|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1910s 1920s 1930s – 1940s – 1950s 1960s 1970s|
|Years:||1939 1940 1941 – 1942 – 1943 1944 1945|
|Ab urbe condita||2695|
|British Regnal year||6 Geo. 6 – 7 Geo. 6|
|Chinese calendar||辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
4638 or 4578
— to —
壬午年 (Water Horse)
4639 or 4579
|- Vikram Samvat||1998–1999|
|- Shaka Samvat||1864–1865|
|- Kali Yuga||5043–5044|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 17
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 31
|Thai solar calendar||2485|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1942.|
1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (dominical letter D), the 1942nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 942nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 42nd year of the 20th century, and the 3rd year of the 1940s decade.
- 1 Events
- 2 Births
- 3 Deaths
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Below, events of World War II have the "WWII" prefix.
- January 1 – WWII:
- January 2 – WWII: Japanese warplanes bomb Manila, Philippines
- January 7 – WWII: Operation Typhoon, the German attempt to take Moscow, ends in failure.
- January 7 – WWII: The siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins.
- January 11 – WWII:
- January 13
- January 16 – American 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 while she is returning from a tour to promote the sale of war bonds.
- January 17 – Boxer Muhammad Ali is born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky.
- January 19 – WWII:
- January 20 – The Holocaust: Nazis at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin decide that the "Final Solution (Endlösung) to the Jewish problem" is relocation, and later extermination.
- January 21 – WWII: Erwin Rommel launches his new offensive in Cyrenaica.
- January 23 – WWII: The Battle of Rabaul begins.
- 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.
- January 31 – WWII: Malayan Campaign: The last organized Allied forces leave British Malaya, ending the 54-day campaign, and the Johor–Singapore Causeway is severed.
- February – C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters first published in book format in England.
- February 1 – WWII: The Command staff of the Eighth Air Force reaches England.
- February 2 – WWII: President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order directing the internment of Japanese Americans and the seizure of their property.
- February 3 – WWII: Rommel suspends his offensive in Cyrenaica.
- February 7 – United States Maritime Commission fleet operations transferred to the War Shipping Administration (lasting until September 1, 1946).
- February 8
- February 9 – The ocean liner SS Normandie catches fire while being converted into the troopship USS Lafayette (AP-53) for WWII at pier 88 in New York City: she capsizes early the following morning.
- February 11 – Operation Cerberus: A flotilla of Kriegsmarine ships dash from Brest through the English Channel to northern ports; the British fail to sink any of them.
- February 15 – WWII: Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces.
- February 18 – WWII: More than 200 American sailors die in Newfoundland when the USS Truxtun runs aground near Chambers Cove and the USS Pollux runs aground at Lawn Point.
- February 19 – WWII:
- Japanese warplanes bomb Darwin, Australia.
- A returning Japanese fighter plane crashes on Melville Island (Australia) and its pilot, Hajime Toyoshima, becomes the first Japanese captured on Australian soil when indigenous resident Matthias Ulungura takes him prisoner.
- United States 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 19-23 – WWII: Battle of Sittang Bridge – British forces retreat to the Sittaung River.
- February 20 – Lieutenant Edward O'Hare becomes America's first U.S. Navy WWII flying ace.
- February 22 – General George Marshall transmits a direct order to General MacArthur in President Roosevelt's name, ordering MacArthur himself to turn over command of the Philippines to a subordinate and report to Australia to assume command of the large American force being built up there. The orders are worded to allow MacArthur to choose the exact moment of his departure; for various reasons, he will not leave until March 12 (Eastern Date).
- 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
- February 25
- The Princess Elizabeth registers for war service in the U.K.
- 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
- February 27 – WWII: Battle of the Java Sea: An allied (ABDA) task force of 14 vessels under Dutch command, trying to stem a Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies, is defeated by a 19 vessel Japanese task force in the Java Sea; 2.300 sailors die, including the commander, admiral Karel Doorman; Japanese attain naval hegemony in East-Asia
- 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) comes into effect reorganizing the United States Army into three major commands: Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, later redesignated Army Service Forces, with Henry H. Arnold as Commanding General of the United States Army Air Forces.
- March 12 – WWII: U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and key members of his staff are evacuated by PT boat, under cover of darkness, from Corregidor in the Philippines. Command of U.S. forces in the Philippines passes to Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright.
- March 16 – WWII: New Zealand and Australia declare war on Thailand.
- March 17 – The Holocaust: the Nazi German Bełżec extermination camp opens in occupied Poland about 1 km south of the railroad station at Bełżec in the Lublin district of the General Government. At least 434,508 people are killed here up to December 1942.
