Year
1942
Month Day
January 25

Thailand declares war on the United States and England

On January 25, 1942, Thailand, a Japanese puppet state, declares war on the Allies.

When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, Thailand declared its neutrality, much to the distress of France and England. Both European nations had colonies surrounding Thailand and hoped Thailand would support the Allied effort and prevent Japanese encroachment on their Pacific territory. But Thailand began moving in the opposite direction, creating a “friendship” with Japan and adding to its school textbooks a futuristic map of Thailand with a “Greater Thailand” encroaching on Chinese territory.

Thailand’s first real conflict with the Allies came after the fall of France to the Germans and the creation of the puppet government at Vichy. Thailand saw this as an opportunity to redraw the borders of French Indochina. The Vichy government refused to accommodate the Thais, so Thai troops crossed into French Indochina and battled French troops. Japan interceded in the conflict on the side of the Thais, and used its political alliance with Germany to force Vichy France to cede 21,000 square miles to Thailand.

On December 8, 1941, the Japanese made an amphibious landing on the coast of Thailand, part of the comprehensive sweep of South Pacific islands that followed the bombing raid at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese had assistance, though: Thailand’s prime minister, Lang Pipul, collaborated with the Japanese, embracing the Axis power’s war goal of usurping territory in China and ruling over the South Pacific. Pipul wanted to partake in the spoils; toward that end, he declared war on the United States and England. In October, he took dictatorial control of Thailand and became a loyal puppet of the Japanese.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

First Winter Olympics

On January 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympics take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps. Spectators were thrilled by the ski jump and bobsled as well as 12 other events involving a total of six sports. The “International Winter Sports Week,” as it was known, was a great ...read more

Chairman Mao’s widow sentenced to death

Jiang Qing, the widow of Chinese leader Mao Zedong, is sentenced to death for her “counter-revolutionary crimes” during the Cultural Revolution. Originally an actress in Communist theater and film, her marriage to Mao in 1939 was widely criticized, as his third wife, Ho Zizhen, ...read more

Russia activates its nuclear command systems for the first time

Russia’s early-warning defense radar detects an unexpected missile launch near Norway, and Russian military command estimates the missile to be only minutes from impact on Moscow. Moments later, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, his defense minister, and his chief of staff were ...read more

Charles Manson and his followers convicted of murder

In Los Angeles, California, cult leader Charles Manson is convicted, along with followers Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkle, of the brutal 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others. In 1967, Manson, a lifetime criminal, was released from a federal ...read more

World’s Largest Diamond Found

On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it was the largest diamond ever found. Frederick Wells was 18 ...read more

President Kennedy holds first live television news conference

On January 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy becomes the first U.S. president to hold a live televised news conference. From a podium in the State Department auditorium, Kennedy read a prepared statement regarding the famine in the Congo, the release of two American aviators ...read more

Paul McCartney is released from a Tokyo jail and deported from Japan

Paul McCartney’s arrival at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on January 16, 1980, marked his first visit to Japan since the Beatles tour of 1966. The occasion was a planned 11-city concert tour by his band Wings. Instead, Paul’s visit was limited to a nine-day stint in the ...read more

Scottish poet Robert Burns is born

Scottish poet Robert Burns is born on January 25, 1759. The day is still celebrated by Burns fans across the English-speaking world, with high-spirited “Robert Burns Night” feasts, featuring haggis and other Scottish delicacies, as well as enthusiastic drinking, toasting, and ...read more

First Emmy Awards ceremony

The first Emmy Awards ceremony is held on January 25, 1949 at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The awards recognize excellence in television (which in the 1940s was a novel medium).  Hollywood’s first television academy had been founded three years earlier by Sid Cassyd, a former ...read more

Israeli sub vanishes

The Israeli submarine Dakar, carrying 69 sailors, disappears on January 25, 1968 and remains missing for some 30 years. The Dakar was built at the height of World War II by H.M. Dockyard in Great Britain and commissioned as the HMS Totem by the British navy in 1943. Following the ...read more

BTK killer sends message

On January 25, 2005, a Wichita, Kansas, television station receives a postcard from the BTK killer that leads police to discover a Post Toasties cereal box that had been altered to contain the letters BTK. This communication was one in a long line sent by the serial killer who ...read more

First national memorial is ordered by Congress

On January 25, 1776, the Continental Congress authorizes the first national Revolutionary War memorial in honor of Brigadier General Richard Montgomery, who had been killed during an assault on Quebec on December 31, 1775. Montgomery, along with Benedict Arnold, led a ...read more

Formal commission is established on the League of Nations

On January 25, 1919, in Paris, delegates to the peace conference formally approve the establishment of a commission on the League of Nations. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson insisted on chairing the commission—for him, the establishment of the League lay squarely at the center of ...read more