1995 32¢ Okinawa
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.
Only 325 miles south of mainland Japan, the island of Okinawa was a prime strategic objective. The landing on Okinawa began on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, and was the last and largest amphibious assault of the Pacific Campaign. Expecting immediate resistance, as at Iwo Jima, troops were surprised to find little enemy activity. Hours after troops had swarmed ashore, a vital airstrip was captured without a single shot being fired. For five days U.S. troops waited to engage the enemy.
Then on April 6th the Japanese struck – General Ushijima had pulled his forces back to the southern part of the island and was waiting to trap the Marines! For two days, nearly 700 enemy aircraft, including 350 kamikazes, pounded the beachheads and the offshore forces. From that point on, Okinawa was won in a series of bloody battles. After 82 days of fighting the island was captured. More than 110,000 Japanese were dead – nine for every American.
America’s sea power, encroaching land force, and formidable air power now posed an immediate threat to the Japanese mainland. Some members of the Japanese government favored surrender, others wanted to fight on. With their bases in line, the Allies proceeded with their plans to force Japan into unconditional surrender.