- March 18 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, signs Executive Order 9102, creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which becomes responsible for the internment of Americans of Japanese and, to a lesser extent, German and Italian descent, many of them legal citizens.
- March 20 – WWII: After being forced to flee the Philippines, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur announces (in Terowie, South Australia), "I came through and I shall return."
- March 23 – WWII: The Germans burn down the Ukrainian village of Yelino (Koriukivka Raion), killing 296 civilians.
- March 24 – The evacuation of Polish nationals from the Soviet Union begins. It is conducted in two phases: until 5 April; and between 10 and 30 August 1942, by sea from Krasnovodsk to Pahlavi (Anzali), and (to a lesser extent) overland from Ashkabad to Mashhad. In all, 115,000 people are evacuated, 37,000 of them civilians, 18,000 children (7% of the number of Polish citizens originally exiled to the Soviet Union).
- March 28 – WWII: St Nazaire Raid (Operation Chariot) – British Commandos raid Saint-Nazaire on the coast of Western France to put its dockyard facilities out of action.
- April – The Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Sobibór opens in occupied Poland on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór. Between April 1942 and October 1943, at least 160,000 people are killed here.
- Spring – The Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Treblinka II opens in occupied Poland near the village of Treblinka. Between July 23, 1942 and October 1943, around 850,000 people are killed here, more than 800,000 of whom are Jews.
- April 3 – WWII: Japanese forces begin an all-out assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.
- April 5 – WWII: Easter Sunday Raid – Aircraft of the Japanese Navy attack Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Royal Navy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire are sunk southwest of the island.
- April 9 – WWII:
- April 13 – The United States Federal Communications Commission's minimum programming time required of TV stations is cut from 15 hours to 4 hours a week during the war.
- April 14 – WWII: The submarine HMS Upholder is sunk.
- April 14 – WWII: The German submarine U-85 is sunk by USS Roper.
- April 15 – WWII: Award of the George Cross to Malta: King George VI awards the George Cross to the island of Malta to mark the Siege of Malta, saying, "To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history" (from January 1 to July 24, there is only one 24-hour period during which no bombs fall on this tiny island).
- April 17 – WWII: Henri Giraud the French commander captured in 1940, escapes from Königstein Fortress.
- April 18 – WWII: Tokyo, Japan, is attacked by the Doolittle Raid, a small force of B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft commanded by then-Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle.
- April 23
- April 26 – WWII: The Reichstag meets for the last time, dissolving itself and proclaiming Adolf Hitler the "Supreme Judge of the German People", granting him the power of life and death over every German citizen.
- April 27 – WWII: A national plebiscite is held in Canada on the issue of conscription.
- April 27 – The Jewish Star of David is required wearing for all Jews in the Netherlands and Belgium; Jews in other Nazi-controlled countries have already been wearing it.
- April 29 – WWII: An explosion at a chemical factory in Tessenderlo, Belgium leaves 200 dead and 1,000 injured.
- May – Operation Pluto: The plan to construct oil pipelines under the English Channel between England and France is tested in the River Medway.
- May 5 – WWII – Operation Ironclad: British forces invade the French colony of Madagascar.
- May 7 – WWII: On Corregidor, the last American and Filipino forces in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese under command of 2Lt. Robert L. Obourn (92nd Coastal Artillery Corps Battalion, G Battery) from Fort Mills.
- May 8 – WWII: The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula: The German 11th Army begins Operation Trappenjagd (Bustard Hunt) and destroys the bridgehead of the three Soviet Armies (44th, 47th, and 51st) defending the Kerch Peninsula, in the eastern part of the Crimea.
- May 8 – WWII: The Battle of the Coral Sea (first battle in naval history where 2 enemy fleets fight without seeing each other's fleets) ends in an Allied victory.
- May 8 – WWII: The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula: German and Romanian forces launches Unternehmen Trappenjagd (Operation Busted Hunt) aiming at defeating the Soviet Crimean Front defending the Kerch Peninsula. The battle ends in Axis victory. Part of the Eastern Front.
- May 8/May 9 – WWII: At night, gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands mutiny. The mutiny is crushed and three executed (the only British Commonwealth soldiers to be executed for mutiny during the Second World War).
- May 12 – WWII – Second Battle of Kharkov: In the eastern Ukraine, the Soviet Army initiates a major offensive. During the battle the Soviets capture the city of Kharkov from the German Army, only to be encircled and destroyed.
- May 12 – WWII: The Japanese minelayer Okinoshima is sunk by the American submarine USS S-42.
- 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.
- May 21 – WWII: Mexico declares war against Nazi Germany after the sinking of the Mexican tanker Faja de Oro by German submarine U-160 off Key West.
- May 26 – WWII – Battle of Bir Hakeim: The Free French and British troops slow the German advance in North Africa.
