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|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1910s 1920s 1930s – 1940s – 1950s 1960s 1970s|
|Years:||1939 1940 1941 – 1942 – 1943 1944 1945|
|1942 by topic:|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Works and introductions categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2695|
|British Regnal year||6 Geo. 6 – 7 Geo. 6|
|Chinese calendar|| 辛巳年十一月十五日
— to —壬午年十一月廿四日
|- Vikram Samvat||1998–1999|
|- Shaka Samvat||1864–1865|
|- Kali Yuga||5043–5044|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||942–943|
|Japanese calendar|| Shōwa 17
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 31
|Thai solar calendar||2485|
Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar.
Below, events of World War II have the "WWII" prefix.
- January 1 – WWII: United States and Philippines troops fight the Battle of Bataan against Japanese forces.
- January 2 – WWII: Manila is captured by Japanese forces. All defending soldiers in Manila are killed.
- January 7 – WWII: The siege of the Bataan Peninsula begins.
- January 11 – WWII:
- Dutch East Indies campaign: Japan declares war on the Netherlands and invades the Dutch East Indies.
- Battle of Malaya: The Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur.
- January 13
- Sikorsky R-4 first flies, in the United States; it will become the first mass-produced helicopter.
- Heinkel test pilot Helmut Schenk becomes the first person to escape from a stricken aircraft with an ejection seat.
- January 16 – Actress Carole Lombard and her mother are among those killed in a plane crash near Las Vegas, Nevada, while returning from a tour to promote the sale of war bonds.
- January 19 – WWII:
- Japanese forces invade Burma.
- Establishment of United States VIII Bomber Command, later to become the Eighth Air Force, in Savannah, Georgia.
- January 20 – Holocaust: Nazis at the Wannsee conference in Berlin decide that the " final solution 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: Battle of Malaya: The last organized Allied forces leave British Malaya, ending the 54-day campaign, and the Johor–Singapore Causeway is severed.
- February 1 – WWII: The Command staff of the Eighth Air Force reaches England
- February 2 – WWII: President Franklin Delano 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 – Maritime Commission fleet operations transferred to War Shipping Administration (lasting until September 1, 1946).
- February 8
- António Óscar Carmona is elected president of Portugal.
- WWII: Top United States military leaders hold their first formal meeting to discuss American military strategy in the war.
- Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States.
- February 9
- Post of Chief of the Air Force Staff created.
- The ocean liner SS Normandie catches fire while being converted into the troopship USS Lafayette (AP-53) for WWII.
- February 10 – In the early hours of the morning the SS Normandie capsizes at pier 88 in New York City.
- 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 19 – WWII:
- February 19-23 – the Battle of Sittang Bridge British forces retreat to the Sittang 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 – MV Struma, carrying Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to British-administered Palestine, is torpedoed and sunk by the Soviet submarine Shch-213, killing at least 768, women and children, with only one survivor.
- February 24 – Propaganda: The Voice of America begins broadcasting.
- February 25 – The Princess Elizabeth registers for war service.
- 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 worst coal dust explosion to date, in Honkeiko, China, claims 1,549 lives.
- The 14th Academy Awards ceremony is held in Los Angeles; How Green Was My Valley wins Best Picture.
- 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) reorganizes the United States Army into three major commands: Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, later redesignated Army Service Forces.
- March 12 – WWII: General 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 US forces in the Philippines passes to Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright.
- March 17 – Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Bełżec opens in occupied Poland about 1 km south of the local railroad station of Bełżec in the Lublin district of the General Government. Between March and December 1942, at least 434,508 people are killed there.
- March 16 – WWII: New Zealand and Australia declared war on Thailand.
- March 18 – President Roosevelt 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 23 – WWII: The Germans burned down the Ukrainian village of Yelino ( Koriukivka Raion), killing 296 civilians.
- March 24 – The evacuation of Polish nationals from the Soviet Union took place by sea from Krasnovodsk to Pahlavi (Anzali), and (to a lesser extent) overland from Ashkabad to Mashhad. It was conducted in two phases: between 24 March and 5 April; and between 10 and 30 August 1942. In all, 115,000 people were 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: Operation Chariot - British Commandos raid St. Nazaire on the coast of Western France.
