1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar).
- 1 Events
- 2 Births
- 3 Deaths
- 4 Nobel Prizes
- January 1 - World War II: The term "United Nations" is first officially used to describe the Allied pact.
- January 2 - World War II: Manila is captured by Japanese forces. The Japanese Admiral stays in Solvec (owned by Charles Henry de Silva), Philippines.
- January 5 - Amy Johnson disappears in flight over River Thames estuary - assumed drowned
- 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 16 - Airplane crashes near Las Vegas. Dead include Carole Lombard and her mother
- 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, and later extermination.
- 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
- February 11 - Operation Cerberus - Flotilla of Kriegsmarine ships dash from Brest through the English Channel to northern ports; British fail to sink any one of them
- February 15 - World War II: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces.
- February 19
- World War II: About 150 Japanese warplanes attack Darwin, Australia
- 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 23 - Japanese I-boat fires 16 high explosive shells into a Santa Barbara oil refinery, causing little damage
- February 24 - Propaganda: The Voice of America begins broadcasting.
- February 25 - Princess Elizabeth registers for war service
- February 26 - Coal dust explosion in Honkeika mine in China - 1549 dead
- February 27 - World War II: the USS Langley, the first United States aircraft carrier, is sunk by Japanese warplanes.
- March 9 - The Secretary of War reorganized the United States Army into three major commands - Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, later redesignated Army Service Forces
- 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 5 - Second World War: Japanese Navy attacks Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Royal Navy Cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
- April 9 - Second World War: Japanese Navy launches air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier HMS Hermes and Royal Australian Navy Destroyer HMAS Vampire are sunk off the country's East Coast.
- April 27 - World War II: A national plebiscite is held in Canada on the issue of conscription.
- May - first test of an undersea oil pipeline in Operation Pluto
- 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 8/9 - Second World War: On the night of 8/9 May 1942, gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands rebelled. Their mutiny was crushed and three of them were executed, the only British Commonwealth soldiers to be executed for mutiny during the Second World War.
- 1942 - World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov - In the eastern Ukraine, the Soviet Army initiates a major offensive. During the battle the Soviets will capture the city of Kharkov from the German Army, only to be encircled and destroyed.
- May 15 - World War II: In the United States, a bill creating the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.
- May 20 - First colored seamen taken into US Navy
- May 27 - World War II: Operation Anthropoid - assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague
- June 4 - World War II: Reinhard Heydrich dies in Prague due to the assassination by Czechoslovak paratroopers (Operation Anthropoid)
- June 4-7 - World War II: The Battle of Midway.
- June 7 - World War II- Japanese forces invade the Aleutian Islands. This is the first invasion of American soil in 128 years.
- June 9 - World War II: Nazis burn the Czech village of Lidice as reprisal for the killing of Reinhard Heydrich.
- June 10 - World War II: the Gestapo massacred 173 male residents of Lidice, Czechoslovakia in retaliztion for the killing of a Nazi official.
- June 12 - Holocaust: Future essayist Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday.
- June 13 - The United States opens its Office of War Information, a center for production of propaganda.
- 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 16 - Georges Bégué and others escape from Mauzac prison camp
- July 18 - World War II: The Germans 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 Dönitz orders the last U-boats to withdraw from their United States Atlantic coast positions in response to an effective American convoy system.
- July 22 - Holocaust: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.
- July 31 - The Oxford Committee of Famine Relief (OXFAM) founded
- 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 8 - Quit India resolution was passed by the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which led to the start of a historical civil disobidience movement across India
- August 9 - Indian leader, Mohandas Gandhi is arrested in Bombay by British forces.
- August 13-14 night - In London instruments detect a massive burst of cosmic rays
- August 16 - Polish-Jewish teacher Janusz Korczak follows a group of Jewish children into Treblinka death camp
- August 19 - World War II: The Dieppe Raid - Allied forces raid Dieppe, France.
- August 22 - World War II: Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy.
- September 3 - Francisco Franco fires foreign minister Serrano Súñer
- September 24 - Andrée Borrel and Lise de Baissac became the first female SOE agents to be parachuted into occupied France.
- October 2 - British cruiser Curacao collides with the liner Queen Mary off the coast of Donegal and sinks - 338 drowned
- October 3 - First successful launch of A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket flew 147 kilometres wide and reached a height of 84.5 kilometres and was therefore the first man-made object reaching space.
- 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 14 - A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou, killing 137.
- October 16 - Hurricane and flooding in Bombay - 40,000 dead
- 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 8 - World War II: French resistance Coup in Algiers, by which 400 French civil resistants neutralized the vichyist XIXth Army Corps and the vichyist generals (Juin, Darlan, etc.), so allowing the immediate success of Operation Torch in Algiers, and from there in the whole French North Africa.
- November 9 - World War II: U.S serviceman Edward Leonswki hanged at Melbourne's Pentridge Prison for the "Brown-Out" Murders of three women in May
- November 10 - World War II: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France following French Admiral François 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 Georgy 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 23 - German U-boat sinks SS Ben Lomond off the coast of Brazil. One crewman, Chinese second steward Poon Lim, is separated from the others and spends 130 days adrift until he is rescued April 3 1943
- November 28 - In Boston, Massachusetts, a fire in the Cocoanut Grove night club kills 491 people.
