Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s - 1940s - 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Years: 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 - 1942 - 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947
January 1 - World War II: The word "United Nations" is first officially used to describe the Allied pact.
January 2 - World War II: Manila is captured by Japanese forces.
January 6 - Pan American Airlines becomes the first commercial airline to have a flight go around the world.
January 7 - World War II: Siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins
January 11 - World War II: Japan declares war on the Netherlands and invades the Netherlands East Indies.
January 11 - World War II: The Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur.
January 12 - President Franklin Roosevelt creates the National War Labor Board.
January 13 - Henry Ford patents a plastic automobile, which is 30% lighter than a regular car
January 19 - World War II: Japanese forces invade Burma.
January 20 - World War II: Nazis at the Wannsee conference in Berlin decide that the "final solution to the Jewish problem" is relocation.
January 25 - World War II: Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom
January 26 - World War II: The first American forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
February 9 - World War II: Top United States military leaders hold their first formal meeting to discuss American military strategy in the war.
February 9 - Daylight-saving time goes into effect in the United States.
February 15 - World War II: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces.
February 19 - World War II: About 150 Japanese warplanes attack Darwin, Australia
February 19 - World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066 allowing the United States military to define areas as exclusionary zones. These zones affect the Japanese on the West Coast, and Germans and Italians primarily on the East Coast.
February 20 - Lieutenant Edward O'Hare becomes America's first World War II flying ace
February 22 - World War II: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines as American defense of the nation collapses.
February 24 - Propaganda: The Voice of America begins broadcasting.
February 27 - World War II: the USS Langley, the first United States aircraft carrier, is sunk by Japanese warplanes.
March 5 - Felipe González Márquez, Prime Minister of Spain
March 8 - World War II: The Dutch surrender to Japanese forces on Java.
March 8 - World War II: Japan captures Rangoon, Burma.
March 11 - World War II: General Douglas MacArthur abandons Corregidor
March 19 - The Thoroughbred Racing Association is established in Chicago, Illinois.
March 23 - World War II: In the Indian Ocean, Japanese forces capture the Anadaman Islands.
March 26 - World War II: In Poland, Auschwitz receives its first female prisoners.
March 28 - World War II: In occupied France, United Kingdom naval and commando forces destroy the dry docks at the German-occupied port of St. Nazaire.
April 3 - World War II: Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula. Bataan fell on April 9 and the Bataan Death March began.
April 27 - World War II: A national plebiscite is held in Canada on the issue of conscription.
May 6 - World War II: On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese.
May 8 - World War II: The Battle of the Coral Sea comes to an end. This is the first time in the naval history where two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other's fleets.
May 12 - World War II: Battle of Kharkov - In the eastern Ukraine, the Soviet Army initiates its first major offensive of the war. During the battle the Soviets will take the city of Kharkov back from the German Army.
May 15 - World War II: In the United States, a bill creating the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.
June 4-7 - World War II: The Battle of Midway
June 9 - World War II: The US Philippine Department surrenders to Japan
July 1 - July 27 - World War II: the First Battle of El Alamein
July 9 - Holocaust: Anne Frank's family goes into hiding in an attic above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
July 13 - World War II: German U-Boats sink three more merchant ships in Gulf of St. Lawrence.
July 16 - Holocaust: On order from the Vichy France government headed by Pierre Laval, French police officers round-up 13,000-20,000 Jews and imprison them in the Winter Velodrome.
July 18 - World War II: The Germanss test fly the Messerschmitt Me-262 using only its jets for the first time.
July 19 - World War II: Battle of the Atlantic - German Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz orders the last U-boats to withdraw from their United States Atlantic coast postions in response to an effective American convoy system.
July 22 - Holocaust: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins.
August 7 - World War II: Battle of Guadalcanal begins - US Marines initiate the first American offensive of the war with a landing on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
August 8 - World War II: In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs are executed (two others were cooperative and received life imprisonment instead).
August 9 - Indian leader, Mohandas Gandhi is arrested in Bombay by British forces.
August 19 - World War II: The Dieppe Raid - Allied forces raid Dieppe in France.
September 24 - Andrée Borrel and Lise de Baissac became the first female SOE agents to be parachuted into occupied France.
October 3 - The first V-2 rocket (A4 Rocket) is launched into space in Peenemünde, Germany.
October 9 - Statute of Westminster Adoption Act formalizes Australian autonomy.
October 11 - World War II: Battle of Cape Esperance - On the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, United States Navy ships intercept and defeat a Japanese fleet on their way to reinforce troops on the island.
October 23 - November 4 - World War II: the Second Battle of El Alamein
October 28 - The Alaska Highway is completed.
October 29 - Holocaust: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews.
November 3 - World War II: Second Battle of El Alamein ends - German forces under Erwin Rommel are forced to retreat during the night.
November 8 - World War II: Operation Torch - United States and United Kingdom forces land in French North Africa.
November 10 - World War II: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France following French Admiral Jean Francois Darlan agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
November 12 - World War II: Battle of Guadalcanal begins - A naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American forces.
November 13 - World War II: Battle of Guadalcanal - Aviators from the USS Enterprise sink the Japanese heavy cruiser BB- Hiei.
November 15 - World War II: Battle of Guadalcanal ends - Although the United States Navy suffered heavy losses, it was able to retain control of Guadalcanal.
November 19 - World War II: Battle of Stalingrad - Soviet Union forces under General Georgi Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR's favor.
November 21 - The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) is celebrated (the "highway" was not usable by general vehicles until 1943, however).