- April – Holocaust: the Nazi German extermination camp Sobibor 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 in the camp.
- Spring – 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 there, 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: the Japanese Navy attacks Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Royal Navy Cruisers HMS Cornwall (56) and HMS Dorsetshire (40) are sunk southwest of the island.
- April 9 – WWII:
- The Bataan Peninsula falls and the Bataan Death March begins.
- The Japanese Navy launches an air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (95) and Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire (D68) are sunk off the country's East Coast.
- 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 (P37) is sunk.
- April 14 – WWII: The German submarine U-85 (1941) is sunk by USS Roper (DD-147).
- April 15 – WWII: King George VI awards the George Cross to 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 – William Temple enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury.
- 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: United Kingdom 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 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/ 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 (SS-153).
- 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 the German U-boat, 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 31– June 1 – WWII: Attack on Sydney Harbour: Japanese submarines infiltrate Sydney Harbour in an attempt to attack Allied warships.
- June 1
- WWII: Mexico declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.
- The Grand Coulee Dam is finished on the Columbia River.
- 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 – 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 centre.
- 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 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 Theatre 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 – 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 – Holocaust: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.
- 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 – Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).
- July 31 – The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM) is founded.
- August 7 – WWII: Battle of Guadalcanal 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 – Walt Disney's animated film Bambi premieres in the United Kingdom.
- 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.
- August 13
- WWII: In Washington, D.C., six German would-be saboteurs are executed. (Two others are cooperative and receive sentences of life imprisonment instead; one is spared because of his relatively young age. Those imprisoned are freed a few years after the end of the war.)
- Quit India resolution is passed by the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which led to the start of a historical civil disobedience movement across India.
- Walt Disney's fifth animated film, Bambi, is released in the United States.
- August 14 – In London, instruments detect a massive burst of cosmic rays.
- August 15 – WWII: The American tanker SS Ohio reaches Malta as part of the convoy of Operation Pedestal.
- August 16
- Polish-Jewish teacher Janusz Korczak follows a group of Jewish children into the Treblinka death camp.
- The U.S. Navy blimp L-8 (Flight 101) comes ashore near San Francisco, eventually coming down in Daly City (the crew is missing).
- 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 22 – WWII: Brazil declares war on Germany and Italy.
- August 23 – WWII: German troops reach the suburbs of Stalingrad.
- 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 Halfa.
- September 3 – WWII: A German attempt to liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Lakhva leads to an uprising.
- September 5 – WWII: Battle of Milne Bay: Japanese forces suffer their first defeat on land.
- September 5 – The Jews of Wolbrom, Poland were rounded up by the Germans and their collaborators. What was once a flourishing community suddenly ceased to exist.
- 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 – Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) begins operation.
- September 12 – The RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian POWs, is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks.
- September 15 – Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD).
- September 24 – Andrée Borrel and Lise de Baissac become the first female SOE agents to be parachuted into occupied France.
- September 27 – WWII: Both commerce raiding hilfskreuzer Stier and Liberty ship Stephen Hopkins sink following a gun battle in the South Atlantic. Stier is the only commerce raider to be sunk by Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships.
- October 2 – The British cruiser HMS Curacoa (D41) 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 14 – A German U-boat sinks the ferry SS Caribou off Newfoundland, killing 137.
- October 16 – A hurricane and flood in Bombay kill 40,000.
- 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 – 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: British sailors board German submarine U-559 as it sinks in the Mediterranean and retrieve its Enigma machine and codebooks.
- November 2 – A USAF 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 resistants neutralize the Vichyist XIXth Army Corps and the Vichyist generals (Juin, Darlan, etc.), so 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: Battle of Guadalcanal: A naval battle near Guadalcanal starts between Japanese and American forces.
- November 13 – WWII:
- Battle of Guadalcanal: Aviators from the USS Enterprise sink the Japanese battleship Hiei.
- British forces capture Tobruk.
- 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.
- 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 favour.
- 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.
