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Selected: December 7
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1931 — , December 7

  • CBI - China: Day 81 of 154 of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria.

1936 — , December 7

  • Spain: Day 144 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.

1937 — , December 7

  • Spain: Day 509 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 154 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

1938 — , December 7

  • Spain: Day 874 of 985 of the Spanish Civil War.
  • CBI - China: Day 519 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 57 of 81 of Japan's Operation GUANGDONG.

1939 — , December 7

  • ETO: Norway, Denmark and Sweden declare their neutrality. Italy reaffirms her neutrality.
  • Finland: Day 8 of 105 of the Russo-Finnish War. The Soviet 9th Army launches an offensive entering central Finland. Britain and France agree to help Finland but there is no way for them to get any troops over there.
  • CBI - China: Day 884 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 23 of 381 of the Battle of South Guangxi.

1940 — , December 7

  • Atlantic: The German heavy cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER leaves Kiel for an anti-shipping sortie into the Atlantic.
  • ETO - UK: Day 93 of 258 of the Blitz.
  • East Africa: Day 181 of 537 of Italy's East African campaign in the lands south of Egypt.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,250 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • CBI - Thailand: Day 68 of 221 of the Franco-Thai War (Vichy France vs Thailand).

1941 — , December 7

  • PTO: Japanese launch a deadly surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, followed by attacks on the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Siam, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway. The "sleeping giant" has been awakened.
    Spotlight...

    The USS ARIZONA, December 7th, 1941

    The superstructure of the ARIZONA, bent and broken, burns and smolders on the "day that will live in infamy." The explosion shattered much of the interior of the great ship, including much of her fuel storage, allowing oil to flow out and rise to the surface, where it would feed fires on the ARIZONA for days. Oil from her broken innards continues to leak out to this day, leaving a visible sheen and aroma.

    Of all the death and destruction inflicted by the attack on Pearl Harbor, the loss of the USS ARIZONA and its 1,177 officers and crewmen became particularly emblematic to Americans.

    America was particularly outraged by the fact that Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor came 30 minutes before their 14 Part Message (subsequently described as a declaration of war) was delivered to Secretary of State Cordell Hull in Washington DC. Oddly enough, Japan had acted similarly in 1904 at the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War when it attacked Russia three hours before its declaration was received by the Russian government. Japan answered Russia's indignation by referencing their 1809 attack on Sweden without a formal declaration.

    The "requirement" to declare war before commencing hostilities was not made international law until the Second Hague Peace Conference was held in October 1907, of which Japan was a signatory.

    Dates marking the beginning of WWII around the world...

    Related WWII Store items...

    Of the targets other than Hawaii attacked by the Japanese on this day (Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Siam, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway), only Midway Island was actually attacked on the same date of December 7th. The others were attacked on December 8th according to their local dates. However, because we wanted to convey the scope of Japan's massive wave of attacks throughout the Pacific, we feel they need to be mentioned along with Pearl Harbor and Midway Island.

    The following article may shed light on why dates will often be off by a day...

  • USA: President Roosevelt issues and order to the FBI to round up everyone on their list of German, Italian, and Japanese aliens in the US who might pose a clear threat to the country. The Bureau will move to arrest these enemies and present them to either the military or immigration officials for hearings (represented by counsel) and for possible deportation. Within 72 hours, more than 3,800 aliens will be taken into custody without incident.
    Spotlight...

    J Edgar G Hoover at his desk, 24 Sep 42

    Life during wartime was incredibly busy for J Edgar Hoover and the FBI. The Bureau had a vital role to play in protecting the homeland and supporting the war effort, from rounding up draft dodgers to investigating companies that deliberately supplied defective war materials just to turn a tidier profit.

    The FBI continued performing background checks on federal workers to keep criminals from entering the government. It kept working to head off espionage and stepped up its efforts to gather and analyze intelligence and to feed it to policymakers. The FBI Laboratory, growing stronger and more capable by the year, played a pioneering role by helping to break enemy codes and by engineering sophisticated intercepts.

    The FBI was also in charge of preventing sabotage at home, and that meant running to ground every hint and rumor of potential attack. None of the reports the Bureau received and investigated (more than 20,000 in all) ultimately panned out and not a single act of enemy-directed sabotage was carried out on US soil during the conflict. But that was hardly an accident.

    Before the country entered the war, the FBI had surveyed more than 2,000 major industrial plants in the country and provided a series of suggestions on tightening their security, including lessons agents learned from the British. The Bureau employed a variety of double agents to disrupt enemy espionage, set up radio networks to gather intelligence and spread disinformation, and used its growing scientific capabilities to track down spies.

    The rolls of the FBI swelled from just 2,400 agents and support employees in 1940 to a war-time peak of more than 13,000 in 1944.

