World war 2 concluded

On the other side of the world, Japan had established a puppet government in Manchuria and invaded China in 1937.

The Japanese were far stronger than the Chinese and although the Chinese under General Chang Kai Shek fought bravely, a big part of China was soon under Japanese Occupation, as the Japanese characters show on this Chinese stamp.
The USA did not support the Japanese occupation and supplied China via the Burma road, which ran across the mountainside of Burma to southern China for 717 miles.
When Japan occupied Vichy French Indo China, the Americans, the British and the Dutch stopped the export of oil and petroleum products to Japan, which Japan needed so desperately for her military expansion.
When the talks between the USA and Japan broke down, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour on December 7 in an effort to wipe out the American fleet in the Pacific.
It took the American Congress 33 minutes on December 8, 1941, to declare war on Japan.
Roosevelt said: "This day will live in infamy"
The Japanese campaign in the Pacific area was as impressive as the German Blitzkrieg in Europe.
The island of Guam was captured on December 10.
Wake island was attacked on December 11 and held out until December 23, when it had to surrender.
The attack on the Philipines started on December 8; Manilla was declared an open city and fell on January 2. General MacArthur withdrew his forces to the Bataan peninsula.
The Bataan peninsula fell on April 8 and Corregidor was the last to surrender on May 6.
MacArthur was recalled to Melbourne, Australia and transferred his command to Maj.General Jonathan Wainwright.
Hongkong fell on December 25 and Singapore had to surrender on February 15.
The Japanese took control of Rangoon, Burma on March 8 1942.
Darwin, the largest city in Northern Australia was bombed on February 19 1942, and many times there after, in the following months.
The final battle for the Dutch East Indies was the battle of the Java Sea. A combined Allied fleet under Dutch Rear Admiral, Karel Doorman, took on a Japanese invasion force. The Japanese had an advantage in firepower and on February 27, Karel Doorman went down with his flagship, HMS "de Ruyter" and the Dutch East Indies surrendered on March 9, 1942.
On July 15, 1942, the Japanese Naval authorities ordered all Nederlands IndiŽ stamps overprinted with an anchor and the Japanese characters "Dai Nippon"
And something similar happened in Malaya.
Japanese occupied Burma, had her own stamps.
The Philipines also issued their own stamps and in 1943 even celebrated their Independence under Japanese supervision.

On the first anniversary of the war, Japan issued 2 stamps, celebrating Pearl Harbour and Bataan.
In the Philipines a set was issued to commemorate Bataan and Corregidor.
Soon after the USA entered the war, Churchill and Roosevelt had a conference in Washington, known as the Arcadia conference. During this conference they reached an agreement about a joint war council and a joint supply council.
On January 24, 1942 the Japanese took Rabaul, capital of New Britain and landed on New Guinea in March 1942.

The Japanese set out from Rabaul to make an assault on Port Moresby and a second Japanese force was to seize Tulagi on the Solomon Islands.

The Japanese took Tulagi, but because of the Coral Sea battle, were not able to take Port Moresby.

In the Coral Sea, a taskforce under rear Admiral Fletcher, successfully attacked the Japanese and although the USS "Lexington" was sunk and the USS "Yorktown" damaged, it was the first Naval victory for the Allies, as it had prevented the Japanese to land in Port Moresby.
Thanks to the Americans having cracked the Japanese Naval code, Admiral Nimitz knew all about the Japanese plans for the Island of Midway.
On June 4, 1942, the Japanese launched an airstrike against Midway and while the Japanese aircraft carriers were without defence, US divebombers wrecked three of them.
On July 21, 1942, 1800 Japanese landed near Buna to get to Port Moresby. The Australians stopped them on the Kokoda trail.
The Australian Militia originally consisted of volunteers, but was later reinforced by conscripts.
They regarded the native carriers, guides and soldiers with great respect and called them: "Fuzzy wuzzy angels".
On August 25, the Japanese landed at Milne Bay, but their tanks bogged down and the Allies had their first land victory on September 3, when the Japanese withdrew.
Of great importance to the Allies in the Pacific, were the coastwatchers, (part of the Royal Australian Navy).
They were to report all enemy movements, between the islands and along the coast.
It was because of a coastwatcher, that future President Lt John F. Kennedy was able to return to his base, after his PT 109 had been rammed by the Japanese destroyer "Amagiri"
Christmas Island lies 1400 km north of Australia and when the Japanese forces neared Christmas Island, management and staff of the Phosphate company and their families had to be evacuated in anticipation of an invasion.
Allied morale was boosted on April 18, 1942, when Lt Col James Doolitle and his bomber squad took off from the aircraft carrier USS "Hornet" and carried out a raid against Tokyo.
On September 10, 1942, Allied forces began to advance to occupy the Vichy French territory of Madagascar. South African forces took the island on November 6 and handed it over to the Free French on December 14 1942.
Three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the Allies were ready to strike back and 17 500 men landed in Noumea and for four years it was the principal base in the South Pacific.
In 1943 an airfield was build on Bora Bora, home of the musical "South Pacific".
On August 7, 1942, US Marines landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands under the command of Maj.General Alexander vanderGrift.
The major reason for the attack was the airfield, that the Japanese were trying to build and which could jeopardise American positions in the Pacific.
Sergeant Major Jacob Vouza, was a native Solomon Islander and was decorated by the Americans as well as the British for: "Gallant conduct and exceptional devotion".
A day after the US marines landed on Guadalcanal, the Japanese staged a nightattack off Savo Island and sank 3 US cruisers and the Australian cruiser HMAS "Canberra"
In January 1943, Roosevelt and Churchill held a nine day conference at Casablanca, where they agreed on "an unconditional surrender of the Axis powers".
Later that year, they had another conference in Teheran, which was also attended by Marshall Joseph Stalin of the USSR.
US intelligence, having cracked the Japanese naval code, knew that Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of Pearl Harbour, was to visit Japanese positions. He was intercepted, shot down and killed over the jungle of Southern Bougainville on April 18, 1943.
When after heavy fighting, Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal was secured, the marines landed on Tarawa in November 1943.
After having defeated the Afrika korps, the Allies landed on Sicily on July 10, 1943. Field marshall Montgomery went westwards and General Patton went straight for Messina.
In Russia, the Germans launched a new summer offensive at Kursk, but they lost the greatest tank battle of the war there.
In July 1943, the Russians started to organise the "National Committee for Free Germany" and spread the Manifest among POW's and even in the German lines.
Also in July, Fascism fell in Italy and Mussolini was imprisoned and later rescued by German paratroopers. In September, Mussolini announced a new republic in the North.
The Allies came prepared and brought their own stamps with them.
San Marino planned to issue these stamps to celebrate 20 years of Fascism, but as it fell two days before issue date, they overprinted the inscription and issued them to commememorate the fall of Fascism.
At the end of 1943, General Eisenhower was appointed "Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Force" (SHEAF) and thus in charge of the anticipated invasion in France.
In Januari 1944, the Allies landed on Anzio Beach and although there was no resistance at first, the Germans brought up reinforcements and the fighting lasted until March.
This war was draining Europe of its raw materials, as is shown on this Swiss stamp, that calls for " Save Waste material" and these Bulgarian stamps, that call for "old rags, waste paper and old iron".
The Governments-in-exile issued stamps for their diplomatic service and their armed services with the Allies.These Yugoslav stamps were also used for the Yugoslav Merchant Navy.
The Norwegians used these for their Merchant Navy, which had almost all gone over to the Allied cause.
The Dutch also used their London issued stamps, in the southern part of Holland, which was liberated in September 1944.

