The World War II Multimedia Database

For the 72 Million


1942 was the only time the Japanese had a chance to win the war. UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt have a “Germany First” policy, but they cannot get the Japanese to cooperate. With the Japanese victories in December 1941 and the first half of 1942, the Allies were hard pressed to supply both the European and the Japanese war effort. Thankfully for the Allies, in June 1942, the Japanese expansion was stopped cold at the Battle of Midway. In the waters around Guadalcanal, the true test of initiative was found. The two navies were often evenly matched; the contest for the land was fought as much on the sea. Meanwhile, US Army General Douglas MacArthur, who had fled the Philippines before it surrendered, moved up the New Guinea coast. He was initially using Australian soldiers because he had no American units. By the end of 1942, the massive industrial capacity of the United States was beginning to be felt. Yet the fighting would be long and bitter.

The United States, hard pressed in the Pacific, could not mount operations in Europe until November 1942. America planned to build a huge strategic air force to attack Germany herself; by the end of 1942, dozens of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers arrived in England to begin daylight raids. The British attempted a massive raid on the French coast at Dieppe in August 1942. The Germans also face defeat in North Africa at the hands of the British as the first American troops enter combat in Europe. If the Allies fail to gain control of the Atlantic, they will not be able to attack anywhere.

Meanwhile on the Eastern Front, the Germans, expecting a summer of large gains, come to the city on the Volga River bearing the name of Soviet Leader Josef Stalin and engage in a bitter campaign to take it. The Soviets grind the 6th Army down as it approaches Stalingrad, and surround it by the end of the year. As 1943 dawns, Soviet General Vasily Chuikov’s 62nd Army will starve the Nazis to death, as Luftwaffe Field Marshall Hermann Goering cannot supply them by air. Both armies will pile up casualties in the hundreds of thousands.

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