About the seriesResourcesVeterans History ProjectFor educatorsPurchase The WarContact us
At HomeAt WarThe WitnessesSearch & Explore
Life in the InfantryFace of BattleTimelineFighting for Democracy
Luverne, Minnesota
1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
January Calling for a segregated unit, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt reverses his policy and changes Japanese-Americans from 4-C (enemy aliens) to 1-A (fit for combat). The 442nd Regimental Combat Team would become the most decorated unit in U.S. history.
January 14-24

At the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announce that only an unconditional surrender will be accepted from the Axis Powers.

January 31

German Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus surrenders at Stalingrad. The war in the East has turned.

February 14

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel sends his Panzer units against the untested U.S. forces in North Africa. The Americans are routed and the Germans pour through the Kasserine Pass.

March 2-3

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea is fought for control of New Guinea. The decisive American victory forces the Japanese to re-enforce its troops by submarine — a defensive strategy employed to prevent the continued loss of transports and warships. The battle removes a threat to General Douglas MacArthur's invasion plans.

April 17

A listening post in the Aleutian Islands intercepts a radio transmission that Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto will be touring bases in the South Pacific.

April 18

Acting upon the decoded message, U.S. P-38 Lightning pilots intercept the bomber carrying Yamamoto and shoot it down. Japan's most popular military leader is killed.

May 12

The Axis powers surrender in Tunisia. North Africa is now under Allied control.

May 21

Tokyo announces the death of Admiral Yamamoto to a shocked nation.

May 30

All organized Japanese resistance ends on Attu Island in the Aleutians.

July 2

Lt. Charles B. Hall becomes the first black aviator to shoot down an enemy aircraft. Flying a P-40 as a part of the 99th Fighter Squadron, he downs a Focke Wulf-190 over western Sicily.

July 5

The Soviets win the Battle of Kursk. It is the largest tank battle in history. The German Luftwaffe also loses the air war and dominion of Russian skies for the first time.

July 10

Allied forces land in Sicily and gain control of the Mediterranean. The precursor to the invasion of Italy would take 38 days to secure.

July 19 The Allies bomb Rome.
July 25

The Fascist Grand Council passes a vote of no confidence in Benito Mussolini. He is arrested. Martial law is declared in Italy the next day.

August 14

To prevent further bombing, Rome is declared an open city.

September 3 The Allies land in Southern Italy.
September 8

Italy accepts Allied surrender terms. German troops move to take control of the country.

September 20

Life magazine runs pictures of three dead American soldiers. It is the first time such photos are shown to the American public since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

October 1 The Allies enter Naples.
October 6

Italy declares war on Germany.

October 14 On the second strike against Schweinfurt, 60 Flying Fortresses are shot down and more than 600 men are lost on what is remembered as "Black Thursday."

November 20

The Allies attack Tarawa.
November 18 The Battle of Berlin begins. Bombing of the German capital will continue until March 24, 1944.
November 22-26 At the conference in Cairo, the Allies demand nothing less than the unconditional surrender of Japan.
November 23 Tarawa is secured at high cost. It would take 10 days to compile and release the casualty list. The total is almost as much as the six months of fighting at Guadalcanal.
divider
NextPREVIOUS | 1943 | NEXTNext
At the Casablanca Conference, President Franklin D. Roosevelt confers with France's Henri Giraud and Charles De Gaulle and Britain's Winston Churchill on unconditional surrender terms for the Axis Powers.
National Archives

At the Casablanca Conference, President Franklin D. Roosevelt confers with France's Henri Giraud and Charles De Gaulle and Britain's Winston Churchill on unconditional surrender terms for the Axis Powers.

German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led the 15th Panzer Division in North Africa.
National Archives

German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led the 15th Panzer Division in North Africa.

An American tank rumbles along a dusty desert road toward the Tunisian front in North Africa.
National Archives

An American tank rumbles along a dusty desert road toward the Tunisian front in North Africa.
A Tarawa beach is littered with dead bodies and wrecked equipment.
National Archives

A Tarawa beach is littered with dead bodies and wrecked equipment.