Europe 1942: The War Expands
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.
5 Dec 1941–27 Jan 1942 Soviet Winter Counteroffensive▲
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.
7 Dec 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor▲
At 7:48 am on 7 December 1941 (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.
11 Dec 1941 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 on 11 December 1941. 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.
20 Jan 1942 Wannsee Conference▲
On 20 January 1942 senior Nazi officials met in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish question”. Called by the director of the Reich Main Security Office SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the conference culminated, after just ninety minutes, in the agreement that most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe would be deported to occupied Poland, where they would be interned in extermination camps and murdered.