- May 26 – WWII: Anglo-Soviet Treaty of 1942 to help establish military and political alliance between the USSR and the British Empire is signed in London by foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and by Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.
- May 27 – WWII – Operation Anthropoid: Czech paratroopers attempt to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich in Prague.
- May 30–31 – WWII: Bombing of Cologne – British RAF Bomber Command's "Operation Millennium", its first 1,000 bomber raid, with associated fires make 13,000 families homeless and kills around 475 people, mostly civilians; 3,330 non-residential buildings are totally destroyed.
- May 31–June 1 – WWII: Attack on Sydney Harbour: Japanese midget submarines infiltrate Sydney Harbour in Australia in an attempt to attack Allied warships.
- June 1
- June 4 – WWII: Reinhard Heydrich succumbs to wounds sustained on May 27 from Czechoslovakian paratroopers acting in Operation Anthropoid.
- June 5 – The United States declares war on Bulgaria, Hungary & Romania.
- June 4–June 7 – WWII: The Battle of Midway: The Japanese naval advance in the Pacific is halted.
- June 7 – WWII: Japanese forces invade the Aleutian Islands (the first invasion of American soil in 128 years).
- June 8 – WWII: Attack on Sydney Harbour: The Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle are shelled by Japanese submarines. The eastern suburbs of both cities are damaged and the east coast is blacked out.
- June 9 – WWII:
- June 10 – WWII: The Gestapo massacres 173 male residents of Lidice, Czechoslovakia in retaliation for the killing of Reinhard Heydrich.
- June 12 – The Holocaust: On her 13th birthday, Anne Frank makes the first entry in her new diary.
- June 13 – WWII: The United States opens its Office of War Information, a propaganda center.
- June 18 – WWII: The SS surrounds the church where Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík, the assassins of Reinhard Heydrich, are hiding. To avoid capture, the two men commit suicide.
- June 29 – WWII: The Germans launch Case Blue, Army Group South's drive to Stalingrad and the Baku Oil fields.
- June 29 – WWII: The German Eleventh Army under Erich von Manstein takes Sevastopol, although fighting rages until July 9.
- July 1–July 27 – WWII: The First Battle of El Alamein.
- July 3 – WWII: Guadalcanal, occupied only by aborigines falls to the Japanese Naval construction force deployed to construct an air field on the island.
- July 4 – WWII in the European Theater of Operations:
- Twenty-four ships are sunk by German bombers and submarines after Convoy PQ 17 to the Soviet Union is scattered in the Arctic Ocean to evade the German battleship Tirpitz.
- US Eighth Air Force inauspiciously flies its first mission in Europe using borrowed British planes and bombs targets in the Netherlands, such as De Kooy airfield attached to Den Helder naval base. Three of six aircraft return; Captain Charles C. Kegelman is the first member of 8th Airforce to be awarded DFC for this mission.
- July 6 – The Holocaust: Anne Frank's family goes into hiding in an attic above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse.
- July 8 – Turkish prime minister Refik Saydam died while working in office. For one day he is succeeded by Ahmet Fikri Tüzer
- July 9 – Şükrü Saracoğlu forms the new (13th) government in Turkey.
- July 13 – WWII: German U-boats sink 3 more merchant ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
- July 14 – WWII: Germany introduces the Ostvolk Medal for Soviet personnel in the Wehrmacht.
- July 16
- July 18 – WWII: The Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 (using only its jets) for the first time.
- 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.
- July 21 – The Japanese establish a beachhead on the north coast of New Guinea in the Buna-Gona area; a small Australian force begins a rearguard action on the Kokoda Track campaign.
- July 22 – The Holocaust: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.
- July 23 – Holocaust: The gas chambers at Treblinka extermination camp begin operation, killing 6,500 Jews newly arrived from the Warsaw Ghetto.
- July 29 – The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR institutes the Order of Suvorov, the Order of Kutuzov, and reinstates the Order of Alexander Nevsky.
- July 30
- July 31 – The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam) is founded in England.
- August 7 – WWII: Guadalcanal Campaign begins – The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps begin the first American offensive of the war with an amphibious landing on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
- August 8
- WWII: Convoy SC 94 loses ten ships as the first to be heavily attacked by U-boats resuming mid-Atlantic wolf pack attacks through the climactic winter of 1942\43.
- WWII: In Washington, D.C., six German saboteurs are executed for their role in a failed mission of Operation Pastorius. (Two others are cooperative and receive sentences of life imprisonment instead, being freed a few years after the end of the war.)
- Walt Disney's fifth animated feature film Bambi receives its world première in London.
- August 9
- Indian leader, Mohandas Gandhi is arrested in Bombay by British forces.
