1942 in the United States
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|1942 in the United States|
|Years:||1939 1940 1941 – 1942 – 1943 1944 1945|
48 stars (1912–59)
Events from the year 1942 in the United States.
- President: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic)
- Vice President: Henry A. Wallace (Democratic)
- Chief Justice: Harlan F. Stone
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Sam Rayburn (D-Texas)
- Senate Majority Leader: Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 77th
- January 1
- January 10 – WWII: The last German air-raid on Liverpool destroys the home of William Patrick Hitler, Adolf Hitler's nephew. After his house is destroyed, William Hitler goes to the USA and joins the navy to fight against his uncle.
- January 16 – Film actress Carole Lombard and her mother are among all 22 aboard TWA Flight 3 killed when the Douglas DC-3 plane crashes into Potosi Mountain near Las Vegas in Nevada while she is returning from a tour to promote the sale of war bonds.
- January 19 – WWII: Japanese forces invade Burma. The United States VIII Bomber Command, later to become the Eighth Air Force, is established in Savannah, Georgia.
- January 25 – WWII: Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom.
- January 26 – WWII: The first American forces arrive in Europe, landing in Northern Ireland.
- February 2 – WWII: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order directing the internment of Japanese Americans and the seizure of their property.
- February 8
- February 9 – WWII: The SS Normandie Ocean Liner catches fire while being converted into the troopship USS Lafayette.
- February 10 – In the early hours of the morning the SS Normandie capsizes at pier 88 in New York City.
- February 19 – 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 – WWII: President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines as American defense of the nation collapses.
- February 23 – The Japanese submarine I-17 fires 17 high-explosive shells toward an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.
- February 24 – The Voice of America begins broadcasting.
- February 25 – Battle of Los Angeles: Over 1,400 AA shells are fired at an unidentified, slow-moving object in the skies over Los Angeles. The appearance of the object triggers an immediate wartime blackout over most of Southern California, with thousands of air raid wardens being deployed throughout the city. In total there are 6 deaths. Despite the several hour barrage no planes are downed.
- February 26 – The 14th Academy Awards ceremony is held in Los Angeles; How Green Was My Valley wins Best Picture.
- March – Construction begins on the Badger Army Ammunition Plant (the largest in the United States during WWII).
- March 9 – WWII: Executive order 9082 (February 28, 1942) reorganizes 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 – WWII: Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.
- May 6 – WWII: On Corregidor, the last American and Filipino forces in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese.
- May 14 – Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait is performed for the first time by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
- May 15 – WWII: In the United States, a bill creating the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.
- May 20 – The first African-American seamen are taken into the United States Navy.
- June 4–7 – WWII – Battle of Midway: The United States Navy defeats an Imperial Japanese Navy attack against Midway Atoll.
- June 7 – WWII – Aleutian Islands Campaign: Japanese forces invade the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
- June 13 – The United States opens its Office of War Information, a propaganda center.
- June 21 – WWII – Bombardment of Fort Stevens: Fort Stevens, Oregon is fired upon by a Japanese submarine.
- July 4 – WWII in the European Theater of Operations: US Eighth Air Force flies its first inauspicious mission in Europe using borrowed British planes; six aircraft went out, only three came back.
- July 19 – WWII – 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.
- August 7 – WWII: Battle of Guadalcanal begins – USMC initiate the first American offensive of the war with a landing on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
- August 8 – WWII: In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs are executed (two others were cooperative and received life imprisonment instead).
- August 15 – WWII: The American tanker SS Ohio reaches Malta as part of the convoy of Operation Pedestal.
- August 16 – The U.S. Navy blimp L-8 (Flight 101) comes ashore near San Francisco, eventually coming down in Daly City (the crew is missing).
- October 11 – WWII – 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 23 – Award-winning composer and Hollywood songwriter Ralph Rainger ("Thanks for the Memory") is among 12 people killed in the mid-air collision between an American Airlines DC-3 airliner and a U.S. Army bomber near Palm Springs, California.
- October 26 – WWII – Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands: Two Japanese aircraft carriers are heavily damaged and one U.S. carrier is sunk.
- October 28 – The Alaska Highway is completed.
- November 8 – Operation Torch – United States and United Kingdom forces land in French North Africa.
- November 9 – WWII: U.S serviceman Edward Leonski is hanged at Melbourne's Pentridge Prison for the "Brown-Out" murders of three women in May.
- November 12 – WWII – Battle of Guadalcanal: A naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American forces.
- November 13 – Battle of Guadalcanal: Aviators from the USS Enterprise sink the Japanese battleship Hiei.
- November 15 – The Battle of Guadalcanal ends: Although the United States Navy suffers heavy losses, it retains control of Guadalcanal.
- November 21 – The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) is celebrated (however, the "highway" is not usable by general vehicles until 1943).
- November 26 – The movie Casablanca premieres at the Hollywood Theater in New York City.
- November 28 – In Boston, Massachusetts, a fire in the Cocoanut Grove night club kills 491 people.
- December 1 – Gasoline rationing begins in the United States.
- December 2 – Manhattan Project: Below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (a coded message, "The Italian navigator has landed in the new world" is then sent to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
- December 22 – In Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, an avalanche kills 26, including Vulcan Crucible Steel Co heir-apparent Samuel A. Stafford Sr., when two 100 ton boulders fall on a bus filled with wartime steel workers on their way home.
- World War II, U.S. involvement (1941–1945)
- February 20 – Mitch McConnell, United States Senator from Kentucky since 1985.
- February 24 – Joe Lieberman, United States Senator from Connecticut from 1989 till 2013.
- March 29 – Larry Pressler, United States Senator from South Dakota from 1979 till 1997.
- April 25 – Jon Kyl, United States Senator from Arizona from 1995 till 2013.
- May 9
- May 14 – Byron Dorgan, United States Senator from North Dakota from 1992 till 2011.
- May 22 – Ted Kaczynski, mathematician, professor, and murderer.
- June 19 – Bob Kasten, United States Senator from Wisconsin from 1981 till 1993.
- July 8 – Phil Gramm, United States Senator from Texas from 1985 till 2003.
- July 16 – John Purdin, American baseball player (d. 2010)
- August 19 – Fred Thompson, United States Senator from Tennessee from 1994 till 2003.
- August 24 – Max Cleland, United States Senator from Georgia from 1997 till 2003.
- September 29 – Bill Nelson, United States Senator from Florida since 2001.
- October 20 – Earl Hindman, actor (d. 2003)
- November 20 – Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States since 2009 and United States Senator from Delaware from 1973 till 2009.
- November 27 – Jimi Hendrix, musician, singer, and songwriter (d. 1970)
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