The Missing Months – March to November, 1945

There are six months unaccounted for in my father’s letters.  No letter rejoicing in finding a church at last or hashing out the details.  I began to wonder what happened during that time.  Did my grandmother lose those letters? Did my parents stay in Los Angeles?  Did they return to Detroit? What was happening in the world during that time?

The only major event I could find happening in the family, outside of my parents move from Los Angeles, was the death of my Grandmother Pearl Cleage’s oldest brother George Reed on May 28, 1945 in Detroit.

In the larger  world a lot was happening.  I put together this timeline that covers a small part of it.


March 29 – Last letter written by my father home from Los Angeles.

April 1, 1945 – U.S. troops invade Okinawa. There were about 35,000 American casualties.

April 11, 1945 – U.S. troops reach the Buchenwald concentration camp. (For more information about the photo taken in the camp, click)

April 12, 1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 63. Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.

April 28, 1945 – Benito Mussolini is captured and executed.

April 30, 1945 – Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide as Soviet troops advance through Berlin.
May 7, 1945 –  Germany surrenders unconditionally.
May 8, 1945 – V-E Day is declared — Victory in Europe.
May 28, 1945 – Uncle George Reed died in Detroit
July 16, 1945 – The world’s first atomic bomb successfully tested in New Mexico
August 6, 1945 – U.S.  drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
August 9, 1945  – U.S. drops the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.
August 14, 1945 –  Japan agrees to unconditionally surrender.
August 15, 1945 – V-J Day is declared — Victory over Japan.

In late August, 50,000 workers rallied in Madison Square Garden, 30,000 in San Francisco and 20,000 in Detroit demanding higher wages. (For more information, click.)

August 28, 1945 – Rev. Albert B. Cleage appointed pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.

September 2, 1945 –  Japan signed the formal surrender agreement. World War II is over.
Ho Chi Minh declares Democratic Republic of Vietnam  independent in Hanoi.(To read Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 Declaration of Independence click.)

In September 43,000 oil workers in 20 states walked off the job demanding a 30 percent pay increase.  They were followed by 200,000 coal miners, 44,000 AFL lumber workers, 40,000 Bay Area machinists and 70,000 Midwest truckers. (For more information, click.)

October 7, 1945 – Rev. Albert B. Cleage preaches his first sermon as pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church.

In October and November the U.S. closed the 8 remaining internment camps for Japanese and Japanese Americans during WW2. (For more information, click.)

GM workers went out in November for a 30 percent wage increase,  shutting down the largest corporation in the U.S for 113 days. (For more information, click.)

6 thoughts on “The Missing Months – March to November, 1945

  1. Very well done, Kristin! I love the way you inserted the thumbnail pics along the way for each event. It was certainly a busy, and tumultuous few months in the world, as well as in your family. I guess letter-writing had to take the back burner for your dad, for a bit. 🙂


    1. Thanks Renate. I have a feeling they left Los Angeles soon after that last letter. I think I remember my mother talking about hearing about the bomb being dropped on Japan while she was at her mother’s but maybe that was about Pearl Harbor being bombed.

  2. Great timeline! It is really interesting to see how important dates in your family history aligned with national and international events.

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