- Start, led by the goalkeeper Nikolai Trusevich, play football against the German Luftwaffe team Flakelf in Nazi-occupied Kiev. Against all odds, they win 5–3. Eight of them are later arrested and tortured, and at least four are killed.
- Leningrad première of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 with the city still under siege.
- August 13
- August 14 – A massive burst of cosmic rays is detected by instruments[clarification needed] in London.
- August 15 – WWII: The American tanker Ohio reaches Malta as part of the convoy of Operation Pedestal.
- August 16
- August 17 – WWII: First raid by heavy bombers of U.S. Eighth Air Force against occupied France.
- August 19 – WWII: Dieppe Raid: Allied forces raid Dieppe, France.
- August 20 – Plutonium is isolated for the first time at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University of Chicago.
- August 22 – WWII: Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy.
- August 23 – WWII: Battle of Stalingrad begins: German troops reach the suburbs of Stalingrad.
- August 24 – WWII:
- August 25
- August 30 – Luxembourg is formally annexed to the German Reich.
- August 31 – A general strike is launched in Luxembourg to protest against forced conscription.
- August 31–September 5 – WWII: Battle of Alam el Halfa.
- September 2 The island of Les Casquets in the Channel Islands is raided by the forerunner of the British SAS, the SSRF, led by Major Gus March-Phillipps; this is one of the first raids by Anders Lassen VC. In the raid the entire garrison of 7 is abducted and returned to England as prisoners and the radio and lighthouse wrecked.
- September 3 – The Holocaust: A German attempt to liquidate the Jewish Łachwa Ghetto in occupied Poland leads to an uprising, probably the first ghetto uprising of the war.
- September 5
- September 9 – WWII: A Japanese floatplane drops incendiary devices at Mount Emily, near Brookings, Oregon, in the first of two "Lookout Air Raids", the first bombing of the continental United States.
- September 10
- September 12 – The RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian Prisoners of War, is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks.
- September 15 – Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) established in the United States.
- September 24 – WWII: Andrée Borrel and Lise de Baissac become the first female SOE agents to be parachuted into occupied France.
- September 27 – WWII: Both commerce raiding German auxiliary cruiser Stier and American Liberty ship SS Stephen Hopkins sink following a gun battle in the South Atlantic. Hilfskreuzer Stier is the only commerce raider to be sunk by a defensively equipped merchant ship.
- October 2 – The British cruiser HMS Curacoa collides with the liner RMS Queen Mary (carrying troops from the United States) off the coast of Donegal and sinks; 338 drown.
- October 3 – The first A-4 rocket is successfully launched from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket flies 147 kilometres wide and reaches a height of 84.5 kilometres, becoming the first man-made object to reach space.
- October 9 – The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act passed by the Parliament of Australia formalizes Australian autonomy from the United Kingdom.
- 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 13 – WWII: North Atlantic convoy SC 104 is attacked by U-boats sinking seven ships.
- October 14 – A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou off Newfoundland, killing 137.
- October 16
- October 18 – WWII – Hitler issues Commando Order which stipulates that all Allied commandos encountered by German forces should be executed immediately without trial, even in proper uniforms, in response to the Dieppe Raid and Operation Basalt conducted by the Allies. After the war, the Nuremberg trials found this order a direct violation of the laws and customs of war.
- 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 23–November 4 – WWII: Second Battle of El Alamein: British troops go on the offensive against the Axis forces.
- October 26 – WWII: Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands: Two Japanese aircraft carriers are heavily damaged and one U.S. Navy carrier is sunk.
- October 28 – The Alaska Highway is completed.
- October 29 – The Holocaust: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews.
- October 30 – WWII:
- November 1 – WWII: North Atlantic convoy SC 107 is heavily attacked by U-boats sinking fifteen ships.
- November 2 – A USAAF squadron, including B-24 Liberators, intercepts many Luftwaffe patrols off the coast of Oran, Algeria.
- November 3 – WWII: Second Battle of El Alamein: German forces under Erwin Rommel are forced to retreat during the night.
- November 8 – WWII:
- Operation Torch: United States and United Kingdom forces land in French North Africa.
- French Resistance Coup in Algiers: 400 French civil resisters neutralize the Vichyist XIXth Army Corps and the Vichyist generals (Juin, Darlan, etc.) thus allowing the immediate success of Operation Torch in Algiers, and ultimately the whole of French North Africa.
- November 9 – WWII: U.S serviceman Edward Leonski is hanged at Melbourne's Pentridge Prison for the "Brown-Out" murders of 3 women in May.
- November 10 – WWII: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France, following French Admiral François Darlan's agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
- November 12 – WWII: Guadalcanal Campaign: A naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American forces.
