1995 32¢ Iwo Jima
WWII – 1945: Victory at Last
Issue Date: September 2, 1995
City: Honolulu, HI
Quantity: 5,000,000 panes of 20
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
The fifth and final installment of the World War II series commemorates the 50th anniversary of the war's final year. Titled "1945: Victory at Last," these 10 stamps chronicle the events leading to Germany's surrender, the Japanese surrender, and ultimately the Allied victory. Nearly 300,000 American service personnel lost their lives between 1941 and 1945.
By early 1945 Japan had lost most of her empire and faced certain defeat, but she continued to fight. To make their Pacific campaign successful the Allies needed more bases. A tiny island 750 miles south of Japan called Iwo Jima became their primary target.
Seven months before the actual invasion, aircraft began bombing the island. Then on February 19, 1945, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th U.S. Marine divisions landed. The Japanese had prepared elaborate mine fields and underground tunnels, and a remarkable communications system for the island’s defense. The fight for Iwo Jima proved to be one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
On February 23rd, after three days of intense combat, the Marines captured Mt. Surbachi and hoisted the Stars and Stripes. A Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of this moment has become one of the most famous images of the war, and served as the model for the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. After 26 days of fierce fighting, the Japanese surrendered on March 16th – nearly 21,000 Americans had been lost.
A strategic base for the U.S. in the last stages of the war, Iwo Jima served as a base for the P-51 Mustangs that escorted the formidable B-29s on their bombing raids, as well as an emergency landing airstrip.