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WWII Timeline – Spring 1942

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at April – June 1942 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, Spring 1942

April 1942

The first transports of Jews arrived at the Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, which was built and operated by the SS on the outskirts of the city of Lublin in German-occupied Poland.

April 1, 1942

The internment of Japanese Americans began. 

April 3, 1942

The Japanese attacked American and Filipino troops at Bataan.

April 6, 1942

The first U.S. troops arrived in Australia.

April 9, 1942

U.S. forces on Bataan surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese.

April 10, 1942

The Bataan Death March of 60,000 to 80,000 Allied POWs (American and Filipino) began. They were forced to walk sixty to seventy miles under intense heat, with no food or water, and subjected to harsh treatment by the Japanese, to prison camps. They were divided into groups of one hundred and the march took each group about five days to complete. Many thousands perished.

April 18, 1942

Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (later General of the United States Army Air Forces) led the first U.S. bombing attack on Japan off the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. The air raid became known as the Doolittle’s Tokyo Raid.

April 20, 1942

German Jews were banned from using public transportation.

April 23, 1942

German air raids began against cathedral cities in Britain.

April 26, 1942

The Reichstag unanimously passed a decree proclaiming Hitler “Supreme Judge of the German People.” The decree officially allowed Hitler to act outside the laws of the Reich, to override the judiciary and administration in all matters, making him the final decision-maker, with the power of life and death over every German citizen.

April 29, 1942

The Japanese took central Burma.

May 1942

The Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland became operational. It had three gas chambers initially using carbon monoxide piped in from engines, but later was switched over to Zyklon-B gas.

May 1, 1942

The Japanese occupied Mandalay in Burma.

May 3, 1942

The Japanese took Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.

May 4 – 8, 1942

A major naval battle called the “Battle of the Coral Sea” was fought between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces of the United States and Australia. Japan claimed a tactical victory since they sunk the American aircraft carrier USS Lexington, but the Japanese were not able to seize New Guinea and isolate Australia.

The Allies won a strategic victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea. It was the first time in history that two opposing aircraft carrier forces fought only using aircraft without the opposing ships ever sighting each other.

The final resting place of the USS Lexington was found March 4, 2018, more than five hundred miles off the coast of Australia seventy-six years after it was sunk in the battle.

May 5, 1942

The Japanese prepared to invade Midway and the Aleutian Islands.

May 6, 1942

The Japanese took Corregidor Island, an island located at the entrance of Manila Bay in the Philippines, as General Jonathan M. Wainwright unconditionally surrendered all U.S. and Filipino forces in the Philippines to the Empire of Japan.

May 8, 1942

The German summer offensive began in the Crimea.

May 12, 1942

The last U.S. troop holdouts in the Philippines surrendered on Mindanao.

May 15, 1942

Gasoline rationing began in the U.S.

May 18, 1942

An article included on an inside page of the New York Times reported that Nazis had exterminated over 100,000 Jews in the Baltic states, 100,000 in Poland and twice as many in western Russia by machine gun.

May 20, 1942

The Japanese completed the capture of Burma and reached India.

May 26, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel began an offensive against the Gazala Line (west of the port of Tobruk in Libya).

May 27, 1942

Czech resistance underground agents shot Reich Protector/SS Leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. In retaliation, all 152 members of a student group that had displayed anti-Nazi posters in Berlin on May 18, were shot.

May 30, 1942

The British RAF (Royal Air Force) launched a thousand-bomber air raid against Cologne (Köln), Germany.

June 1942 

Gas vans were used in Riga, Latvia’s capital on the Baltic Sea. Victims were sealed inside the vans and choked to death through carbon monoxide poisoning.

June 1, 1942

The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) inflicted heavy damage on Canterbury, England.

Jews in France, Holland, Belgium, Croatia, Slovakia, and Romania were ordered to wear the yellow Star of David badge.

The mass murder of Jews by gassing began at the Auschwitz extermination camp.

June 4, 1942

Reich Protector/SS Leader Reinhard Heydrich, shot May 27 by the Czech resistance in Prague, died of his wounds.

June 4-5, 1942

The British Navy and American Navy stopped the Japanese naval advance in the central Pacific at Midway. The Allied victory was the turning point in the war in the Pacific. Squadrons of U.S. torpedo planes and dive bombers from the USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown attacked and destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers, a cruiser, and damaged another cruiser and two destroyers. The U.S. lost the Yorktown.

June 5, 1942

The Germans overwhelmed Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea on the Black Sea, in a campaign fought by the Axis powers of Germany and Romania against the Soviet Union for control of the port.

The Nazi SS reported 97,000 persons “processed” in mobile gas vans.

June 6-7, 1942

Japanese forces invaded the Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu.

June 9, 1942

The Japanese postponed further plans to take Midway.

June 10, 1942

The Nazis liquidated the Czech town of Lidice as a reprisal for Reinhard Heydrich’s killing in Prague. In addition to the Gestapo and SS killings of Czech agents, resistance members, and anyone suspected of being involved in Heydrich’s death (totaling over 1000 persons), the deportation of 3000 Jews from the ghetto at Theresienstadt for extermination, and the arrest in Berlin of 500 Jews, with 152 executed as a reprisal, Hitler ordered the small Czech mining village of Lidice to be liquidated on the fake charge that it had aided Heydrich’s assassins.

All 172 men and boys over age 16 in the village were shot. The women of Lidice were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, although some deemed to be German-looking were later taken to Nazi orphanages.

The buildings in Lidice were destroyed by explosives until the village was completely leveled and not a trace remained. The soil was planted over and the village’s name removed from all German maps.

June 11, 1942

SS leader Adolf Eichmann met with representatives from France, Belgium and Holland to coordinate deportation plans for Jews.

June 21, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel captured Tobruk in Libya.

June 25, 1942

General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London and took control of U.S. forces in Europe.

June 28, 1942–September 1942

German troops and Axis partners fought their way into Stalingrad (Volgograd) on the Volga River in the Soviet Union by mid-September. They secured the Crimean Peninsula and made their way deep into the Caucasus, an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

June 30, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel reached El Alamein near Cairo, Egypt.

The second gas chamber at Auschwitz known as Bunker II (the white farmhouse) was made operational at Birkenau due to the arrival of a large number of Jews.

June 30 (and July 2), 1942

The New York Times reported via the London Daily Telegraph that over 1,000,000 Jews had been killed by the Nazis. The story may have been the result of information passed to London and Washington in the Summer of 1942 by Swiss representatives of the World Jewish Congress regarding information they received from a German industrialist of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Bataan Death March

The Liquidation of Lidice

Nazi Germany Reichstag

USS Lexington Found

Most recent post from the series:

Winter 1942

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2019


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