Nineteen forty-two was the critical year of WWII. During that year, four battles were fought that turned the fortunes of war in favor of the Allies. At the beginning of the year, the Allies, reeling from the collapse of France and the ensuing Blitz, the loss of Greece and Crete, Hitler's invasion of Russia, Pearl Harbor, and the string of ensuing defeats across Asia and the Pacific, were facing universal catastrophe. By the end of the year, the tide had turned on virtually all fronts, and the Allied cause was well on its way to victory.
At Midway in early June, the U.S. Navy reversed the previous six months of unbroken Japanese victories by sinking the core of the Japanese carrier fleet. Four Imperial Navy fleet-carriers were sunk in two days and hundreds of seasoned pilots killed. The Japanese Navy was never again to go on the offensive in the Central Pacific.
At Guadalcanal two months later, a Marine landing triggered a seesaw campaign that lasted into 1943, climaxing with the capping of the Japanese Army's advance across the Southwest Pacific and the beginning of the island-hopping campaign that returned the Pacific to Allied control.
In Russia, an idiotic German attempt to take Stalingrad for P.R. reasons began in late August. It was to culminate in February 1943 with the complete destruction of the Wehrmacht's Sixth Army and the beginning of the Russian offensive that was to end only when Soviet tanks reached Berlin.
In October, the Second Battle of El Alamein sent Rommel's Afrika Korps fleeing Egypt in complete disarray, never to return. At the opposite end of the North African littoral, a U.S. invasion code-named "Operation Torch" created a pincer that was to force the Axis out of Africa by the middle of next year.