Pacific war

Pacific War Timeline

By Rca263
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    Japan attacks and destroys most of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Most of the US Navy’s battleships and cruisers are sunk but its aircraft carriers and submarines escape unharmed. President Roosevelt proclaims it “a date which will live in infamy”.
  • Period: to

    Battle of the Pacific

    In December 1941 Japan attacked the United States at Pearl
    Harbor, Hawai'i, causing the U.S. to enter World War II. Over two
    years would pass until the Allies reached their great turning point
    in the Pacific War: the defeat of the Japanese at Guadalcanal in
    February 1943; which led to the total surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945.
  • The Empire expands

    The Empire expands
    Japan captures Hong Kong, attacks Malay and seizes US bases on Guam and Wake Island.
  • The Fall of Singapore

    The Fall of Singapore
    British Commonwealth forces surrender Singapore after a weeklong siege by the Japanese. About 80,000 British, Indian and Australian prisoners of war are taken, leading Churchill to call the Fall the “largest capitulation” in British history.
  • The Battle of the Java Sea

    The Battle of the Java Sea
    Allied navies suffer a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • Fall of Rangoon

    Fall of Rangoon
    The Allies abandon the Burmese capital of Rangoon to the advancing Japanese. The resulting occupation of Burma leads to widespread disorder in eastern India and a famine in Bengal which cause up to three million deaths.
  • Doolittle Raid

    Doolittle Raid
    The US sends 16 medium bombers to attack Tokyo and other Japanese cities from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. Though the raid was strategically insignificant, it provided a much-needed morale-booster for the US and caused some Japanese to doubt their leadership.
  • Battle of the Coral Sea

    Battle of the Coral Sea
    American aircraft carriers engage and rout their Japanese counterparts in the South Pacific. Although the Allies suffered more casualties and destroyed ships, this was a strategic defeat for the Japanese.
  • The Philippines surrender

    The Philippines surrender
    More than 80,000 American and Filipino forces surrender to the Japanese in the Philippines. The US Pacific command, led by General Douglas MacArthur, retreats to Australia.
  • The Battle of Midway

    The Battle of Midway
    The turning point of the Pacific War. The Americans defeat the Japanese Navy at Midway Atoll, sinking four carriers and one cruiser.
  • Attack on Sydney Harbour

    Attack on Sydney Harbour
    Two Japanese midget submarines shell Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
  • Australian victory

    Australian victory
    The Japanese continued to advance through the Solomon Islands and New Guinea but are beaten back by the Australian Army at Milne Bay in September. This is the first outright defeat of Japanese land forces since 1939.
  • Guadalcanal

    US Marine-led forces win a drawn-out battle of attrition against the Japanese over this small island.
  • The Battle of Changde

    The Battle of Changde
    The Japanese use biological and chemical weapons including the bubonic plague against the Chinese.
  • The Battle of Tarawa

    The Battle of Tarawa
    American marines use “Alligator” amphibious tanks against the Japanese to take the island of Tarawa. Though US casualties are high, this is their first victory in the critical Central Pacific region.
  • Cairo Conference

    Cairo Conference
    Roosevelt and Churchill meet Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo to discuss strategy for defeating Japan. The meeting concludes with the Cairo Declaration to beat Japan into an unconditional surrender.
  • Battle of Saipan

    Battle of Saipan
    US forces capture the island of Saipan, where they build massive airbases for B-29 Superfortress bombers within range of the Japanese Home Islands.
  • The Battle of the Philippines Sea

    The Battle of the Philippines Sea
    The US destroys the Japanese Navy's ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions.
  • Return to the Philippines

    Return to the Philippines
    Allied forces fight a bitter land campaign to liberate the Philippine islands.
  • The Battle of Leyte Gulf

    The Battle of Leyte Gulf
    Arguably the largest naval battle in history involving over 250 warships and almost 2000 aircraft. This the first time Japanese aircraft carry out organized kamikaze attacks. The battle is a decisive Allied victory.
  • Iwo Jima

    Iwo Jima
    US marines capture the heavily defended island of Iwo Jima. A dramatic photo of marines raising the American flag on the island is often cited as the most reproduced flag of all time.
  • The Battle of Okinawa

    The Battle of Okinawa
    The largest amphibious assault of the war. Over 100,000 Japanese soldiers (94 percent of their force) and 65,000 Allied troops are killed.
  • Hiroshima

    American B-29 bomber Enola Gay makes the first nuclear attack in history by dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
  • Nagasaki

    The city of Nagasaki suffers a nuclear attack. These two nuclear bombs kill more than 240,00 people.
  • Russian Invasion

    Russian Invasion
    A force of 1,000,000 battle-hardened Soviets invades Japanese-held Manchuria and quickly overcomes the defenders.
  • Victory over Japan

    Victory over Japan
    Japan submits its total surrender to General Douglas MacArthur aboard the battleship USS Missouri.