- November 28 - The large-scale German "pacification" of Zamojszczyzna begins.
- 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.
- Catavi massacre - Bolivian soldiers shoot miners
- Serial killer Singing Strangler in Melbourne
- Grand Coulee Dam finished in Columbia River
- DDT first used as a pesticide
- 1942 in art
- 1942 in film
- 1942 in literature
- 1942 in music
- "White Christmas" - Bing Crosby
- 1942 in rail transport
- 1942 in sports
- 1942 in television
- January 1 - Martin Frost, American politician
- January 1 - Gennadi Sarafanov, cosmonaut
- January 2 - Hugh Shelton, American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- January 3 - John Thaw, English actor (d. 2002)
- January 5 - Maurizio Pollini, Italian pianist
- January 5 - Charlie Rose, American talk show host
- January 7 - Vasily Alexeev, Soviet weightlifter
- January 8 - Stephen Hawking, British physicist
- January 8 - Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan
- January 8 - Yvette Mimieux, American actress
- January 8 - George Passmore, English artist (Gilbert and George)
- January 15 - Charo, American singer and actress
- January 17 - Muhammad Ali, American boxer
- January 17 - Ulf Hoelscher, German violinist
- January 19 - Michael Crawford, singer and actor
- January 25 - Carl Eller, American football player
- January 25 - Eusébio, Portuguese footballer
- January 31 - Derek Jarman, English director and writer (d. 1994)
- February 1 - Terry Jones, Welsh actor and writer
- February 2 - Graham Nash, English musician
- February 5 - Roger Staubach, American football player
- February 9 - Carole King, American singer and composer
- February 12 - Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel
- February 13 - Peter Tork, American musician and actor
- February 19 - Paul Krause, American football player
- February 20 - Phil Esposito, Canadian hockey player
- February 21 - Margarethe von Trotta, German actress, film director, and writer
- February 24 - Joseph Lieberman, American politician
- February 27 - Robert H. Grubbs, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
- February 28 - Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones) (d. 1969)
- March 2 - John Irving, American author
- March 2 - Lou Reed, American singer and guitarist
- March 4 - Charles C. Krulak, U.S. Marine Corps commander
- March 5 - Felipe González Márquez, Spanish politician
- March 7 - Tammy Faye Bakker, American evangelist
- March 7 - Michael Eisner, American film studio executive
- March 9 - John Cale, Welsh composer and musician
- March 13 - Dave Cutler, American software engineer
- March 16 - James Soong, Taiwan politician
- March 17 - John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (d. 1994)
- March 23 - Walter Rodney, Guyanese historian and political figure
- March 25 - Aretha Franklin, American singer
- March 25 - Richard O'Brien, English-born actor and writer
- March 26 - Erica Jong, American author
- March 27 - Michael York, English actor
- April 2 - Hiroyuki Sakai, Japanese chef
- April 3 - Marsha Mason, American actress
- April 3 - Wayne Newton, American singer
- April 5 - Peter Greenaway, Welsh filmmaker
- April 5 - Pascal Couchepin, Swiss Federal Councilor
- April 6 - Barry Levinson, American film producer and director
- April 14 - Valeriy Brumel, Russian athlete (d. 2003)
- April 14 - Valentin Lebedev, cosmonaut
- April 26 - Bobby Rydell, American singer
- April 26 - Michael Kergin, Canadian diplomat
- May 2 - Jacques Rogge, Belgian International Olympic Committee president
- May 5 - Tammy Wynette, American musician (d. 1998)
- May 9 - John Ashcroft, United States Attorney General
- May 12 - Ian Dury, British musician (d. 2000)
- May 17 - Taj Mahal, American singer and guitarist
- May 18 - Albert Hammond, English-born musician and composer
- May 18 - Nobby Stiles, English footballer
- May 19 - Gary Kildall, American computer scientist (d. 1994)
- May 22 - Theodore Kaczynski, American terrorist
- May 22 - Calvin Simon, American musician (P Funk)
- May 26 - Levon Helm, American musician (The Band)
- June 3 - Curtis Mayfield, American musician (d. 1999)
- June 10 - Preston Manning, Canadian politician
- June 17 - Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian International Atomic Energy Agency director, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
- June 18 - Roger Ebert, American film critic
- June 18 - Paul McCartney, English musician and composer (The Beatles)
- June 18 - Hans Vonk, Dutch conductor
- July 4 - Floyd Little, American football player
- July 4 - Prince Michael of Kent
- July 7 - Carmen Duncan, Welsh-born actress
- July 10 - Pyotr Klimuk, cosmonaut
- July 10 - Ronnie James Dio, American singer
- July 13 - Harrison Ford, American actor and producer
- July 13 - Roger McGuinn, American musician
- July 15 - Mil Mascaras, Mexican professional wrestler
- July 17 - Tim Brooke-Taylor, English radio and television personality
- July 23 - Myra Hindley, English murderer
- July 24 - Chris Sarandon, American actor
