29¢ Turning the Tide
World War II Sheet
Issue Date: May 31, 1993
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century. The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985. It wanted to honor key events of the war effort as well as the various endeavors that contributed to the Allied victory. But how to do that without producing a thousand stamps?
The solution was a series of sheetlets, one for each year of the war, that consisted of a large center map framed by five stamps on the top and five on the bottom. Five years of commemorating World War II yielded five sheets and a total of 50 stamps – enough for an honorable tribute and enough to accomplish Postal Service goals.
The world maps are masterpieces of thumbnail summaries. They call attention to the major military and political developments of the year and include events not featured on the individual stamps. Color coded for easy identification of friend and foe, they’re “a year in summary” at a glance. Entitled “1943: Turning the Tide,” U.S. #2765 is the third sheet in the series of five.
Military Medics Treat the Wounded
In almost any war, medics are the unsung heroes and World War II was no different. Risking their own lives, doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to save the lives of others. Looking back through a diary he had kept, one doctor who served during the war noted that he and his comrades had often worked 36-hour days.
Although the hospitals set up in tents on the battlefronts sometimes seemed more of a hell than a haven, the care of U.S. combat soldiers had drastically improved. New techniques and antibiotics along with the availability of anesthetics and blood plasma greatly increased a wounded soldier’s chances of survival. Miracle drugs, such as sulfa, streptomycin, and penicillin, saved countless lives, and the threat of infectious diseases was drastically reduced by inoculations. In World War I, only 4 out every 100 wounded servicemen were expected to live, however by World War II that number had jumped to 50 out of 100.
Using a leapfrog strategy, the hospitals were rotated to provide the troops with freshly rested doctors and nurses. As the troops moved forward, the last hospital in line would “leap” forward, allowing the first hospital, which had been actively helping the wounded, to rest and replenish their supplies.