World War II 50th Anniversary

World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century.  The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985.  It wanted to honor the key events of the war effort as well as the various aspects of national endeavor that contributed to Allied victory.  But how to do that without producing a thousand stamps?

The answer was a series of sheetlets, one for each year of the war, that consisted of a large center map framed by five stamps on the top and five on the bottom.  Five years of commemorating World War II would yield five sheets, for a total of 50 stamps – enough for an honorable tribute and enough to accomplish Postal Service goals.

The world maps are masterpieces of thumbnail summaries.  They call attention to the major military and political developments of the year and include events not featured on the individual stamps.  Color coded for easy identification of friend and foe, they’re a year in summary at a glance. Click on any enlarged stamp (pictured beneath each sheet) to learn more about the stamp subject.

US #2559 1941: A World at War

US #2559
1941: A World at War

Burma Road

Burma Road

First Peacetime Draft

First Peacetime Draft

Lend-Lease Act

Lend-Lease Act

Atlantic Charter

Atlantic Charter

Arsenal of Democracy

Arsenal of Democracy

Reuben James Sunk

Reuben James Sunk

Civil Defense

Civil Defense

First Liberty Ship

First Liberty Ship

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

US Declares War

US Declares War

US #2697 1942: Into the Battle

US #2697
1942: Into the Battle

B-52s Raid Tokyo

B-52s Raid Tokyo

Rationing

Rationing

Battle of Coral Sea

Battle of Coral Sea

Corregidor Falls

Corregidor Falls to Japanese

Aleutian Islands Invaded

Aleutian Islands Invaded

Allies Decipher Enemy Codes

Allies Decipher Enemy Codes

Yorktown Lost, Midway Won

Yorktown Lost, Midway Won

Women Join War Effort

Women Join War Effort

Marines at Guadacanal

Marines at Guadacanal

Allies Land in North Africa

Allies Land in North Africa

US #2765 1943: Turning the Tide

US #2765
1943: Turning the Tide

German U-boats

German U-boats

Medics Treat the Wounded

Medics Treat the Wounded

Sicily Attacked

Sicily Attacked

B-24s Hit Refineries

B-24s Hit Refineries

V-Mail

V-Mail

Italy Invaded

Italy Invaded

Savings Bonds and Stamps

Savings Bonds and Stamps

Willie & Joe

Willie & Joe

Gold Stars

Gold Stars

Marines Assault Tarawa

Marines Assault Tarawa

US #2838 Road to Victory

US #2838
Road to Victory

Allies Retake New Guinea

Allies Retake New Guinea

B-17s on Bombing Raids

B-17s on Bombing Raids

D-Day

D-Day

Airborne Units

Airborne Units

Submarines in Pacific

Submarines in Pacific

Rome and Paris Liberated

Rome and Paris Liberated

US Troops Clear Saipan

US Troops Clear Saipan

Red Ball Express

Red Ball Express

Battle for Leyte Gulf

Battle for Leyte Gulf

Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bulge

US #2981 1945: Victory at Last

US #2981
1945: Victory at Last

Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima

Manilla Freed

Manilla Freed

Battle of Okinawa

Battle of Okinawa

US and Soviets Meet at Elbe

US and Soviets Meet at Elbe

Holocaust Survivors Liberated

Holocaust Survivors Liberated

Germany Surrenders

Germany Surrenders

Plight of the Refugees

Plight of the Refugees

Japan Surrenders

Japan Surrenders

Victory Celebrations

Victory Celebrations

Returning Veterans Honored

Returning Veterans Honored

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