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

  • Mauro Pimentel / AFP / Getty

    Carnival 2020 in Brazil

    Colorful images from Rio, São Paulo, and more

  • © Greg Lecoeur / UPY2020

    Winners of the 2020 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest

    Some of this year’s winners and honorees, showing remarkable scenes from oceans, lakes, and rivers around the world

  • Stas Moroz / Shutterstock

    Oregon: Images of the Beaver State

    A few glimpses into the varied landscape of Oregon, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Eduard Korniyenko / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Ghost Ship, Greek Spring, Naked Festival

    Dog catchers in Cairo, luge championships in Russia, flooding in parts of England, a crash at the Daytona 500, demining in Colombia, Carnival in Venice, and much more