On Dec. 7, 1942, one year after the disastrous Japanese sneak attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States for the most part had its footing back.
The Japanese rampage across the Pacific had been turned back with the decisive Battle of Midway the previous June, while American forces had joined the British in taking the fight to the Nazis and Italians in North Africa. Allied bombers were beginning to punish the interior of Germany.
While it wasn’t known by the U.S. high command in early December 1942, the Japanese were considering giving up the desperate, exhausting battle for the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons — by January 1943 they will have evacuated their forces, admitting a major defeat. At the same time, the Japanese were being steadily pushed back by Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s forces on New Guinea.