ST. LOUIS • In August 1945, newspapers braced readers for an invasion of Japan. More than 19,000 Americans had died taking Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the run-up to the final event. Fear of ghastly death lists sobered the yearning for victory.
“U.S. Atomic Bomb Blasts Japan,” screamed the Post-Dispatch on Aug. 6, 1945, describing the mysterious flash over Hiroshima. Inside pages spilled forth details about the top-secret bomb project, including contributions of scientists at Washington University and Monsanto Co.
After the second A-bomb blast Aug. 9 over Nagasaki, the St. Louis Tavern Operators Association planned for the victory bash surely to come. “It will be no occasion for getting drunk,” warned its secretary, J. Miles Bench.
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On Aug. 14, 1941, President Harry S Truman confirmed Japan’s surrender, ending World War II. Soldiers at Jefferson Barracks, who were restricted to the base until Truman’s announcement, delivered at 5 p.m. local time, rushed downtown. Celebrations were in full force: Office workers filled the air and streets with paperwork from their desks, teenagers snake-danced down Olive Street, adults banged on washboards, and servicemen found girls to kiss. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
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