- WWII: Legislation approved the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve to help fill jobs and free men to serve during the war effort. They were known as the SPARs - Semper Paratus, Always Ready!
- November 25– 26 – WWII: Operation Harling: A British SOE 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 Theatre 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
- Cocoanut Grove fire: A fire in the Cocoanut Grove night club in Boston, Massachusetts, kills 491.
- The large-scale German "pacification" of the Zamojszczyzna region of Poland begins.
- 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 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 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.
- 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 had switched over to the Allies following the Torch landings, is assassinated in Algiers.
- December 27 – The Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia is founded.
- DDT is first used as a pesticide.
- C. S. Lewis publishes The Screwtape Letters.
- January 1
- Martin Frost, American politician
- Country Joe McDonald, American musician
- Gennadi Sarafanov, Russian cosmonaut (d. 2005)
- January 2
- Dennis Hastert, American politician and former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- Hugh Shelton, American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- January 3
- Laszlo Solyom, President of Hungary
- John Thaw, English actor (d. 2002)
- January 4 – Dame Marcela Contreras, Chilean-British immunologist and educator
- January 5
- Jan Leeming, former BBC newsreader
- Maurizio Pollini, Italian pianist
- Charlie Rose, American talk show host
- January 7 – Vasiliy Alekseyev, Soviet weightlifter
- January 8
- Stephen Hawking, British physicist
- Junichiro Koizumi, former Prime Minister of Japan
- Yvette Mimieux, American actress
- January 8 – George Passmore, English performance artist (Gilbert and George)
- January 11
- January 14 – Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, Chief Justice of India
- January 17
- January 19 – Michael Crawford, English singer and actor
- January 20 – Linda Moulton Howe, American investigative journalist and documentary producer-writer-director-editor
- January 25
- Carl Eller, American football player
- Eusébio, Portuguese footballer
- January 26 – Souad Hosni, Egyptian actress (d. 2001)
- January 31
- Derek Jarman, English director and writer (d. 1994)
- Daniela Bianchi, Italian actress
- February 1 – Terry Jones, Welsh actor and writer
- February 2
- Bo Hopkins, American actor
- Graham Nash, American (English-born) rock musician ( The Hollies)
- February 5 – Roger Staubach, American football player
- February 6 – Ahmad-Jabir Ahmadov Ismail oghlu, professor, "Honored teacher" of Azerbaijan
- February 9 – Carole King, American singer and composer
- February 12 – Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel
- February 13
- Carol Lynley, American actress
- Peter Tork, American musician and actor ( The Monkees)
- February 14
- February 15 – Sherry Jackson, American actress
- February 19 – Paul Krause, American football player
- February 20
- Phil Esposito, Canadian hockey player
- Mitch McConnell, United States Senator (R- KY)
- February 21 – Margarethe von Trotta, German actress, film director, and writer
- February 24 – Joseph Lieberman, American politician
- February 25 – Karen Grassle, American actress (Little House on the Prairie)
- February 27
- Michel Forget, Canadian actor
- Robert H. Grubbs, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
- February 28 – Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones) (d. 1969)
- March 2
- John Irving, American author
- Lou Reed, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- March 4
- Gloria Gaither, American gospel songwriter
- Charles C. Krulak, U.S. Marine Corps commander
- March 5 – Felipe González Márquez, Spanish politician
- March 7
- Tammy Faye Bakker, American evangelist, singer and television personality (d. 2007)
- Michael Eisner, American film studio executive
- March 9
- John Cale, Welsh composer and musician ( Velvet Underground)
- Mark Lindsay, singer/songwriter of the group Paul Revere & The Raiders
- March 12 – Jimmy Wynn, American baseball player
- March 13
- Dave Cutler, American software engineer
- Scatman John, American musician (d. 1999)
- George Negus, Australian author, journalist, and television presenter