- November 13 – WWII:
- November 15 – WWII:
- The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal ends: Although the United States Navy suffers heavy losses, it retains control of Guadalcanal.
- A BOAC scheduled passenger flight, a DC-3 with registration G-AGBB, (formerly KLM PH-ALI, Ibis), en route between Lisbon and Bristol, is attacked over the Bay of Biscay by German fighters. Although damaged, it escapes and lands in England. Other attacks follow on the same aircraft and scheduled route: April 19 and June 1, 1943 (fatal).
- British forces capture Derna, Libya.
- November 18 – WWII: North Atlantic convoy ON 144 is attacked by U-boats sinking five ships.
- November 19 – WWII: Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counter-attacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR's favor.
- November 20 – WWII: British forces capture Benghazi.
- 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 22 – WWII: Battle of Stalingrad: The situation for the German attackers of Stalingrad seems desperate during the Soviet counter-attack Operation Uranus, and General Friedrich Paulus sends Adolf Hitler a telegram saying that the German Sixth Army is surrounded.
- November 23 – WWII
- A German U-boat sinks the 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 on April 3, 1943.
- Legislation approves the United States Coast Guard Women's Reserve to help fill jobs and free men to serve during the war effort. They are known as the SPARS ("Semper Paratus, Always Ready!")
- November 25–26 – WWII: Operation Harling: A British Special Operations Executive team, together with Greek Resistance fighters, blows up the Gorgopotamos viaduct in the first major sabotage act in occupied continental Europe.
- November 26 – The movie Casablanca premières at the Hollywood Theater in New York City.
- November 27 – WWII: At Toulon, the French navy scuttles its ships and submarines to keep them out of Nazi hands.
- November 28
- November 29 – The Blue Star Line cargo liner MV Dunedin Star runs aground on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. Crew and passengers survive following a 26-day overland trek to Windhoek.
- 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 4
- December 7 – WWII: British commandos conduct Operation Frankton, a raid on shipping in Bordeaux harbour.
- December 8 – A fire at Seacliff Lunatic Asylum in New Zealand kills 39 patients.
- December 17 – The Allies issue the Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations, the first time they publicly acknowledge the Holocaust.
- December 22
- An avalanche in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania kills 26, including Vulcan Crucible Steel heir-apparent Samuel A. Stafford Sr., when two 100 ton boulders fall on a bus filled with wartime steel workers on their way home.
- An airplane carrying prominent Ustashe general Jure Francetić crashes. Francetić dies as result of the injuries on December 27.
- December 24 – French Admiral Darlan, the former Vichy leader who has switched over to the Allies following the Torch landings, is assassinated in Algiers.
- December 27 – The Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia is founded.
- December 28 – North Atlantic Convoy ON 154 is heavily attacked by U-boats sinking thirteen ships.
- DDT is first used as a pesticide.
- 1942 FIFA World Cup competition in Association football, which Nazi Germany sought to host, is not held, due to World War II.
- January 1
- January 2
- Dennis Hastert, American politician, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- Hugh Shelton, American military leader, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- January 3
- January 4
- January 7 – Vasily Alekseyev, Soviet weightlifter
- January 8
- January 14 – Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, Chief Justice of India
- January 17
- January 19 – Michael Crawford, English actor, singer and entertainer
- January 25
- January 26 – Soad Hosny, Egyptian actress (d. 2001)
- January 31
- February 1 – Terry Jones, Welsh actor and writer
- February 2 – Graham Nash, American (English-born) rock musician (The Hollies)
- February 5 – Roger Staubach, American football player
- February 6
- February 7 – Gareth Hunt, English actor (d. 2007)
- February 9 – Carole King, American singer and composer
- February 12 – Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel
- February 13
- February 14 – Michael Bloomberg, American businessman, philanthropist, and the founder of Bloomberg L.P., Mayor of New York City
- February 15 – Sherry Jackson, American actress
- February 19 – Paul Krause, American football player
- February 20
- February 21 – Margarethe von Trotta, German actress, film director, and writer
- February 24 – Joseph Lieberman, American politician
- February 25 – Karen Grassle, American actress
- February 27
- February 28
- March 2
- March 5 – Felipe González, Prime Minister of Spain
- March 7
