aleutians.|
|21Jun43||New Georgia, Solomons|
|5-17Jul43||Kursk tank battle|
|09July43||Allies invade Sicily|
|05Aug43||Germany expelled from Russia|
|06Aug43||Battle of Vella Gulf, Solomons|
|00Oct43||VAdm Fletcher becomes Commander, North Pacific under Nimitz.|
|01Nov43||Marines land on Bougainville, Solomons|
|05Nov43||Sara, Princeton raid Rabaul to protect Empress Augusta Bay|
|21Nov43||Makin and Tarawa, Gilbert Islands.|
|24-26Dec||Battle of North Cape. Scharnhorst sunk while on convoy raid.|
|26Dec43||Cape Gloucester, Solomons -- 1st Marines invade New Britain continuing Operation Cartwheel to isolate Rabaul.|
|- - 1944 - -||. . . the Long Road to Victory . . .|
|29Jan44||Army lands in Admiralty Islands.|
|31Jan44||Marines land on Marshall Islands.|
|12Feb44||Zionist Menachem Begin begins to blowup British in Palestine.|
|18Feb44||Massive naval air raid on Truk, Carolines.|
|19Feb44||Marines land on Eniwetok Island.|
|15Mar44||Japan invades India.|
|22Mar44||US lands at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea|
|04Jun44||Allies enter Rome|
|15Jun44||B-29s bomb Japan from China|
|19Jun44||Japanese carrier fleet defeated in Philippine Sea, "Turkey Shoot"|
|25July44||Breakout from Hedgerows, Normandy|
|15Aug44||Allies invade southern France.|
|22Aug44||Japanese retreat from India|
|25Aug44||Liberation of Paris|
|15Sep-13Oct||Invasion of Peleliu, Palaus|
|17Sep-26Sep||A Bridge Too Far|
|20Oct44||US Landing on Leyte, Philippines|
|23Oct-26Oct||Japanese battle fleet destroyed at Leyte Gulf.|
|24Nov44||Start B-29 raids on Japan from Tinian|
|28Nov44||Antwerp port opened|
|15Dec44||Landing on Mindoro, Philippines|
|16Dec44||Battle of the Bulge|
|- - 1945 - -||. . . the War is Concluded . . .|
|09Jan45||Landing on Luzon|
|16Jan45||Battle of Bulge, Allies link up.|
|4-11Feb||Yalta. USSR to enter Pacific War|
|13Feb45||Fire bomb Dresden|
|09Mar45||Fire bomb Tokyo|
|21Mar45||Mandalay, Burma regained.|
|22Mar-23Mar||Patton & Montgomery cross Rhine|
|22Mar45||Arab League declares war on Axis|
|12Apr45||FDR dies, Truman President.|
|10Jun45||Australians invade Borneo|
|30Jun45||Luzon declared secure [fighting continued]|
|16July45||Atomic bomb test Alamagordo, NM|
|08Aug45||USSR invades Manchuria.|
|02Sep45||Signing on USS Missouri|
|- - - - - - -|
|24Sep49||USSR atomic bomb.|
|25Jun50||North Korea attacks South Korea.|
|01Nov52||U.S. hydrogen bomb.|
|22Nov'55||USSR hydrogen bomb.|
Return to: WW2 Menu
Daily : Pre-War
1941 , Countdown , Pearl Harbor , Dec'41
1942 -- Jan , Feb , March , April , May , June , July , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
1943 -- Jan , Feb ,
1944 -- Jan ,
1945 -- Jan , Feb , March , April , May , June , July , Aug , Sep , Oct - Dec , 1946
About this page: Chronology - World War II, the Pacific War, key events.
Last updated on July 4, 2001
Contact us at