Definitions

Victory Medal

World War II Victory Medal (United States)

The World War II Victory Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created by an act of Congress in July 1945. The decoration commemorates military service during the Second World War 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 ribbon, and was referred to simply 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 the conflict, "1941-1945". The edges of the ribbon revisit the multi-colored rainbow ribbon of the World War I Victory Medal. This again honors all the allied nations. The wide red center represents the new sacrifice of blood by WWII combatants. The thin white lines separating the central red band from the outer multi-colored 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 in August 1945, there are also cases of service members, who had enlisted in 1946, receiving the decoration 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 decoration from the First World War is the World War I Victory Medal.

See also: Awards and decorations of the United States military

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