- March 16 – James Soong, Taiwan politician
- March 17 – John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (d. 1994)
- March 20 – Earl Bramblett, American murderer (d. 2003)
- March 23 – Walter Rodney, Guyanese historian and political figure
- March 25
- Aretha Franklin, American singer
- Richard O'Brien, English-born actor and writer
- March 26 – Erica Jong, American author
- March 27
- Michael Jackson, English writer (d. 2007)
- John E. Sulston, British chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- Michael York, English actor
- March 28
- Neil Kinnock, British statesman
- Mike Newell, British film director
- Conrad Schumann, East German border guard (d. 1998)
- Jerry Sloan, American basketball coach
- March 29 – Scott Wilson, American actor
- March 30 – Ruben Kun, Nauruan politician and former President of Nauru
- April 1
- Samuel R. Delany, American science fiction author
- Annie Nightingale, British DJ
- April 2
- Leon Russell, American singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist
- Hiroyuki Sakai, Japanese chef
- Yury Yarov, Russian politician and a former deputy prime minister
- April 3
- Marsha Mason, American actress
- Wayne Newton, American singer
- April 5
- Pascal Couchepin, Swiss Federal Councilor
- Peter Greenaway, Welsh filmmaker
- 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
- Valeriy Brumel, Russian athlete (d. 2003)
- Valentin Lebedev, Russian cosmonaut
- April 15
- Kenneth Lay, American businessman (d. 2006)
- Julie Sommars, American actress
- April 17
- Kenas Aroi, Nauruan politician
- Buster Williams, American jazz bassist
- April 20 – Arto Paasilinna, Finnish author
- April 23 – Sandra Dee, American actress (d. 2005)
- April 24 – Barbra Streisand, American singer, actress, composer
- April 25
- Katsuji Adachi, Japanese professional wrestler
- Jon Kyl, American politician
- April 26
- Claudine Auger, French actress
- Michael Kergin, Canadian diplomat
- Bobby Rydell, American singer
- April 27
- Ruth Glick, American writer
- Jim Keltner, American drummer
- 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
- Nobby Stiles, English footballer
- May 19
- Gary Kildall, American computer scientist (d. 1994)
- Robert Kilroy-Silk, British politician and television presenter
- Shirrel Rhoades, American writer
- May 20 – David Proval, American actor
- May 22
- Rich Garcia, American Major League Baseball Umpire
- Theodore Kaczynski (" The Unabomber"), American criminal
- Calvin Simon, American musician ( P Funk)
- May 23 – Gabriel Liiceanu, Romanian philosopher
- May 24 – Ichirō Ozawa, Japanese politician
- May 26 – Levon Helm, American musician ( The Band)
- May 28 – Stanley B. Prusiner, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- June 2 – Eduard Malofeyev, Russian football coach and former international player
- June 3
- Curtis Mayfield, American musician (d. 1999)
- Frank McRae, American actor
- June 5 – Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union
- June 8 – James Tien, Hong Kong-Taiwanese actor
- June 10
- Gordon Burns, British journalist and TV presenter
- Preston Manning, Canadian politician
- June 12 – Bert Sakmann, German physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate
- June 16 – John Rostill, English bassist, musician and composer ( The Shadows) (d. 1973)
- June 17
- June 18
- June 19 – Ralna English, American singer
- June 20 – Brian Wilson, American singer-composer-producer
- June 24
- Mick Fleetwood, English drummer ( Fleetwood Mac)
- Michele Lee, American actress, singer and dancer
- June 26
- James J. Dillon, American professional wrestling manager
- Gilberto Gil, Brazilian singer, politician
- June 27 – Bruce Johnston, American musician ( The Beach Boys)
- June 28 – David Miner, American rock musician and record producer
- July 1
- Geneviève Bujold, French-Canadian actress
- Andrae Crouch, American gospel singer
- July 2 – Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
- July 4
- Floyd Little, American football player
- Prince Michael of Kent
- July 7 – Carmen Duncan, Australian actress
- July 8 – Janice Pennington, American model
- July 9 – Richard Roundtree, American actor
- July 10
- Ronnie James Dio, American singer (d. 2010)
- Pyotr Klimuk, Russian cosmonaut
- July 13
- Harrison Ford, American actor
- Roger McGuinn, American musician ( The Byrds)