The Poles also used their stamps for their Merchant Navy and Armed forces and even overprinted some, to commemorate the taking of Monte Casino.
The Czechoslovakian Allied force also used their own stamps.
Later, the area around Trieste, became disputed. So half was governed by Allied Military Government and the other have by Yugoslavia.

The Invasion

And then on the 6th of June 1944, the much awaited invasion took place, after having been delayed for 24 hours, because of bad weather conditions.

These stamps from Jersey and the Isle of Man, show what an enormous undertaking that was, with more than 6000 vessels crossing the Channel.
Also for France, did the Allies bring their own stamps.
On the 15th of August 1944, the Allies made another landing in the South of France.
Heavy fighting followed, such as around Caen and the pocket of Falais, where the Poles, under General Maczek, copped a fair share.
On the 21st of August 1944, the first units of General LeClerc reached Paris and on August 25, the Germans formally surrendered, without having destroyed the city, as was ordered by Hitler.
After the liberation of France, the stamps of "Vichy France" were overprinted with R F (Republic of France).
On the liberation stamp, tribute was being paid to the "Maquisards" (the underground French army), while the other stamp shows a broken chain.
In September 1944, the Allies landed near Arnhem (Holland) to shorten the road into Germany.The British and the Poles (under General Sosabowski) fought very hard, but could not secure the bridges.
In July 1944, a plot was hatched to kill Hitler. On the left, we see Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, who planted the bomb and on the right, we see Ludwig Beck, who was supposed to replace Hitler, who did survive.
In Warsaw the "Home Army" rose up against the Germans and expected help from the nearby Red Army. When that was not forthcoming, they had to surrender in October.
At the end of August, Romania surrendered to the Russians and 20 years later, they celebrated that as a liberation.
In September Bulgaria was taken by the Russians and this was commemorated by stamps with broken chains and the date.
Later Georgi Dimitrov was elected as President of Bulgaria. In 1934 he had been on trial with van der Lubbe in Leipzig, for the burning of the Reichstag, but was acquitted.
Brussels was liberated on September 3, 1944.
On September 25, 1944, Hitler ordered the mobilisation of the population. By then the Red Army had taken Budapest and British and American forces were already on German soil.
Hungary plunged into chaos with a galloping inflation, as these stamps show.
In December 1944, the Germans lodged a last winter offensive to retake the port of Antwerp. It became known as the battle of the Bulge, but when they could not take Bastogne, their efforts were in vain.
On February 4, 1945, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt held a conference at Yalta.
In Slovakia, the Slovak partisans rose in August and made contact with the Red Army at the Carpathian Mountains in November 1944.
On March 7, 1945, the American army captured the bridge over the Rhine at Remagen and on April 25, the Americans and the Russians shook hands at the Elbe.
On April 13, 1945, the President of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away and Harry S. Truman became the new President.
These are the last postage stamps that Nazi Germany issued on April 20, 1945. One showing a SA man and the other a SS man.
On April 30, 1945, after heavy fighting for the city, the Russians hoisted their flag on the Reichstag Building in Berlin.
Germany agrees to an unconditional surrender and the war in Europe is over.
Denmark celebrates by showing saboteurs and the Danish flag arising out of the waves and Holland shows the Dutch lion defeating the dragon.

Luxemburg shows her gratitude to the "Big Four".
After the German surrender a conference was held at Potsdam near Berlin. It was here, that Truman was informed that the USA had manufactured the atomic bomb.

Germany was divided into four zones, the British and the Americans used the same stamps, while Austria also had four zones, but with the French using the Anglo-American stamps.
In the Pacific, the Americans continued their island hopping. On October 20, 1944, MacArthur returned to the Phillipines and on February 19 1945, US troops landed on Iwo Jima.
On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Another followed on Nagasaki on August 9.
On the fifteenth of August 1945, Japan agrees to an unconditional surrender. The surrender documents were signed on USS "Missouri" on September 2.
Peace issues of different countries.

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