Skip to content

Timeline of World War II

This timeline was originally prepared by the Heritage Division of PCDSPO as part of he interactive web project World War II in the Philippines which sought to provide the structure by which we unify the people’s stories, in search of a history we can truly call our own. With this, we can finally see the intersections of the past and of what is before is now. We only make familiar what should have been familiar to us in the first place. 

Start DateEnd DateHeadlineText
19411945World War II in the PhilippinesAn interactive timeline of the events in the Philippines during World War II
12/2/1941A Japanese reconnaissance aircraft is spotted over Clark Airfield.
12/6/1941U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sends a "last resort" letter to Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
12/8/1941A radio transmission is received by the USAFFE: Pearl Harbor is under attack.
12/8/1941U.S. President Roosevelt declares war against Japan.U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaks in front of the U.S. Congress: "Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
12/8/1941Executive Secretary Jorge B. Vargas informs President Manuel L. Quezon of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war by the United States against the Axis Powers.President Quezon is staying in their private residence along Legarda Road in Baguio, recovering from an illness.
12/8/1941Japanese aircraft attack commenced in Davao at 6:20 a.m.Japanese aircraft carrier Ryujo launched an air raid to the port of Davao.
12/8/1941The Japanese bomb the Philippines, and other U.S. installations in the Pacific.
12/8/1941President Quezon tells the press, "the Zero Hour has arrived."“The zero hour has arrived. I expect every Filipino—man and woman—to do his duty. We have pledged our honor to stand to the last by the United States and we shall not fail her, happen what may.”
12/8/1941Japanese aircraft attack Camp John Hay, Baguio at 8:30 a.m.
12/8/1941Japanese aircraft attack Tuguegarao at 9:30 a.m.
12/8/1941Attack on Pearl Harbor: NBC Bulletin
12/8/1941Attack on Pearl Harbor: NBC broadcast
12/8/1941Japanese planes attack Clark Field.
12/8/1941Japanese planes attack airfield in Iba, Zambales at 12:30 p.m.
12/8/1941Japanese planes attack Fort McKinley.
12/8/1941Field Marshal MacArthur orders B-17s to load bombs.
12/8/1941President Quezon departs for Arayat, Pampanga.Mrs. Aurora Quezon, Manuel L. Quezon Jr., and Sofia Fuentes are at the Quezon Farm (Kaledian) when Japanese attacks commence.
12/8/1941Japanese soldiers arrive in Batan Island at dawn.
12/8/1941Japanese aircraft attack Tarlac at 12:35 p.m.
12/8/1941Japanese aircraft attack Davao at 12:45 p.m.
12/8/1941BBC reports on Pearl Harbor.
12/8/1941BBC reports on attacks in the Far East.
12/8/1941Japan declares war against the United States and the British Empire.Prime Minister Hideki Tojo declares war on the Allied Powers: "We, by the grace of Heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the Throne of a line unbroken for ages eternal, enjoin upon ye, Our loyal and brave subjects: We hereby declare war on the United States of America and the British Empire."
12/9/1941Cavite Navy Yard is bombarded at 11:00 a.m.From the diary of Gen. Basilio Valdes, December 9, 1941. See the full entry here.
12/9/1941Japanese task force departs Palau for Legazpi City; another departs for Davao.
12/9/1941President Quezon arrives back in Manila, stays in his Mariquina home.
12/10/1941Japanese Air Force launches heavy attacks on Cavite Navy Yard at 11:45 a.m.
12/10/1941Japanese Air Force launches heavy attacks on Nichols Airfield (present-day Villamor Air Base) at 12:00 p.m.
12/10/1941Japanese forces land in Aparri at dawn.Tanaka Detachment lands in Aparri, Cagayan.
12/10/1941Japanese forces land at Pandan, near Vigan at 5:13 a.m. Kanno Detachment lands to capture Vigan, Ilocos Norte.
12/10/1941Japanese forces capture Camiguin Island.
12/10/1941Nichols Field bombed for the second time.
