December 7, 1941 — Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; they also attack the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway.
March 11, 1942 — Gen. MacArthur leaves the Philippines for Australia. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright becomes the new U.S. commander.
April 10, 1942 — The Bataan Death March begins in the Philippines as 76,000 starving and sick Allied POWs are forced to walk more than 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water. Between 5,000 and 11,000 captives didn’t make it to their destination, a POW camp named Camp O’Donnell.
April 18, 1942 — A surprise U.S. air raid commanded by Colonel Jimmy Doolittle from the USS Hornet against Tokyo provides a big boost to Allied morale.
June 4-5, 1942 — The Battle of Midway is a turning point in the war. It is a decisive victory for the U.S. against Japan as squadrons of U.S. torpedo planes and dive bombers from USS Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown attack and destroy four Japanese carriers, a cruiser, and damage another cruiser and two destroyers.
August 7, 1942 — The 1st Marine Division invades Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. It’s the first U.S. amphibious landing of the Pacific War
April 18, 1943 — Japanese Admiral Yamamoto is shot down and killed while flying in a Japanese bomber near Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
November 20, 1943 — U.S. Troops invade Makin and Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.
June 15, 1944 — U.S. Marines invade Saipan in the Mariana Islands
June 19, 1944 — Over the Philippine Sea, U.S. Carrier-based fighters shoot down 220 Japanese planes, while losing only 20 American planes in what has been dubbed the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”
July 21, 1944 — American forces invade Guam.
October 20, 1944 — U.S. Sixth Army invades Leyte in the Philippines.
October 25, 1944 — The first suicide air (Kamikaze) attacks occur against U.S. warships in Leyte Gulf. By the end of the war, Japan will have sent an estimated 2,257 aircraft. "The only weapon I feared in the war," Adm. Halsey will say later.
February 19, 1945 — U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima.
April 1, 1945 — The final amphibious landing of the war occurs as the U.S. Tenth Army invades Okinawa.
August 6, 1945 — The first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima from a B-29 piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets
August 9, 1945 — After a second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki decide to seek an immediate peace with the Allies.
August 15, 1945 — Emperor Hirohito announces Japan's surrender to the Japanese public via radio broadcast.
September 2, 1945 — President Truman declares VJ Day as a the Japanese formally surrender during a ceremony on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.