Japanese tanks and troops moving toward Manila, Philippine Islands, 22 Dec 1941 (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—Jan. 2, 1942: British and South African troops take Bardia, Libya, after a long siege.
Japanese take Manila in the Philippines as well as Clark Field and Cavite Navy Yard.
Thirty-three members of a German spy ring under Fritz Duquesne are convicted in the largest espionage case in US history.
US Army orders 300,000 D-ration chocolate bars from Hershey, designed to melt at higher temperatures and not be too tasty, so soldiers would save them for emergencies.
Thirty-three mug shot portraits of the Duquesne spy ring; Duquesne is in the first row, far right (Library of Congress: cph.3c28525)
World War II poster
80 Years Ago—Jan. 1, 1942: Roosevelt and Churchill sign the “Declaration by the United Nations” at the Arcadia Conference in Washington; 24 other Allied nations will sign it, promising not to seek a separate peace.
US discontinues automobile manufacturing for civilian sale for the duration of the war; 500,000 remain in stock.
The Rose Bowl is held at Duke University in Durham, NC, due to a ban on large gatherings on the West Coast (Oregon State defeats Duke 20-16).
Japanese bicycle-mounted troops on Luzon, December 1941 (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—Dec. 31, 1941: US and Filipino forces form new defense line north of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.
Japanese ships shell islands of Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii.
US Navy transfers a carrier, 3 battleships, and 11 destroyers from the Atlantic to the Pacific Fleet.
New York City residents are urged not to use noisemakers for New Year’s Eve to avoid confusion with air raid alarms.
Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien, San Francisco, CA, Fleet Week, October 2014 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)
80 Years Ago—Dec. 30, 1941: German Gen. Erwin Rommel retreats to El Agheila, Libya, and the positions held before his April offensive against the British.
Soviets take Kerch and Feodosiya in the Crimea.
Gandhi resigns from leadership of India’s Congress Party when it decides to support Britain.
Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, CA, launches its first Liberty-class cargo ship.
Map showing Japanese offensives in Dec 1941 (US Military Academy)
80 Years Ago—Dec. 29, 1941: British evacuate from British Borneo to Dutch Borneo.
Japanese bomb Corregidor island in the Philippines for the first time.
Poster for US Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees), WWII
80 Years Ago—Dec. 28, 1941: US Rear Adm. Ben Moreel requests authorization of Navy construction battalions: the “Seabees.”
Japanese paratroopers land on Sumatra.
US poster encouraging conservation of rubber, WWII
80 Years Ago—Dec. 27, 1941: Japanese bomb Manila despite “open city” declaration.
First British combined operation of the war (air, naval & ground assault): British & Norwegian commandos raid Vaagsö Island, Norway, destroying facilities and taking prisoners.
First two SOE (British Special Operations Executive) agents are parachuted into Denmark, but one is killed when his parachute fails to open.
US announces rationing of tires and all rubber goods, to go into effect January 5, 1942 (Read more: “Make It Do—Tire Rationing in World War II”).
Manila, Philippines, declared an open city 26 Dec 1941 (US Army Center of Military History)
80 Years Ago—Dec. 26, 1941: Gen. Douglas MacArthur proclaims Manila an open city.
Winston Churchill becomes the first British Prime Minister to address a joint session of US Congress.
Blackout pointers are distributed in San Francisco.
US Defense Bonds and Stamps poster, 1941
80 Years Ago—Dec. 25, 1941: British forces in Hong Kong surrender to the Japanese.
Japanese secure Jolo Island in Philippines.
World premiere of “White Christmas,” sung by Bing Crosby on The Kraft Music Hall.
Japanese victory parade in Hong Kong, Dec 1941 (public domain via Wikipedia)
President Roosevelt addresses the crowd at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony from the White House South Portico on December 24, 1941. Churchill can be seen on the right. (FDR Presidential Library)
80 Years Ago—Dec. 24, 1941: British Eighth Army takes Benghazi, Libya.
As Japanese advance on Luzon, Gen. Douglas MacArthur begins withdrawal of US and Filipino forces to the Bataan Peninsula.
White House tree-lighting ceremony is moved to south end of grounds to be easily seen, the last tree-lighting until 1945.
Free French naval forces under Adm. Émile Muselier seize Vichy-controlled Saint Pierre and Miquelon islands off Newfoundland, despite opposition from UK, Canada & US.
Japanese General Homma at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, 24 Dec 1941 (US Army Center of Military History)