United States and American History: Early 1945 and WWII

About the history of the United States in 1945, World War II continues, kamikaze planes, the concentration camps discovered, Japanese balloon attacks, Germany surrenders.


Jan. 25 Grand Rapids, Mich., became the 1st U.S. city to add fluoride to a municipal water supply, for prevention of tooth decay.

Apr. Admiral Nimitz announced the existence of a suicidal branch of the Japanese air force: the Kamikaze Corps. Navy use of shells with proximity fuses had virtually stopped hits by conventional bombing methods, and the Japanese had enlisted pilots who, willing to die for Emperor Hirohito, crashed their explosive-laden planes into their targets. Radio Tokyo gave out the names of the latest "hero gods" daily. In the battle for Okinawa, 7 U.S. aircraft carriers were badly hit by kamikaze pilots.

Apr. 15 The horror of the Nazi concentration camps came to the world's eye as Allied troops pushed deeper into the Fatherland. In the most notorious--Treblinka, Auschwitz, and Dachau--over 6 million men, women, and children, particularly Jews and Poles, were gassed or otherwise murdered. Unrepentant Dr. Gustav Schuebbe, head of the Nazi Annihilation Institute at Kiev, admitted that he, personally, had killed 21,000 inmates in the 9 months he had "processed" his human material. Said Dr. Schuebbe:

I still maintain that, just as one prunes a tree-by removing old, undesirable branches in the spring-so for its own interest a certain hygienical supervision of the body of a people is necessary from time to time.

Apr. 30 The leader of the 3rd Reich, Adolf Hitler, committed suicide in an underground bunker in Berlin. Dying with him: Eva Braun, his longtime mistress and wife of one day.

May A poll conducted by the University of Denver, Colo., asking adult civilians if they thought the U.S. would be involved in another war within 25 years, produced a 36% "Yes" response.

May 5 Mrs. Elsie Mitchell and 5 neighborhood children were killed during an outing in the Gearhart Mountains 65 mi. east-northeast of Klamath Falls, Oreg., when a strange object which they had chanced upon in the forest exploded. The object turned out to be a Japanese balloon bomb, one of 285 which found their way to American soil between November, 1944 and April, 1945. The Japanese had floated over 9,000 of the balloons toward North America, but malfunctioning of the ballast-control mechanism doomed the attack to failure. Mrs. Mitchell and the children were the only W.W. II victims to die on the U.S. mainland.

May 7 Germany surrendered. Signing for Germany at Rheims: Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff. He was subsequently jailed, tried at Nuremberg, and hung as a war criminal.

June 26 The Charter for the United Nations was written in San Francisco, Calif., with delegates from 50 nations in attendance. Selected as the UN Secretary General for the conference: Alger Hiss.

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