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World War II Victory Medal

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World War II Victory Medal

For the medal awarded to merchant mariners, see Merchant Marine World War II Victory Medal.
World War II Victory Medal

World War II Victory Medal
Awarded by Department of the Army
Department of the Navy
Type Military medal
(Campaign)
Eligibility Served in the armed forces between the dates of December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946.
Status Inactive
Statistics
First awarded December 7, 1941
Last awarded December 31, 1946
Precedence
Next (higher) European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Equivalent Merchant Marine World War II Victory Medal
Next (lower) Army of Occupation Medal or
Navy Occupation Service Medal
Campaign streamer (bottom)

The World War II Victory Medal is a campaign medal of the United States military which was created by an act of Congress in July 1945. The medal commemorates military service during World War II and is awarded to any member of the United States military, including members of the armed forces of the Government of the Philippine Islands, who served on active duty, or as a reservist, between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946.

The World War II Victory Medal was first issued as a service ribbon referred to as the “Victory Ribbon.” By 1946, a full medal had been established which was referred to as the World War II Victory Medal. The medal's front depicts Nike standing victorious, holding a broken sword, representing the broken power of the Axis, with one foot upon the helmet of Mars, the Roman god of war, representing the end of the conflict. Behind Nike is a sunburst, representing the dawn of peace. The reverse recalls the "Four Freedoms" speech by President Roosevelt, with a laurel sprig, surrounded by the words "United States of America", and the dates of formal US participation in the conflict, "1941-1945". The edges of the suspension and service ribbon of the medal revisit the corresponding multicolored rainbow ribbons of the Allied World War I Victory Medal. This again honors all the allied nations. The wide red center represents the new sacrifice of blood by World War II combatants. The thin white lines separating the central red band from the outer multicolored bands represent the rays of new hope, two of them signifying that this was the second global conflict.

There is no minimum service time limit for the issuance of the World War II Victory Medal, and the National Personnel Records Center has reported some cases of service members receiving the award for simply a few days of service. As the Second World War ended on September 2, 1945, there are also cases of service members, who had enlisted in 1946, receiving the medal without having been a veteran of World War II. The reason for this late date is that President Harry S. Truman did not declare an official end of hostilities until the last day of 1946.

The corresponding medal from the World War I is the World War I Victory Medal. Unlike the World War I medal, clasps were not issued for the World War II Victory Medal because campaign medals were frequently awarded instead.

On August 8, 1946, the separate Merchant Marine World War II Victory Medal was established for members of the United States Merchant Marine who served during World War II.

See also

References

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