World War II: Daring Raids and Brutal Reprisals


In early 1942, Allied forces, still reeling from Axis blows, began to work on a wider strategy. Japan was sweeping through the southern Pacific, conquering Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, and the Philippines. German troops had regrouped on the Eastern Front, where they were holding off Soviet attacks and preparing for a summer offensive. But during this time, American bombers successfully struck Japanese targets in a daring, morale-boosting raid led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, and British forces destroyed an important dock facility in German-occupied St. Nazaire, France. Most of Doolittle's raiders landed in China, where they received assistance from villagers. Those locals paid dearly when Japanese reprisals killed an estimated 250,000 Chinese. The fall of the Philippines left the invading Japanese with tens of thousands more U.S. and Filipino prisoners than they'd anticipated. This led to a brutal forced relocation now known as the Bataan Death March, where thousands of weak, starving men were beaten and killed en route to a Japanese prison camp. (This entry is Part 9 of a weekly 20-part retrospective of World War II)
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • AFP / Getty

    Iranian High-rise Collapses in Huge Fire, Killing Dozens

    A fire engulfed a landmark building in Tehran, Iran, this morning, leading to a complete collapse that may have killed as many as 30 people, including many firefighters.

  • Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty

    FARC Guerrillas Demobilizing in Colombia

    AFP photographer Raul Arboleda recently spent time at a FARC camp, observing daily life as the rebels demobilize and prepare to move into the next phase of their lives.

  • Mark Makela / Reuters

    The Selling of the Presidents 2017

    The Hall of Presidents and First Ladies in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, recently closed down, auctioning off its collection of life-size wax figures of U.S. presidents.

  • Angela Jimenez

    Winning the Race Against Time

    Age can’t keep these senior track and field athletes from the finish line

Join the Discussion