Japan annexes Manchuria and leaves the League of Nations.


Japan disregards the existing disarmament treaties.


Japan withdraws from the London Naval Conference to pursue developing a larger navy than that allowed by the Washington Conference.


Japan invades China and seizes Nanking, where Japanese troops commit widespread atrocities on the inhabitants.


Completion of the Singapore naval base at Sembawang.


Japan forces the pro-Vichy government of French Indo-China to accept Japanese troops and airfields.


2 December

Japanese naval units ordered to move to their positions for the attacks on Hawaii, Malaya, Thailand and Hong Kong.

6 December

Japanese transport ships are seen approaching Malaya.

7 December

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sinks or damages eight US battleships and destroys nearly 200 aircraft.

7/8 December

At night, Singapore subjected to air raids killing 200 people and damaging the RAF airfields at Tengah and Seletar.

8 December

Hong Kong attacked overland through the ‘New Territories’ and Japanese landing takes place to the north of Kota Bahru in north-east Malaya.

10 December

HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse sunk by Japanese torpedo bombers operating from French Indo-China (modern-day Vietnam); Albert ‘Duff’ Cooper appointed as Resident Minister for Far Eastern Affairs.

11/12 December

British and Indian troops are defeated at Jitra in northern Malaya.

14/15 December

British and Indian troops are defeated at Gurun, forcing the evacuation of the state of Kedah.

16/17 December

Penang evacuated.

25 December

Hong Kong falls to the Japanese.


3 January

Arrival of 45th Indian Brigade in Singapore, the first body of reinforcements since the start of the campaign.

7 January

British and Indian forces are defeated at Slim River.

11 January

Kuala Lumpur falls to the Japanese.

15 January

General Wavell assumes command of the ABDA (American, British, Dutch and Australian) forces in the south-west Pacific.

26 January

General Heath issues instructions for the withdrawal of III Corps from Johore to Singapore Island through the night of 31 January/1 February.

27 January

Percival receives permission to withdraw all Malaya Command troops to Singapore at his discretion.

31 January/1 February

Withdrawal to Singapore completed and part of the causeway destroyed.

7/8 February

Japanese troops seize Pulau Ubin in the Johore Strait.

8 February

First Japanese troops land on Singapore Island.

15 February

Percival holds his final conference at Fort Canning and decides to surrender.

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