How Soldiers Received Mail During World War II

During World War II, letters were essential to the health of relationships. Soldiers and sailors who shipped overseas couldn’t make phone calls, which meant the only means of correspondence was by mail. The average soldier wrote six letters a week, but those letters took anywhere from a week to four weeks to cross the ocean to the United States. Each letter received at home was assurance to families that their servicemen were still alive and well. Each letter received on the front reminded servicemen why they were fighting. The U.S. military knew that letters from home were the single biggest morale booster, and a force with high morale fights better. However, mailbags took up valuable space on cargo ships and planes. The solution was Victory Mail (V-Mail) — letters that were written on pre-printed forms, photographed, reproduced on microfilm, and the rolls of microfilm transported overseas. There, the letters were printed and mailed to their destination. V-Mail, however, had its disadvantages. Letters had to be short, no enclosures were possible, the scent of perfume didn’t photograph, and lipstick prints gummed up the scanning machines. Nevertheless, V-Mail played a vital role in the war, and saved room for five million pounds of cargo.