    J Edgar Hoover wanted nothing to do with the hysteria that called for rounding up Japanese-Americans on a much wider scale. He opposed that step, arguing that the Bureau had already moved against the real threats. Ultimately, the evacuation and internment were deemed imperative and the FBI became responsible for arresting curfew and evacuation violators.

    Related WWII Store items...

  • Germany: Hitler issues the Night and Fog decree which says anyone guilty of endangering the "security or state of readiness" will simply vanish into the night and fog.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 91 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 67 of 98 of the Battle of Moscow. Soviet Army launches a major counter-offensive around Moscow.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 39 of 248 of the Siege of Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula.
  • MTO - Libya: Day 242 of 256 of the Siege of Tobruk. Tobruk is taken by the British 8th Army. German and Italian forces withdraw to a defensive position at Gazala.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,615 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Japan: Japan formally declares war on Britain and the US.

1942 — , December 7

  • USA: The US Navy launches the Battleship USS NEW JERSEY and 11 other ships on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
  • ETO - France: British Commandos make a daring raid on Bordeaux harbor, rowing 50 miles up the River Gironde to attach limpet mines to German shipping.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 456 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 19 of 59 of the Battle of Velikiye Luki, near Leningrad. This stalemate does help ease the siege a little, but mostly it keeps German troops from being sent to other fronts.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 217 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket, USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 14 of 21 of the Battle of Sychevka, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 13 of 26 of the 2nd Battle of Rzhev-Sychevka, Russia, launched by the Soviets as Operation MARS.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 13 of 22 of the Battle of Belyi, Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 13 of 17 of the Battle of Luchesa (Vitebsk), Russia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 13 of 29 of the Battle of Molodoi Tud River, Russia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 108 of 165 of the Battle of Stalingrad, bloodiest battle in human history.
  • MTO - Tunisia: Day 21 of 178 of the Battle of Tunisia. The ground fighting subsides as the German attacks in the Tebourba area decrease in intensity. US 12th Air Force provides air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 1,980 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
  • PTO - Alaska: Day 184 of 435 of the Battle of Kiska, Aleutian Islands.
  • PTO - Malaya: Day 292 of 357 of the Battle of Timor Island, a long guerrilla war ending in Japanese victory.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 19 of 66 of the Battle of Buna-Gona. The US makes a beachhead landing south of Buna cutting off the Japanese troops there.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 123 of 187 of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1943 — , December 7

  • Russian Front - North: Day 821 of 872 of the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Russian Front - North: Day 582 of 658 of the Siege of the Kholm Pocket. USSR lays siege to the Kholm Pocket but the Germans hold out for a about a year and a half.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 106 of 122 of the Battle of the Lower Dnieper River, USSR.
  • MTO - Italy: RAF and US Air Forces provide air support.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,345 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 36 of 49 of the Battle of West Changde.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 80 of 219 of the Battle of Shaggy Ridge.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 77 of 162 of the Battle of the Huon Peninsula.
  • PTO - Solomon Islands: Day 37 of 295 of the Battle of the Bougainville Islands.

1944 — , December 7

  • ETO - France: Day 129 of 284 of the Battle of Brittany.
  • ETO - France: Day 84 of 236 of the Siege of Dunkirk.
  • ETO - Germany: Day 80 of 145 of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
  • Russian Front - Finland: Day 84 of 223 of the Lapland War. Finland and Russia have joined forces to kick the Germans out of Finland's most northern province.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 54 of 206 of the Battle of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
  • Russian Front - Center: Day 47 of 99 of the Siege of Memel, a border town of Lithuania and East Prussia.
  • Russian Front - South: Day 40 of 108 of the Battle of Budapest, Hungary.
  • MTO - Austria: US 15th Air Force B-17s and B-24s make predawn raids in Austria.
  • MTO - Italy: US and Royal Air Forces provides air support for the Allied ground units.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 251 of 302 of the Chinese Salween Offensive.
  • CBI - Burma: Day 24 of 31 of the Battle of Bhamo.
  • CBI - China: Day 2,711 of 2,987 of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.
    • Day 235 of 259 of Japan's Operation ICHI-GO.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 346 of 597 of the Battle of New Britain.
  • PTO - New Guinea: Day 230 of 481 of the Battle of Western New Guinea.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 49 of 299 of the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, aka the Liberation of the Philippines or the Philippines Campaign.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 49 of 73 of the Battle of Leyte.
  • PTO - Philippines: Day 27 of 41 of the Naval Battle of Ormoc Bay.

1945 — , December 7

  • Philippines: Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamahita is found guilty by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and is sentenced to death by hanging.

Day-By-Day listings for December 7 were last modified on Monday, February 1, 2016
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