History In Ink®  Historical Autographs






Chester W. Nimitz

The American WWII Fleet Admiral signs a formal portrait

Chester William Nimitz, 1885-1966. American Fleet Admiral; Commander In Chief of Pacific Naval Forces in World War II.  8" x 10" black-and-white photograph of Nimitz, inscribed and signed on To Kenny Lazier— / with best wishes / C. W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral USN.

The photograph shows a determined Nimitz, one of the United States' greatest naval commanders, in his uniform as Fleet Admiral, with the five-star pin on his collar.  Nimitz was promoted to Fleet Admiral on December 19, 1944, after a series of victories over the Japanese Imperial Navy at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Solomon Islands campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

Nimitz began his World War II career ten days after Japan attacked and destroyed virtually all of the American naval fleet at Pearl Harbor.  He was promoted to admiral, named Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, and assigned the daunting task of assembling 1,000 ships and 2,000,000 sailors to face the Japanese.  Nimitz carefully deployed the cruisers and carriers that remained, and despite the shortage of ships, airplanes, and supplies, he succeeded in halting the Japanese advance.  Nimitz not only took command of the Pacific Fleet but was also designated Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, which gave him operational control over all of the allied air, land, and sea forces in that sector.  As ships became available, he went on the offensive.  Following the sea victories noted above, Nimitz's subsequent successful amphibious assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa drove the Japanese back to their home islands. 

When Japan formally surrendered on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, Fleet Admiral Nimitz signed the instrument of surrender for the United States.

Nimitz has inscribed and signed this photograph in gray-black ink.  There is a light diagonal crease from the upper right corner that is visible only when the photograph is turned just right in the light, there is scattered light silvering to the darkest areas of the image, and the right blank white margin has been slightly trimmed.  The back of the photo bears a numerical back stamp and has some small stains and an old dealer pencil notation, none of which shows through to the front.  Overall the photograph is in fine to very fine condition.




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