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.
“Willie and Joe” Keep Spirits High
Following his 1940 enlistment in the Army, Bill Mauldin was shipped with his division to Sicily in 1943. There he joined the Mediterranean division of the Stars and Stripes. Although he covered fighting in Salerno, Sicily, and other locations throughout Italy, France, and Germany, he is best remembered for his cartoon characters, Willie and Joe. Two American G.I.’s., they accurately portrayed the plight of the World War II combat soldier. Keeping their spirits high, this disheveled pair helped many soldiers caught up in the horrors of war keep their sense of humor. Even after the war was over, Willie and Joe continued to give enlisted men a laugh as they accurately pictured the soldier’s difficult transition back to civilian life. In 1945 Mauldin received a Pulitzer Prize for his work.
The Stars and Stripes - the paper in which Willie and Joe first appeared - had its beginnings during World War I. A small publication, it went out of business following the war and was purchased by the National Tribune - a newspaper started in 1877 by Civil War veterans. Keeping the “Stars and Stripes” name, the paper continued publication throughout WW II. Today the paper continues to serve both active-duty and veteran soldiers in the U.S. military.