- 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 27 – Dennis Ralston, American tennis player
- July 28 – Kaari Utrio, Finnish writer
- July 29 – Tony Sirico, American actor
- August 1 – Jerry Garcia, American musician ( Grateful Dead) (d. 1995)
- August 2 – Isabel Allende, Chilean writer
- August 4 – David Lange, Prime Minister of New Zealand (d. 2005)
- August 7
- Tobin Bell, American film and television actor
- Garrison Keillor, American writer and radio host
- August 13 – Arthur K. Cebrowski, American admiral (d. 2005)
- August 16 – John Challis, English actor
- August 17 – Roshan Seth, British Indian actor
- August 18
- Judith Keppel, first person to win £1,000,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (in the UK)
- Wu Ma, Chinese film actor, director, producer and writer
- August 19 – Fred Dalton Thompson, American politician and actor
- August 20 – Isaac Hayes, American singer and actor (d. 2008)
- August 27 – "Captain" Daryl Dragon, American musician ( The Captain and Tennille)
- August 28
- Sterling Morrison, American musician (d. 1995)
- Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola
- August 31 – Isao Aoki, Japanese golfer
- September 3
- Michael Hui, Hong Kong film comedian
- Al Jardine, American Musician ( The Beach Boys)
- September 5
- Björn Haugan, Norwegian operatic lyric tenor (d. 2009)
- Werner Herzog, German filmmaker
- September 7 – Alan Haskvitz, American educator
- 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 – Desmond Lynam, British TV presenter
- September 18 – Gabriella Ferri, Italian singer
- September 19 – Freda Payne, American singer and actress
- September 22
- Marlena Shaw, American jazz singer
- David Stern, American commissioner of the National Basketball Association
- September 24 – Ilkka "Danny" Lipsanen, Finnish singer
- September 28 – Marshall Bell, American actor
- September 29
- Madeline Kahn, American actress (d. 1999)
- Ian McShane, English actor
- Jean-Luc Ponty, French jazz violinist
- September 30 – Frankie Lymon, American singer (d. 1968)
- October 1 – Gunther Wallraff, German investigative journalist
- October 2 – Asha Parekh, Indian actress
- October 4 – Christopher Stone, American actor (d. 1995)
- October 6
- Britt Ekland, Swedish actress
- Fred Travalena, American comedian and impressionist (d. 2009)
- October 7
- Ronald Baecker, American computer scientist
- Joy Behar, American comedienne and television personality
- October 11 – Amitabh Bachchan, Indian actor
- October 12
- Melvin Franklin, American musician ( The Temptations) (d. 1995)
- Daliah Lavi, Israelian actress and singer
- October 13
- Rutanya Alda, Latvian-American actress
- Jerry Jones, American football team owner
- October 14 – Evelio Javier, Filipino politician, lawyer, and civil servant (d. 1986)
- October 19 – Andrew Vachss, American author and attorney
- October 20
- Earl Hindman, American actor (d. 2003)
- Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, German biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- October 21 –
- Elvin Bishop, American musician
- Judith Sheindlin, American retired judge turned television personality ( Judge Judy)
- October 22 – Annette Funicello, American actress
- October 23 – Michael Crichton, American author (d. 2008)
- October 24 –
- Ruthann Aron, American politician
- Frank Delaney, Irish novelist, journalist and broadcaster
- October 26 – Bob Hoskins, British actor
- October 29 – Bob Ross, American painter and television presenter (d. 1995)
- October 31 – David Ogden Stiers, American actor and voice-over artist
- November 1
- Larry Flynt, American publisher (Hustler)
- Ralph Klein, Canadian politician
- Marcia Wallace, American actress and comedienne
- November 2
- Shere Hite, German sexologist
- Stefanie Powers, American actress
- November 5
- Pierangelo Bertoli, Italian singer-songwriter (d. 2002)
- Margaret Teele, American actress
- November 7 – Jean Shrimpton, English model and actress
- November 8
- Angel Cordero Jr., Puerto Rican jockey
- Fernando Sorrentino, Argentine writer
- November 10
- Robert F. Engle, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate
- Hans-Rudolf Merz, Swiss federal councillor
- November 13 – Roger Lee Hall, American composer and music preservationist
- November 15 – Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born pianist and conductor
- November 17
- Derek Clayton, Australian long-distance runner
