World War II lasted for six years and one day and involved almost all the world’s countries, divided by the Axis and Allied powers. The Second World War is noted as the deadliest wars with 50 to 85 million fatalities.
As the war raged on the U.S. Congress created military medals to honor the service of the brave men and women who served their country.
WWII Victory Medal
Instituted by congress in 1945 for service in the Armed Forces from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946.
The award is also extended to the armed forces of the Government of the Philippine Islands who served on active duty (or reserves) between December 1941 to December 1946.
The WWII Victory medal had over 12 million eligible recipients.
Asiatic Pacific Medal
Instituted in 1942 this medal is awarded to those who served in the Asiatic Pacific theater for 30 days.
There are 21 authorized Army campaigns, some are: Burma, East Indies, Aleutian Islands, China Defensive, New Guinea, Western Pacific, Southern Philippines, and China Offensive.
There are 28 authorized Navy campaigns, some are: Southern Solomons, Coral Sea, Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Rennel Island, Iwo Jima, Okinawa Gunto, Naval Group China, Philippine Islands Operation.
Europe-Africa-Middle East Medal
Created in 1942 to those who served in the European-African-Middle Eastern theater for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days. This medal was awarded for these campaigns:
Egypt-Libya, Air Offensive Europe, Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Normandy, Northern France, Southern France, Northern Apennines, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe, Po Valley.
Army Occupation Medal
Instituted 1946 for those who served 30 consecutive days in the occupied territories of former enemies from 1945 to 1955, or 1945-1990 in Berlin, Germany.
Those territories include: Germany, Italy, Austria, Japan.
The medal was awarded to those who served with the Army or Air Force.
Navy Occupation Medal
Instituted in 1948 for those in the Navy or Marines who were stationed for 30 days from 1945 to 1955, in any Navy occupied space. These spaces include:
• Germany, excluding Berlin: May 1945- May 1955
• Austria: May 1945- July 1955
• Berlin: May 1045- 1990
• Italy (Venezia Giulia E. Zara or Udine): May 1945- September 1947
• Korea: September 1945 to June 1949
• Japan (including islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, Ryukyu, Bonin-Volcano Islands): September 1945- April 1952
Women’s Army Corps Service Medal
Instituted in 1943 for those who served in the Women’s Army Corps or the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps