3¢ U.S. Navy
Armed Forces Series
Issue Date: October 27, 1945
City: Annapolis, MD
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
U.S. #935 was issued to commemorate the important role of the U.S. Navy during World War II. The stamp pictures a group of sailors in their summer uniforms.
The U.S. Navy was instrumental in the Allies victory, especially in the Pacific Theater. In the Pacific, the Navy took out several Japanese bases, weakened their defenses, and ultimately was significant in winning the war.
World War II
World War II killed more people, destroyed more property, disrupted more lives, and probably had more far-reaching consequences than any other war in history. It hastened the fall of Western Europe as the center of world power, and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The development of the atomic bomb during the war opened the nuclear age.
World War II began when Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and ended when Germany, and later Japan, surrendered in 1945. Military deaths as a result of World War II numbered about 17 million. Also, millions of civilians died because of starvation, bombing raids, massacres, epidemics, and other war-related causes. Battles were fought all over the world: Southeast Asian jungles, North African deserts, Pacific islands, Soviet battlefields, Atlantic beaches, and European streets. The war reshaped the map of Europe and changed the American way of life.
Creation Of The Continental Navy
On October 13, 1775, the Second Continental Congress authorized the creation of a Navy.
Previously, the British had imposed martial law in Boston and Americans wanted to capture British supplies and ammunition bound for that city. Before the creation of the Continental Congress, George Washington took command of several ships to start intercepting the British vessels. At the same time, several colonial governments began preparing their own warships.
The first recorded request for a navy came on August 26, 1775, when the Rhode Island State Assembly passed a resolution asking its delegates to bring legislation before Congress requesting the “building at the Continental expense a fleet of sufficient force, for the protection of these colonies, and for employing them in such a manner and places as will most effectively annoy our enemies.” Rhode Island had a particular interest in protecting our waters because several British ships had harassed their merchants.
The resolution was brought before Congress on October 3 but was set aside. When they did begin to discuss the issue, several people opposed it. Among them was Samuel Chase who called it “the maddest idea in the world.” As John Adams recalled, “The opposition… was very loud and vehement. It was… represented as the most wild, visionary, mad project that had ever been imagined. It was an infant taking a mad bull by his horns.”
However, it was soon discovered that British supply ships were heading toward Quebec with provisions that the Continental Army desperately needed. So on October 13, Congress authorized the formation of a navy. The resolution authorized the purchase of two ships with ten guns each.
The initial purpose of the navy was to disrupt British trade and intercept military vessels carrying ammunition and reinforcements for the redcoats. By the end of the year, Congress had purchased six more ships, and thirteen warships were under construction.
As the war progressed and the size of the Continental Navy grew, its success multiplied. Its ships carried official correspondence and diplomats to Europe, returning with much-needed munitions. Almost 200 British vessels were seized, upsetting trade routes and forcing the enemy’s warships to be used for protection instead of attacking the US coastline.
When the Revolutionary War ended, the new government was short on funds and many officials saw the navy as an unnecessary expense. The few ships that survived the war were sold off. The last one, the Alliance, had fired the final shots of the war. It was auctioned off in 1785 and the Continental Navy was disbanded.
America would be without a formal navy for the next nine years. However, after a series of run-ins near Algiers, Algeria, between American merchants and pirates, Congress finally approved the creation of a permanent navy on March 27, 1794.