The War Expands

World War II: Blitzkrieg

Europe 1942.012

The War Expands

World War II in Europe from the fall of Poland to Stalingrad (20 January 1942)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

Beginning in December, a Russian counterattack pushed the German army back from Moscow. Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. Hitler quickly moved to support his Japanese allies by declaring war on the Americans.

Main Events

Soviet Winter Counter-offensive

Following the Battle of Moscow, the Soviets replenished their forces and pushed back against the Germans, advancing over 100 kilometers from the capital, but failing to destroy the German Army Group Center.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

At 7:48 am Hawaiian Time, Imperial Japanese fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes launched from six aircraft carriers mounted a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory. The attack damaged all eight US battleships present, sinking four, as well as hitting three cruisers, three destroyers, and two other ships. In addition, 188 US aircraft were destroyed and 2,403 Americans were killed, with another 1,178 wounded. Japanese losses were much lighter. The following day the US declared war on Japan.

Germany at war with U.S.

Claiming that US President Franklin Roosevelt had repeatedly violated all rules of neutrality, and noting in particular his "shoot on sight" order, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States of America. The decision to declare war was made by German leader Adolf Hitler, almost without consultation. Later that day, the United States responded by declaring war on Germany.

Wannsee Conference

On 20 January 1942, senior Nazi officials met to discuss the "Final Solution to the Jewish question," agreeing on the establishment of work and extermination camps in occupied Eastern Europe with which to wipe out the population.

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