- March 9 – John Cale, Welsh composer and musician
- March 12
- March 13
- March 16 – James Soong, Taiwan politician
- March 21 – Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of Yemen (1990 to 2012)
- March 23 – Walter Rodney, Guyanese historian and political figure
- March 25 – Aretha Franklin, American singer
- March 26 – Erica Jong, American author
- March 27
- March 28
- March 29
- March 30 – Ruben Kun, Nauruan politician and former President of Nauru
- April 1 – Samuel R. Delany, American science fiction author
- April 2
- April 3 – Marsha Mason, American actress
- April 5
- April 6 – Barry Levinson, American film producer and director
- April 8 – Roger Chapman, British rock singer (Family)
- April 9 – James Cowan, Australian novelist
- April 10
- April 12 – Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
- April 14
- April 15
- April 17
- April 19 – Frank Elstner, German television presenter
- April 20 – Arto Paasilinna, Finnish author
- April 23 – Sandra Dee, American actress (d. 2005)
- April 24 – Barbra Streisand, American singer, actress, composer
- April 25
- April 26
- April 27
- May 2 – Jacques Rogge, Belgian International Olympic Committee president
- May 3 – Věra Čáslavská, Czech gymnast
- May 5 – Tammy Wynette, American country singer (d. 1998)
- May 8 – Terry Neill, Northern Irish footballer and football manager
- May 9 – John Ashcroft, United States Attorney General
- May 10 – Youssouf Sambo Bâ, Burkinabé politician
- May 12 – Ian Dury, British musician (d. 2000)
- May 17 – Taj Mahal, American singer and guitarist
- May 18 – Albert Hammond, English-born American musician and composer
- May 22
- May 23 – Gabriel Liiceanu, Romanian philosopher
- May 24 – Ichirō Ozawa, Japanese politician
- May 28 – Stanley B. Prusiner, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- May 31 – Jahar Dasgupta, Indian painter
- June 2 – Eduard Malofeyev, Russian football coach and former international player
- June 3
- June 5 – Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union
- June 6 – Klaus Bednarz, German journalist and writer (d. 2015)
- June 8 – James Tien, Hong Kong-Taiwanese actor
- June 10
- June 11 – Jeannette Vivian Corbiere Lavell, Canadian-Anishinaabe activist
- June 12 – Bert Sakmann, German physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate
- June 14 – Abdulsalami Abubakar, former President of Nigeria
- June 16 – John Rostill, English bassist, musician and composer (The Shadows) (d. 1973)
- June 17 – Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian International Atomic Energy Agency director, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
- June 18
- June 20 – Brian Wilson, American singer-composer-producer
- June 24 – Michele Lee, American actress, singer and dancer
- June 26
- July 1
- July 2 – Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
- July 4
- July 7 – Carmen Duncan, Australian actress
- July 9 – Richard Roundtree, American actor
- July 10
- July 13
- July 15 – Mil Máscaras, Mexican professional wrestler
- July 16 – Margaret Court, Australian tennis player
- July 18 – Adolf Ogi, member of the Swiss Federal Council
- July 23 – Myra Hindley, English multiple murderer (d. 2002)
- July 24 – Chris Sarandon, American actor
- July 26 – Hannelore Elsner, German actress
- July 27 – Dennis Ralston, American tennis player
- July 28 – Kaari Utrio, Finnish writer
- 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 6 – Evelyn Hamann, German actress (d. 2007)
- August 7
- August 13 – Arthur K. Cebrowski, American admiral (d. 2005)
- August 15 – Friede Springer, German publisher and widow of Axel Springer
- August 17 – Roshan Seth, British actor
- August 18
- August 19 – Fred Dalton Thompson, American politician and actor
- August 20 – Isaac Hayes, American singer and actor (d. 2008)
- August 24 – Hans Peter Korff, German actor
- August 27 – "Captain" Daryl Dragon, American musician (Captain & Tennille)
- August 28 – José Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola
- August 31 – Isao Aoki, Japanese golfer
- September 3
- September 5
- September 7 – Alan Haskvitz, American educator
- September 8 – Želimir Žilnik, Serbian film director
- September 13 – Hissène Habré, President of Chad
- September 14 – Bernard MacLaverty, Irish writer
- September 15 – Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People's Republic of China
- September 16 – Tadamasa Goto, Japanese yakuza boss
- September 17 – Des Lynam, British television host, presenter
- September 18 – Gabriella Ferri, Italian singer
- September 19 – Freda Payne, American singer and actress
- September 22
- September 24 – Ilkka "Danny" Lipsanen, Finnish singer
- September 29
- September 30 – Frankie Lymon, American singer (d. 1968)
- October 1 – Günter Wallraff, German investigative journalist
- October 2 – Asha Parekh, Indian actress
- October 6
- October 7
- October 11 – Amitabh Bachchan, Indian actor
