Decmeber, 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan; China declares war on Japan later in December.
War in the Philippines begins with Japanese air attacks; much of the American bomber force is destroyed on the ground at Clark Field.
Japan invades Malaya (today known as Malaysia); Japanese aircraft sink a British battleship and a battle cruiser off the coast of Malaya. Japan takes Guam and Wake Island in the central Pacific. Japan invades Hong Kong; British forces surrender. In the Philippines: Japanese forces take Manila;
American and Filipino troops withdraw to Bataan peninsula. January, 1942, Japan invades Burma. Malaya and the Solomon Islands fall. Rabaul, on New Britain island north of New Guinea, becomes an important Japanese base.
February, 1942, in the first U.S. carrier offensive of the war, air raids are launched on Japanese bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.
Japan invades Singapore; British surrender. Japan overruns Dutch East Indies
FDR announces that, by Executive Order, Pacific Coast Japanese Americans will be relocated to internment camps.
During the course of the war, over 17,000 Japanese Americans volunteer and fight for the U.S. in Europe.
FDR orders MacArthur out of the Philippines. Battle of the Java Sea in Indonesia: Japan destroys Dutch-American naval force. March, 1942, Japan takes Indonesia and the Dutch East Indies Japan invades New Guinea. MacArthur leaves the Philippines. April, 1942, American and Filipino forces on Bataan surrender.
Bataan Death March: Over 12 days, Japanese troops force captured American and Filipino troops to walk 60 miles without food or water to prison camps. Approximately 1,000 Americans die during the march.
Surprise U.S. air raids on Tokyo led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle.
May, 1942, American and Filipino forces on Corregidor in the Philippines surrender. Battle of the Coral Sea: In the first Japanese defeat of the war, American forces sink a Japanese carrier and badly damage two others heading for New Guinea. Japan completes capture of Burma and reaches India.
VT-6 on the deck of Enterprise, prior to launch at Midway.
June, 1942, Battle of Midway: In what is later seen as the "turning point" of the Pacific war, American carrier aircraft sink all four of the Japanese navy's major aircraft carriers along with a cruiser. (Japan faced a critical shortage of experienced pilots for the rest of the war.)
March, 1943, Battle of Battle of the Bismarck Sea: Americans sink eight Japanese transports and four destroyers bound for New Guinea.
June, 1943, Battle of the Philippine Sea: American naval forces destroy three Japanese aircraft carriers and 450 aircraft during the invasion of Saipan.
October, 1943, Battle of Leyte Gulf: In the largest naval battle of the Pacific War, American forces destroy much of the remaining Japanese navy. The first kamikaze air attacks occur during this battle.