1995 32¢ Allies Link at Elbe
WWI – 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.
Allies Link at Elbe
When the Battle of the Bulge ended in January 1945, Hitler’s forces were no longer a serious threat on the Western front. With reserves exhausted, armor scarce, motor fuel drying up, and the Luftwaffe virtually gone, the defeat of Germany was inevitable. Despite the obvious however, Hitler gave orders to fight on.
In an effort to effectively eliminate the enemy, the Allies began their final campaign on the Western front. Russian forces already in Poland and East Prussia began a massive offensive from the east on January 12th. Meanwhile, the U.S. began its own offensive in the west. Strategic bombing continued, raining destruction upon German cities day and night. In April, the great industrial Ruhr, with its entire force of 400,000 soldiers was captured by U.S. troops. Meeting no real opposition in the east, Soviet forces continued to push forward, fighting their last great battle in Berlin.
On April 12th – the day President Roosevelt died – the U.S. Army crossed the Elbe River, the agreed upon dividing line between Soviet and Western zones of postwar occupation. On April 25th, amid much celebrating, Soviet and U.S. troops met for the first time, cutting Germany in half. Hitler ordered his soldiers to fight on, and then committed suicide on April 30th.