1995 32¢ Surrender at Reims
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.
Surrender at Reims
Hidden from harm in his bunker under Berlin, Hitler continued ordering his troops to fight, somehow believing the Third Reich could defeat its enemies. But, when Soviet forces smashed their way into Berlin on April 25th, and with U.S. forces waiting at the Elbe River, reality overcame Hitler’s visions.
On April 30th Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, decided to commit suicide to “escape the shame of overthrow or capitulation.” Two days later portions of the German forces began asking for a cease-fire. The little resistance left in Germany was crumbling fast.
Germany’s actual surrender came at 2:41 A.M. on May 7th. General Eisenhower refused to attend the signing in person. With the words, “...the German people and armed forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the victor’s hands,” German Field Marshal Alfred Gustav Jodl signed the surrender. The representatives were then ushered into Eisenhower’s office, where he confirmed that they understood the unconditional surrender. The ceremony was repeated for the Soviets the next day – history has recorded May 8th as V.E. Day or Victory in Europe Day ever since.