November 22 - World War II: Battle of Stalingrad - The situation for the German attackers of Stalingrad seems desperate during the Soviet counter-attack Operation Uranus and General Friedrich von Paulus sends Adolf Hitler a telegram saying that the German 6th army is surrounded.
November 28 - In Boston, Massachusetts, a fire in the Cocoanut Grove night club kills 491 people.
December 2 - Manhattan Project: Below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiate the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (a coded message, "The Italian navigator has landed in the new world" was then sent to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
December 4 - Holocaust: In Warsaw, two Christian women, Zofia Kossak and Wanda Filipowicz risk their lives by setting up the Council for the Assistance of the Jews.
DDT first used as a pesticide
Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
Year in topic
1942 in art
1942 in film
Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman
1942 in literature
1942 in music
"White Christmas" - Bing Crosby
1942 in sports
1942 in television
April 13 - The FCC minimum programming time required of TV stations is cut from 15 hours to four hours a week during the war.
January 1 - Gennadi Sarafanov, cosmonaut
January 3 - John Thaw, actor (+ 2002)
January 5 - Maurizio Pollini, pianist
January 5 - Charlie Rose, talk show host
January 7 - Paul Revere, singer and musician
January 8 - Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist.
January 8 - Yvette Mimieux, actress
January 8 - George Passmore, artist, half of Gilbert and George
January 11 - Clarence Clemens, musician (E Street Band)
January 13 - Richard Moll, actor
January 14 - Stig Engström, actor
January 15 - Charo, singer, actress
January 17 - Muhammad Ali, boxer
January 17 - Ulf Hoelscher, violinist
January 19 - Michael Crawford, singer, actor
January 31 - Derek Jarman, director, writer (+ 1994)
February 1 - Terry Jones, actor, writer ("Monty Python's Flying Circus")
February 2 - Graham Nash, musician
February 5 - Roger Staubach, Football Hall of Famer
February 9 - Carole King, singer, composer
February 11 - Archie Andrews, (comic book character).
February 11 - Leon Haywood, vocalist/keyboardist.
February 11 - Tony Colton, rock producer.
February 11 - Otis Clay, gospel/R&B-singer.
February 12 - Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel
February 13 - Peter Tork, musician/actor.
February 15 - Kim Jong-il, leader of North Korea
February 20 - Phil Esposito, ice hockey player
February 21 - Margarethe von Trotta, actor, film director, writer
February 24 - John Neumeier, choreographer
February 24 - Joseph Lieberman, politician, candidate for U.S. Vice President
February 28 - Brian Jones, musician ("The Rolling Stones") (+ 1969)
March 1 - Gabriel Hudon, FLQ terrorist
March 2 - John Irving, author
March 2 - Lou Reed, singer and guitarist
March 5 - Felipe González Márquez, politician (+ 1942)
March 7 - Tammy Faye Bakker, evangelist
March 7 - Michael Eisner, President of The Walt Disney Company
March 13 - Dave Cutler, software engineer
March 17 - John Wayne Gacy, serial killer
March 23 - Walter Rodney, historian, political figure
March 25 - Aretha Franklin, singer
March 26 - Erica Jong, author
March 27 - Michael York, actor
March 29 - Stingray Davis, musician (P-Funk)
April 3 - Marsha Mason, actress
April 3 - Wayne Newton, singer
April 5 - Peter Greenaway, film maker
April 5 - Pascal Couchepin, member of the Swiss Federal Council
April 6 - Barry Levinson, producer, director
April 14 - Valentin Lebedev, cosmonaut
April 26 - Bobby Rydell, singer
May 7 - Gerhard Polt, cabaretist
May 9 - John Ashcroft, United States Attorney General
May 12 - Ian Dury, rock star (+ 2000)
May 17 - Taj Mahal, singer, guitarist
May 18 - Albert Hammond, musician, composer
May 19 - Gary Kildall, computer programmer (+ 1997)
May 22 - Theodore Kaczynski, neo-luddite terrorist
May 22 - Calvin Simon, musician (P Funk)
May 22 - Volker Canaris, theatre director
May 26 - Levon Helm of The Band
June 10 - Preston Manning, Canadian politician
July 4- His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
July 10 - Pyotr Klimuk, cosmonaut
July 13 - Harrison Ford, Actor/producer
July 15 - Mil Mascaras, "The Man of a Thousand Masks"
July 17 - Tim Brooke-Taylor, radio and TV comedian
July 23 - Myra Hindley, Moors murderess
August 7 - Garrison Keillor, radio host
September 10 - Stephen Jay Gould, American biologist
September 19 - Freda Payne, singer, actress
September 30 - Frankie Lymon, American singer
October 13 - Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys
October 23 - Michael Crichton, author
November 10 - Hans-Rudolf Merz, member of the Swiss Federal Council
November 27 - Jimi Hendrix, rock musician
December 6 - Peter Handke, Austrian novelist
December 7 - Peter Tomarken, game show host
December 9 - Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears linebacker
Unknown date - Moammar Al Qadhafi
January 16 - Carole Lombard, actress
February 19 - Frank Abbandando (executed), Mafia hitman
February 28 - Karel Doorman, Dutch admiral
March 8 - José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban chess player
April 15 - Robert Musil, Austrian novelist (The Man Without Qualities)
3 May - Thorvald Stauning, Prime Minister of Denmark
July 23 - Adam Czerniakow, head of the Judenrat in the Warsaw Ghetto
25 August- His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
November 5 - George M. Cohan US songwriter & entertainer
Ernest Brastins, organizer of Dievturiba
Physics - not awarded
Chemistry - not awarded
Medicine - not awarded
Literature - not awarded
Peace - not awarded
Heads of state in 1942