The War in Asia and Africa Timeline 

Japan Invades China- August 8, 1931-February 27, 1932: The second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937-1945. It followed the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5. China fough Japan, with some economic help from Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States.
Japan Invades Manchuria- September 18, 1931: The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began September 18, 1931, when the Kwangtung Army of the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria immediately following the Mukden Incident. The Japanese established a Puppet State called manchukuo, and their occupation lasted until the end of World War II.
Dwight D. Eisenhower- 1935-39 Phili & War Gen.: As supreme commander of Allied forces in Western Europe during World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower led the massive invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe that began on D-Day (June 6, 1944). In 1952, leading Republicans convinced Eisenhower (then in command of NATO forces in Europe) to run for president; he won a convincing victory over Democrat Adlai Stevenson and would serve two terms in the White House (1953-1961). During his presidency, Eisenhower managed Cold War-era tensions with the Soviet Union under the looming threat of nuclear weapons, ended the war in Korea in 1953 and authorized a number of covert anti-communist operations by the CIA around the world.
Rape of Nanking-December 13, 1937- January 1938: The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking or Rape of Nanjing, was an episode during the Second Sino-Japanese War of mass murder and mass rape by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing, then capital of the Republic of China. The massacre occurred over six weeks starting December 13, 1937, that day that the Japanese captured Nanjing.
Germany in North Africa- June 10, 1940 May 13, 1943: During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from June 10, 1940 to May 13, 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia. The campaign was fought between the allies and Axis powers, many of whom had colonial interests in Africa during from the late 19th century.
Japanese Seized Control of Vietnam- September 1940: The Japanese occupied Vietnam in September 1940 and remained there until the end of World War II (August 1945). The pretext for the invasion was Japan’s ongoing war with China, which began in 1937. By occupying Vietnam, Tokyo hoped to close off China’s southern border and halt its supply of weapons and materials. The occupation of Vietnam also fit into Japan’s long term imperial plans. Japanese leaders, driven by militarism and hungry for profit, dreamed of creating what they called a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, an economic coalition of Asian nations.
General Douglas MacArthur-July 26, 1941-September 2, 1945: General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Japanese Attack at Pearl Harbor- December 7, 1941: Just before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The barrage lasted just two hours, but it was devastating: The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and more than 300 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan; Congress approved his declaration with just one dissenting vote.
Battle of Coral Sea-May 4-8, 1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
Battle of Midway- June 3-7, 1942: Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States defeated Japan in one of the most decisive naval battles of World War II. Thanks in part to major advances in code breaking, the United States was able to preempt and counter Japan’s planned ambush of its few remaining aircraft carriers, inflicting permanent damage on the Japanese Navy. An important turning point in the Pacific campaign, the victory allowed the United States and its allies to move into an offensive position.
Battle of Guadalcanal- August 7, 1942- February 9, 1943: The World War II Battle of Guadalcanal was the first major offensive and a decisive victory for the Allies in the Pacific theater. With Japanese troops stationed in this section of the Solomon Islands, U.S. marines launched a surprise attack in August 1942 and took control of an air base under construction. Reinforcements were funneled to the island as a series of land and sea clashes unfolded, and both sides endured heavy losses to their warship contingents. However, the Japanese suffered a far greater toll of casualties, forcing their withdrawal from Guadalcanal by February 1943.
President Harry Truman becomes US President- January 20, 1945-April 12, 1945: Truman made the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan, helped rebuild postwar Europe, worked to contain communism and led the United States into the Korean War (1950-1953). A Missouri native, Truman assisted in running his family farm after high school and served in World War I (1914-1918). He began his political career in 1922 as a county judge in Missouri and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1934. Three months after becoming vice president in 1945, the plain-spoken Truman ascended to the presidency.
Americans take Iwo Jima and Okinawa- February 19, 1945-June 21, 1945: The American amphibious invasion of Iwo Jima during World War II stemmed from the need for a base near the Japanese coast. Following elaborate preparatory air and naval bombardment, three U.S. marine divisions landed on the island in February 1945. Last and biggest of the Pacific island battles of World War II, the Okinawa campaign (April 1—June 22, 1945) involved the 287,000 troops of the U.S. Tenth Army against 130,000 soldiers of the Japanese Thirty-second Army.
Atomic Bombs Dropped on Hiroshima&Nagasaki- August 6, 1945: On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender in World War II in a radio address on August 15, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb.”
Japanese Surrender- September 2, 1945- By the summer of 1945, the defeat of Japan was a foregone conclusion. The Japanese navy and air force were destroyed. The Allied naval blockade of Japan and intensive bombing of Japanese cities had left the country and its economy devastated. At the end of June, the Americans captured Okinawa, a Japanese island from which the Allies could launch an invasion of the main Japanese home islands. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was put in charge of the invasion, which was code-named “Operation Olympic” and set for November 1945.
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