- Bob Gaudio, American musician
- Kang Kek Iew, Cambodian politician and criminal
- István Rosztóczy, Hungarian microbiologist
- Martin Scorsese, American film director
- November 18
- Linda Evans, American actress
- Susan Sullivan, American actress
- November 20 – Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States
- November 22 – Francis K. Butagira, Ugandan ambassador
- November 24 – Billy Connolly, Scottish comedian and singer
- November 26 – Khalil Kalfat, Egyptian intellectual and writer
- November 27
- Manolo Blahnik, Spanish shoe designer
- Henry Carr, American athlete
- Jimi Hendrix, American musician (d. 1970)
- November 28 – Paul Warfield, American football player
- November 29 – Philippe Huttenlocher, Swiss baritone
- 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 – Paul Butterfield, American musician (d. 1987)
- December 20 – Bob Hayes, American athlete
- December 21
- Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China
- Carla Thomas, American singer
- December 27 – Charmian Carr, American actress
- December 29
- Dinah Christie, English-born Canadian actress
- Rajesh Khanna, Indian actor
- December 30
- Betty Aberlin, American actress
- Allan Gotthelf, American philosopher
- Michael Nesmith, American songwriter, singer and actor ( The Monkees)
- Janko Prunk, Slovenian historian
- December 31 – Andy Summers, English guitarist
- Muammar Gaddafi, former dictator of Libya (d. 2011) — believed to have been born in 1942, possibly on June 7
- Hissene Habre, President of Chad
- Dick Stockton, American sports announcer
- 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 14 – Mirosław Ferić, Polish pilot of the No. 303 Squadron in Northolt (b. 1915)
- February 19 – Frank Abbandando, American gangster (executed) (b. 1910)
- 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 14 – René Bull, Irish illustrator (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 – Robert Musil, Austrian-born novelist (b. 1880)
- April 16 – Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, granddaughter of Queen Victoria
- April 17 – Jean Baptiste Perrin, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1870)
- April 18 – Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, American sculptor and socialite (b. 1875)
- April 24
- April 27 – Arthur L. Bristol, American admiral (b. 1886)
- May 2 – Jose Abad Santos, Filipino chief justice of the Supreme Court (b. 1886)
- May 3 – Thorvald Stauning, Prime Minister of Denmark (b. 1873)
- May 7 – Felix Weingartner, Yugoslavian conductor (b. 1863)
- 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 27 – Chen Duxiu, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (b. 1879)
- May 29
- June 4
- Lofton R. Henderson, United States Naval aviator and commanding officer of VMSB-241, died at the Battle of Midway (b. 1903)
- Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Nazi Reich Main Security Office and Reich governor of Bohemia and Moravia (assassinated) (b. 1904)
- John C. Waldron, United States Naval aviator and commander of Torpedo Squadron 8, killed at the Battle of Midway (b. 1900)
- Tamon Yamaguchi, Japanese admiral (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 WWII and also the first to die in service (b. 1920)
- June 30 – William Henry Jackson, American photographer (b. 1843)
- July 1 – Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich, Irish language writer (b. 1857)
- July 8 – Refik Saydam, prime minister of Turkey in his office (b. 1881)
- July 15 – Wenceslao Vinzons, Filipino politician and resistance leader (bayoneted to death) (b. 1910)
- July 23 – Adam Czerniakow, Polish engineer and senator (suicide) (b. 1880)
- July 26 – Roberto Arlt, Argentine writer (b. 1900)
- July 28 – William Matthew 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 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 Hollywood 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 – Daniel J. Callaghan, United States Navy officer (b. 1890)
- November 16 – Josef Schmidt, Polish tenor (b. 1904)
- November 19 – Bruno Schulz, Polish writer and painter (shot) (b. 1892)
- November 21 – Leopold Graf Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (b. 1863)
- November 30 – Buck Jones, American actor (b. 1891)
- December 3 – Henner Henkel, German tennis champion (b. 1915)
- 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 (b. 1881)