On June 23, 1945,
a convoy of U.S. military personnel entered Berlin, Germany, to
confer with Russian authorities and establish control of the American
sector of the jointly occupied city. Forty-eight-star U.S. flags,
handmade in the nearby town of Halle, were specially ordered for
the convoy vehicles. Colonel John J. Maginnis, a field officer involved
with the U.S. Armys military government operations, kept one
of these flags and framed it as a souvenir of the historic event.
With the end of World War II, the American
flag came to symbolize the new roles and responsibilities the nation
would undertake as a world power: helping to rebuild postwar Europe,
forming alliances aimed at curbing future aggression, and fighting
a cold war against the spread of communism.