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Objective chronological listing of significant events leading up to modern China.

  • January - Britain and the United States agree on the Europe first strategy, making the defeat of Germany a priority.
  • January – Third battle of Changsha. Japanese attack on Changsha fails with over 50,000 casualties. First Allied victory after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • January - Japanese forces enter Burma from Thailand.
  • February - Rectification movement in Yan'an. A long series of political campaigns that would cummulate in Mao Zedong becoming absolute leader of the Communist Party by the end of the war in 1945. Thousands are killed in the process.
  • February – Japanese forces capture Singapore, a British colony.
  • March – U.S. general Joseph Stilwell arrives in China and becomes Chiang Kai-shek’s chief of staff.
  • March - Chinese Expeditionary Force made up of China's best troops enter Burma.
  • March - Japanese forces capture Rangoon, Burma. British forces in retreat.
  • April - Conflicts between Joseph Stilwell and Chinese commanders in Burma. Stilwell takes command.
  • April – U.S. bombers involved in the Doolittle raid on Japan crash land in China. Japan retaliates by attacking Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces with a force of 100,000 to eliminate airfields in those areas.
  • April - The Chinese 38th Division commanded by Sun Liren relieves the British First Burma Division at Yanangyaung.
  • April – Japanese forces capture Lashio, Burma. Last major supply line into China is cut. Allied forces in Burma are cut off.
  • April – Allied forces in Burma in general retreat. British forces and part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force retreat towards India. Large portion of the Chinese force disintegrates in the Burmese jungle on their way back to China. By the time all Chinese forces left Burma in August, half of the 100,000 crack Chinese troops that began the campaign has been lost, along with their American equipment.
  • May – U.S. forces in the Philippines surrender.
  • May - Between May and July, Japanese forces massacre about 250,000 Chinese civilians along the Chinese coast in retaliation of their assistance to the Doolittle crew.
  • May - Regular flights over the Himalayan Mountains (the Hump) begin. The flights from India would be the only major means to provide foreign supplies to China for the next three years.
  • June – U.S. Navy defeats Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway.
  • June - Chiang Kai-shek expresses dissatisfaction of Joseph Stilwell.
  • June - Germans capture Tobruk, North Africa. British forces in retreat.
  • June - Chiang Kai-shek unhappy with diversion of U.S. supplies from the Chinese theater.
  • August – U.S. Marines land on Guadalcanal.
  • September - Chinese troops transported to India to receive U.S. training. The troops would be commanded by Joseph Stilwell.
  • September - Communist coup in Xinjiang province fails.
  • October –The United States and the United Kingdom agree to drop “extraterritoriality” in China – the practice of making foreign citizens immune from Chinese law.
  • November– British forces defeat the Germans at El Alamein.
  • November – Allied forces land in North Africa.
  • November – Soong Mayling, wife of Chiang Kai-shek, visits the United States.