- July 27 - Dennis Ralston, American tennis player
- July 29 - Tony Sirico, American actor
- August 1 - Jerry Garcia, American musician (d. 1995)
- August 2 - Isabel Allende, Chilean writer
- August 4 - David Lange, Prime Minister of New Zealand (d. 2005)
- August 7 - Garrison Keillor, American writer and radio host
- August 19 - Fred Thompson, U.S. Senator and actor
- August 20 - Isaac Hayes, American singer and actor
- August 26 - Dennis Turner, British politician
- August 28 - Sterling Morrison, American musician (d. 1995)
- September 1 - John Lange, American scientist
- September 19 - Freda Payne, American singer and actress
- September 22 - David Stern, American commissioner of the National Basketball Association
- September 28 - Marshall Bell, American actor
- September 29 - Madeline Kahn, American actress (d. 1999)
- September 29 - Jean-Luc Ponty, French jazz violinist
- September 30 - Frankie Lymon, American singer (d. 1968)
- October 11 - Amitabh Bachchan, Indian actor
- October 12 - Melvin Franklin, American musician (d. 1995)
- October 13 - Jerry Jones, American football team owner
- October 19 - Andrew Vachss, American author and attorney
- October 20 - Earl Hindman, American actor (d. 2003)
- October 21 - Elvin Bishop, American musician
- October 23 - Michael Crichton, American author
- November 1 - Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta
- November 8 - Angel Cordero Jr., Puerto Rican jockey
- November 8 - Fernando Sorrentino, Argentine writer
- November 10 - Robert F. Engle, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate
- November 10 - Hans-Rudolf Merz, Swiss Federal Councilor
- Nonember 10 - Matt Jossart, American karate master
- November 13 - John P. Hammond, American singer
- November 15 - Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born pianist and conductor
- November 17 - Martin Scorsese, American film director
- November 20 - Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Delaware
- November 27 - Henry Carr, American athlete
- November 27 - Jimi Hendrix, American musician (d. 1970)
- November 28 - Paul Warfield, American football player
- November 29 - Michael Craze, British actor (d. 1998)
- November 29 - Philippe Huttenlocher, Swiss baritone
- December 4 - Gemma Jones, British actress
- December 6 - Peter Handke, Austrian novelist
- December 7 - Peter Tomarken, American game show host
- December 9 - Dick Butkus, American football player
- December 11 - Donna Mills, American actress
- December 17 - Paul Butterfield, American musician (d. 1987)
- December 20 - Bob Hayes, American athlete
- December 21 - Carla Thomas, American singer
- December 29 - Rajesh Khanna, Indian actor
- Moammar Al Qadhafi, leader of Libya
- January 6 - Henri de Baillet-Latour, Belgian International Olympic Committee president (b. 1876)
- January 14 - Porfirio Barba-Jacob, Colombian poet and writer (b. 1883)
- January 16 - Carole Lombard, American actress (b. 1908)
- January 26 - Felix Hausdorff, German mathematician (suicide) (b. 1868)
- February 19 - Frank Abbandando, American gangster (executed) (b. 1910)
- February 28 - Karel Doorman, Dutch admiral (sinking ship) (b. 1889)
- March 1 - Cornelius Vanderbilt III, American military officer, inventor, and engineer (b. 1873)
- March 8 - José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban chess player (b. 1888)
- March 10 - William Henry Bragg, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1862)
- March 21 - J.S Woodsworth, Canadian politician (b. 1874)
- April 15 - Robert Musil, Austrian-born novelist (b. 1880)
- April 17 - Jean Baptiste Perrin, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1870)
- April 18 - Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, American sculptor and socialite (b. 1875)
- April 24 - Dinanath Mangeshkar, Indian singer and composer (b. 1900)
- May 3 - Thorvald Stauning, Prime Minister of Denmark (b. 1873)
- May 7 - Felix Weingartner, Yugoslavian conductor (b. 1863)
- May 27 - Chen Duxiu, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (b. 1879)
- May 29 - John Barrymore, American actor (b. 1882)
- June 7 - Alan Blumlein, English electronics engineer (b. 1903)
- July 23 - Adam Czerniakow, Polish engineer and senator (suicide) (b. 1880)
- July 26 - Roberto Arlt, Argentine writer (b. 1900)
- July 28 - William Matthew Flinders Petrie, English Egyptologist (b. 1853)
- August 3 - Richard Willstätter, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1872)
- August 6 - Jonathan Campbell, American film pioneer (b. 1875)
- September 14 - Ezra Seymour Gosney, American philanthropist and eugenicist (b. 1855)
- November 1 - Hugo Distler, German composer (b. 1908)
- November 5 - George M. Cohan, American songwriter and entertainer (b. 1878)
- November 19 - Bruno Schulz, Polish writer and painter (shot) (b. 1892)
- December 22 - Franz Boas, German anthropologist (b. 1858)
- Physics - not awarded
- Chemistry - not awarded
- Medicine - not awarded
- Literature - not awarded
- Peace - not awarded
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