Fierce fighting frees Manila by March 3, 1945 – World War II
- Fifth and final souvenir sheet issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II
- Includes 10 stamps plus a world map
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Series: World War II
Value: 32¢ (Denomination of each individual stamp)
First Day of Issue: September 2, 1995
First Day City: Honolulu, Hawaii
Quantity Issued (if known): 100,000,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Offset, Intaglio
Format: Sheetlets of 10 (arranged in 2 strips of 5, one across the top and one across the bottom of the sheetlet, with world map in between)
Perforations: 11.1 (Eureka off-line perforator)
Tagging: Overall, large block covering stamps and part of selvage
Why the stamp was issued: This souvenir sheet was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II. It was the last in a series of five that were issued over the course of five years.
About the stamp design: Shows GIs storming ashore with the liberated part of Manila skyline in the back. William Bond used two difference reference photos to achieve this stamp design. One of the GIs and one of the skyline.
First Day City: The stamps were dedicated in Honolulu, Hawaii. Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, the ceremony took place in view of the USS Arizona Memorial.
About the World War II Series: As the 50th anniversary of World War II was approaching, the US Postal Service wanted a series that would recognize the key events of the war and the important contributions America made to the Allied victory. Rather than issue a large number of stamps, the USPS decided to create five sheetlets, each commemorating one year of America’s involvement in the war. Each sheetlet had 10 different stamps arranged in two horizontal strips of 5. In the center was a world map with Allied and neutral nations in yellow and Axis-controlled areas in red. Notes on the map highlighted key developments that occurred that year. The stamps each featured important events that took place during the year, as well.
History the stamp represents: Manila is the capital, largest city, and leading port of the Philippines. The Japanese seized this city, located on the island of Luzon, on January 2nd, just four weeks after World War II began in the Pacific. On January 9, 1945, the Allies landed on the island with the largest landing force used in the Pacific campaign, and began fighting their way to Manila. The Japanese were ready with an impressive army of 250,000 men.
But despite their size, the Japanese had been weakened by Filipino guerrilla attacks and steady bombings by US aircraft. US forces defeated the Japanese in the north and east, then prepared for their final drive on Manila, which coincided with the 8th Army’s drive across the base of the Bataan Peninsula. Liberation of the city began on February 3, 1945.
It took 29 days to clear the city, and in the desperate house-to-house struggle much of Manila was destroyed. On March 4th, the city was liberated. US troops freed more than 5,000 Allied prisoners. Although small bands of Japanese remained and continued to fight, MacArthur was able to establish a base rebuilding Manila almost immediately. Today Manila is again the country’s chief cultural, social, and commercial city.