1995 32¢ Japan Surrenders
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 the summer of 1945 the Allies were preparing to invade the Japanese mainland. Military experts estimated one million U.S. casualties would be incurred in this invasion, which was planned for November 1945. Japanese losses would have been much higher.
In 1939 Albert Einstein told President Franklin Roosevelt about the possibility of building an atomic bomb, and in 1942 the Manhattan Project, a top-secret program to develop such a bomb, was launched. Shortly after the defeat of Germany, in July of 1945, the first bomb was tested in New Mexico. President Truman learned of the success while attending the Potsdam conference with Churchill and Stalin. The U.S., Great Britain, and China issued an ultimatum to Japan – surrender unconditionally or be destroyed. Unfortunately the Japanese chose to fight on.
On August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber called the “Enola Gay” dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, killing an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people. The Japanese still did not respond, so a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th; 40,000 perished. On August 14th the Japanese surrendered. Historians from both countries agree that the atomic bombs actually saved American and Japanese lives.