- October 12 – Daliah Lavi, Israeli actress and singer
- October 13
- October 14 – Evelio Javier, Filipino politician, lawyer, and civil servant (d. 1986)
- October 19 – Andrew Vachss, American author and attorney
- October 20
- October 21 – Judith Sheindlin, American retired judge turned television personality (Judge Judy)
- October 23 – Michael Crichton, American author (d. 2008)
- October 24 – Frank Delaney, Irish novelist, journalist and broadcaster
- October 26 – Bob Hoskins, British actor (d. 2014)
- October 29 – Bob Ross, American painter and television presenter (d. 1995)
- October 31 – David Ogden Stiers, American actor and voice-over artist
- November 1
- November 2
- November 5 – Pierangelo Bertoli, Italian singer-songwriter (d. 2002)
- November 7 – Jean Shrimpton, English model and actress
- November 8
- November 10
- November 15 – Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born pianist and conductor
- November 16 – Joanna Pettet, British-born Canadian actress
- November 17
- November 18
- November 20 – Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States
- November 22
- November 24 – Billy Connolly, Scottish comedian and singer
- November 25 – Rosa von Praunheim, German film director, author and painter
- November 26 – Khalil Kalfat, Egyptian intellectual and writer
- November 27
- November 28 – Paul Warfield, American football player
- November 29 – Philippe Huttenlocher, Swiss baritone
- December 3 – Alice Schwarzer, German feminist, founder and publisher of the German feminist journal EMMA
- December 4 – Gemma Jones, British actress
- December 6 – Peter Handke, Austrian novelist
- December 7 – Peter Tomarken, American game-show host (d. 2006)
- December 9 – Dick Butkus, American football player
- December 12 – Peter Sarstedt, British musician
- December 17
- December 20 – Bob Hayes, American athlete
- December 21
- December 29 – Rajesh Khanna, Indian actor (d. 2012)
- December 30
- January 4
- January 6 – Henri de Baillet-Latour, Belgian International Olympic Committee president (b. 1876)
- January 9 – Heber Doust Curtis, American astronomer (b. 1872)
- January 14 – Porfirio Barba-Jacob, Colombian poet and writer (b. 1883)
- January 16
- January 18 – James P. Parker, United States Navy commodore (b. 1855)
- January 22 – Walter Sickert, English Impressionist painter (b. 1860)
- January 26 – Felix Hausdorff, German mathematician (suicide) (b. 1868)
- February 8 – Fritz Todt, Nazi German engineer (b. 1891)
- February 11 – Ugo Pasquale Mifsud, 3rd Prime Minister of Malta (b. 1889)
- February 12 – Grant Wood, American painter (b. 1891)
- February 13 – Epitácio Pessoa, former president of Brazil (b. 1865)
- February 14 – Mirosław Ferić, Polish pilot of the No. 303 Squadron in Northolt (b. 1915)
- February 19 – Frank Abbandando, American gangster (executed) (b. 1910)
- February 20 – Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, ruler of Bahrain (b. 1872)
- February 22 – Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer (suicide with wife) (b. 1881)
- February 28 – Karel Doorman, Dutch admiral (killed in action) (b. 1889)
- March 1
- March 8 – José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban chess player (b. 1888)
- March 10 – William Henry Bragg, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1862)
- March 12 – Robert Bosch, German industrialist, engineer and inventor (b. 1861)
- March 14 – René Bull, British illustrator and photographer (b. 1872)
- March 21 – J. S. Woodsworth, Canadian politician (b. 1874)
- March 27 – John W. Wilcox, Jr., American admiral (lost overboard) (b. 1882)
- April 15
- April 16 – Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, granddaughter of Queen Victoria (b. 1878)
- April 17 – Jean Baptiste Perrin, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1870)
- April 18 – Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, American heiress, socialite and sculptor (b. 1875)
- April 24
- April 27 – Arthur L. Bristol, American admiral (b. 1886)
- May 3 – Thorvald Stauning, Prime Minister of Denmark (b. 1873)
- May 7
- May 9 – Graham McNamee, American radio announcer (b. 1888)
- May 10 – Joe Weber, American vaudevillian (b. 1867)
- May 14 – Frank Churchill, American composer (b. 1901)
- May 16 – Bronisław Malinowski, Polish anthropologist (b. 1884)
- May 19 – A. E. Waite, British occultist (b. 1857)
- May 27 – Chen Duxiu, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (b. 1879)
- May 29
- June 4
- Lofton R. Henderson, United States Marine Corps aviator and commanding officer of Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 241 (VMSB-241); killed in action at the Battle of Midway (b. 1903)
- Reinhard Heydrich, headed the Nazi Reich Main Security Office and was Reich governor of Bohemia and Moravia (b. 1904)
- John C. Waldron, United States Navy aviator and commander of Torpedo Squadron 8, killed in action at the Battle of Midway (b. 1900)
