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December 18
In 1941, Japanese troops land in Hong Kong and occupy more than half the main island within 24 hours, creating a desperate situation for British defenders.
In 1943, Chiang Kai-Shek gives American Gen. Stillwell command of all Chinese troops in India and the Hukawng Valley in north Burma. Japanese aircraft begin bombing Kunming to disrupt Allied nerve centers.
In 1944, in a pair of decisions, the Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry could not be detained. In the Far East, an enormous typhoon struck the U.S. Third Fleet, causing three destroyers to break up and sink, and damaging several other ships.
In 1956, Japan was admitted to the United Nations.
In 1957, "Bridge on the River Kwai," David Lean's film version of Pierre Boulle's World War II novel, premiered at the RKO Palace Theater in New York.
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The Year at a Glance


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