12/10/1941Cavite Naval base is bombed.The incident results in 500 casualties, the destruction of the submarines Sealion and Pillsbury, and damage to the minesweeper  USS Bittern.
12/11/1941Congress passes Resolution No. 115.In a special session, the National Assembly passes Resolution No. 115, pledging support to the United States in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attacks and proclaiming Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña as winners of the November elections.
12/12/1941The Japanese land in Legazpi at 2:45 a.m.The Kimura Detachment, a unit of the of the Japanese Army consisting of 2,500 men, lands at Legazpi, Albay.
12/12/1941President Quezon is told to evacuate.Field Marshal MacArthur informs President Quezon of plans to evacuate to Corregidor. The President is given four hours to be ready for departure.
12/12/1941Cabinet decides on who will accompany President Quezon if they evacuate.
12/13/1941U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippines Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr. appeals for American help in radio broadcast: "Come on, America!"
12/14/1941Three B-17s are dispatched to bomb Japanese landing in Legazpi but failed to return.
12/15/1941National Assembly authorizes emergency powers for President Quezon.
12/16/1941The National Assembly grants the President extraordinary powers.The National Assembly passes Commonwealth Act No. 671, investing the President with extraordinary powers under the state of total emergency in effect.
12/17/1941Japanese forces in Legazpi make initial contact with Filipino forces in Ragay, Bicol.
12/18/1941United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) inducts all units of the Philippine Army; reservists called to the colors
12/18/1941Advance units of the Japanese Imperial Army enter Naga, Camarines Sur.
12/18/1941The Philippine flag is reversed to indicate state of war.President Quezon issues Executive Order No. 386, s. 1941, which states that the Filipino flag is to be flown with the red stripe up, signifying the Philippines is at war. This is the first time this has happened since the Philippine-American War.
12/20/1941Japanese troops land in Mindanao, near Davao at 4:00 a.m.The Miura Detachment landed on the northern section of Davao, while the Sakaguchi Detachment landed on the southwest part of the city.
12/20/1941President Quezon addresses the nation through radio broadcasts from the air raid shelter in his Mariquina (Marikina) home.
12/20/1941Japanese Forces take Davao.The Japanese Miura Detachment and Sakaguchi Detachment link up, establishing control over Davao.
12/22/1941The Department of Interior is abolished.President Quezon, by virtue of Executive Order No. 390 s. 1941, uses his broad emergency powers granted to him by the National Assembly to abolish the department and combines its functions and duties with those of the other departments.
12/22/1941Three Japanese convoys drop anchor at Lingayen Gulf.
12/22/1941Tanaka Detachment enters San Fernando, La Union.
12/22/1941The Japanese Army lands in Lingayen.Landing of Japanese forces in Lingayen, Pangasinan, under the command of Lt. Gen. Yuichi Tsuchibashi.
12/22/1941Huge enemy fleet, estimated to be 80 transports, spotted off Lingayen Gulf.From the diary of Teodoro M. Locsin, December 22, 1941. See the full entry here.
12/22/1941Japanese units arrive at 5:00 a.m. in Agoo, La Union.
12/22/1941Japanese units arrive at 5:15 a.m. in Aringay, La Union.
12/22/1941Bauang, La Union occupied by the Japanese at about 7:00 a.m.
12/22/1941Japanese Imperial Army troops land, 8:30 a.m.
12/23/1941Wake Island falls to the Japanese.
12/23/1941Gen. Basilio Valdes is appointed Secretary of National Defense.From the diary of Gen. Basilio Valdes, December 23, 1941. See the full entry here.
12/23/1941Clash in Northern LuzonUSAFFE forces fights artillery duel with Japanese Imperial Army troops around noon. The Japanese Imperial Army occupies town at 7:00 p.m. USAFFE troops are driven out by the Japanese Imperial Army that night.