- Tamon Yamaguchi, Japanese admiral, killed in action at the Battle of Midway (b. 1892)
- June 5 – Virginia Lee Corbin, American actress (b. 1910)
- June 7 – Alan Blumlein, English electronics engineer (b. 1903)
- June 25 – Zénon Bernard, Luxembourgish communist politician (b. 1893)
- June 26 – Gene Stack, first American major league baseball player to be drafted during World War II as well as the first to die in service (b. 1920)
- June 30 – William Henry Jackson, American photographer (b. 1843)
- July 1 – Peadar Toner Mac Fhionnlaoich, Irish-language writer (b. 1857)
- July 8
- July 15 – Wenceslao Vinzons, Filipino politician and resistance leader (bayoneted to death) (b. 1910)
- July 23 – Adam Czerniaków, Polish engineer and senator (suicide) (b. 1880)
- July 26 – Roberto Arlt, Argentine writer (b. 1900)
- July 28 – Flinders Petrie, English Egyptologist (b. 1853)
- July 30 – Jimmy Blanton, American bassist (b. 1918)
- August 3
- August 12 – Phillips Holmes, American actor (b. 1907)
- August 22 – Michel Fokine, Russian choreographer and dancer (b. 1880)
- August 25 – Prince George, Duke of Kent, fourth eldest son of George V (b. 1902)
- September 14 – Ezra Seymour Gosney, American philanthropist and eugenicist (b. 1855)
- September 20 – Hans-Joachim Marseille, German World War II fighter ace (b. 1919)
- October 1 – Ants Piip, Estonian lawyer, diplomat and politician (b. 1884)
- October 6 – Siegmund Glücksmann, German-Jewish politician (b. 1884)
- October 12 – Aritomo Gotō, Japanese admiral (b. 1888)
- October 15 – Dame Marie Tempest, English actress (b. 1864)
- October 20 – May Robson, Australian actress (b. 1858)
- October 23 – Ralph Rainger, American composer and songwriter (b. 1901)
- October 24 – James C. Morton, American character actor (b. 1884)
- November 1 – Hugo Distler, German composer (b. 1908)
- November 5 – George M. Cohan, American songwriter and entertainer (b. 1878)
- November 9 – Edna May Oliver, American actress (b. 1883)
- November 12 – Laura Hope Crews, American actress (b. 1879)
- November 13
- November 16 – Joseph Schmidt, Polish tenor (b. 1904)
- November 19 – Bruno Schulz, Polish writer and painter (shot) (b. 1892)
- November 21 – Count Leopold Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (b. 1863)
- November 30
- December 3 – Henner Henkel, German tennis champion (b. 1915)
- December 6 – Amos Rusie, American baseball player and MLB Hall of Famer (b. 1871)
- December 7 – Orland Steen Loomis, Governor-elect of Wisconsin (b. 1893)
- December 12 – Helen Westley, stage and film character actress (b. 1875)
- December 22 – Franz Boas, German anthropologist (b. 1858)
- December 24 – François Darlan, French admiral (assassinated) (b. 1881)
- December 30 – Nevile Henderson, British diplomat (b. 1882)
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- "Iran and the Polish Exodus from Russia 1942". parstimes. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Musial, Bogdan, ed. (2004). "Treblinka - ein Todeslager der "Aktion Reinhard"". Aktion Reinhard" - Die Vernichtung der Juden im Generalgouvernement. Osnabrück. pp. 257–281.
- Niewyk, Donald L.; Nicosia, Francis R. (2000). The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust. Columbia University Press. p. 210. ISBN 0-231-11200-9.
- Quigley, Carroll (1966). Tragedy And Hope. New York: Macmillan. p. 745. ISBN 0-945001-10-X.
- Robert Forczyk (2008). Sevastopol 1942, Von Manstein's triumph, pp. 35–37. ISBN 978-1-84603-221-9
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- Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. pp. 148–150. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
- Langley, Mike (1988). Anders Lassen VC MC. London: New English Library. ISBN 0450424928.
- Lewis, Damien (2014). Churchill's Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces... London: Quercus. ISBN 9781848669178.
- On One Clear Day: The Story of the Jewish Community of Wolbrom Before, During and After the Holocaust.
- Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. pp. 159–163. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
- Muggenthaler, August Karl (1977). German Raiders of WWII. Prentice-Hall. pp. 241–242. ISBN 0-13-354027-8.
- Rohwer, J. and Hummelchen, G. (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. p. 167. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.
- Edwards, Bernard (1999). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs. Brockhampton Press. p. 115. ISBN 1-86019-927-5.
- Waters, John M., Jr. (1967). Bloody Winter. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company. pp. 38–55.
- Blair, Clay (1998). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted 1942-1945. Random House. pp. 118–120. ISBN 0-679-45742-9.
- Dawson, Jeff (2005). Dead Reckoning: The Dunedin Star Disaster. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-7538-2044-7. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
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