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1945 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1944

1945 75 Years Ago | History Snapshot

  • Politics: President Harry S Truman had no Vice President during his entire first term April 12, 1945 - January 20, 1949 after FDR's death.
  • Influential Songs include: Till The End of Time by Perry Como, Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?) by Billie Holiday and There! I've Said It Again by Vaughn Monroe
  • The Big Movies included Mom and Dad, Spellbound and The Bells of Saint Mary's
  • Minimum Wage in 1945: 40 cents per hour
  • A Peninese male pubby, AKC registered: $60.00
  • The World Population was ~ 2,466,000,000
  • And... Betty Lou Oliver had a bad day on July 28, 1945. First a B-25 Mitchell airplane hit the Empire State Building, while she was in the elevator, which then fell 80 floors. She broke a few bones and had other injuries, but survived. This descent still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall ever recorded.

World Series Champions

Detroit Tigers

NFL Champions

Cleveland Rams

Stanley Cup Champions

Toronto Maple Leafs

US Open Golf

Not played due to WWII

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Sgt. Frank Parker/Sarah Palfrey Cooke

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

not held

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions

Oklahoma A&M

Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1945 - Tulsa over Georgia Tech
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1945 - USC over Tennessee
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1945 - Duke over Alabama

Kentucky Derby

Hoop Jr

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Shieling's Signature

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Harry S. Truman

Miss America

Bess Myerson (New York, NY)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Jennifer Jones, Veronica Lake, Carole Landis, Dorian Leigh, Dorothy McGuire, Jane Russell, Gene Tierney, Alexis Smith, Lana Turner

"The Quotes"

"Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities"
- Aldous Huxley

"Who's on First?"
- Bud Abbott, in 'The Naughty Nineties'

"I'm Chiquita Banana and Iíve come to say - bananas have to ripen in a certain way..."
- Chiquita Bananas

"An iron curtain is drawn down upon their front. We do not know what is going on behind."
- Winston Churchill, to Harry S. Truman, regarding theDemocracy and the Russian-controlled Communist bloc.

Melvin E. Biddle, for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge, earned the Medal of Honor on October 30, 1945, by President Truman. When presenting the medal, Truman whispered "People don't believe me when I tell them that I'd rather have one of these than be President."

1945 Pop Culture History

Frank Sinatra cancelled a $10,000 gig and traveled to Gary, Indiana to convince white high school students striking against integration to return to school. Sinatra called it "the most shameful incident in the history of American education."

In his 1945 cartoon debut The Friendly Ghost, Casper attempts suicide by laying across railroad tracks, letting a train run over his head. It just passes through him because he's already a ghost.

A farmer chopped off a chicken's head, missed the jugular vein, a clot formed and some of the brain stem survived, providing basic homeostasis functions. Mike the Headless Chicken toured in sideshows for 18 months and earned the farmer $4,500/ month at the peak of his popularity.

Prior to the first nuclear bomb detonation in July of 1945, isotopes such as strontium-90 and cesium-137 did not exist in nature. Pieces of art and bottles of wine created before 1945 can be tested for cesium, if they contain traces of cesium they would almost certainly be fake.

A radar engineer named Percy Spencer was working at Ratheon. He stepped in front of a magnetron, a device that powers radars. He noticed a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. Later that year, he filed a patent for the first microwave oven.

FDR founded an organization to find a cure for polio, and believed that if every American gave only a dime, polio would be eradicated. Because of this motto, after his death in 1945, FDR's face was put on the dime, and his organization was renamed "The March of Dimes."

Alexander Fleming predicted the rise antibiotic resistance in his 1945 Nobel Prize speech. He warned that massive use of penicillin could lead to the propagation of mutant forms of bacteria that would resist the drug.

A 1945 Life article estimated that before the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings "probably no more than a few dozen men in the entire country knew the full meaning of the Manhattan Project" More than 100,000 others employed with the project "worked like moles in the dark".

Slinky is from a Swedish word meaning 'stealthy, sleek and sinuous.' Each slinky has about 67 feet of steel, and was first invented by Richard James while working for the military in his home. He dropped a spring and it 'slinkied' off a tabletop and some books. In 1960, he left the he founded (James Industries) and became an evangelical missionary in Bolivia.

A modern singing birthday card has more computing power than the Allied Forces in 1945.

The term "ground zero" came from the spot at the base of a tower named "Zero" at White Sands Missile Range from which they drop-tested the first atomic bomb as part of the Project Trinity test.

'Trinitite' is the name given to sand turned into glass due to the Atomic Bomb Testing at Trinity during WWII.

World War II News and Information

On May 6, 1945, Chuck Norris was born, on May 7, 1945, the Nazis surrendered.

Assuming the population of the world in 1945 is correct at around 2.7 billion, 3% of the world was killed in World War II.

The US government produced 500,000 Purple Heart medals to prepare for the 1945 invasion of Japan. When the operation never took place, the medals were placed in storage and distributed. All military action since then still has not depleted the supply - there are over 100,000 in storage.

70 scientists who worked in the Manhattan project signed a petition pleading for president Truman to delay using atomic weapons on Japan before considering an observed demonstration of its power, but it never made it to Truman before the bombings.

Since 1945, all British tanks have come equipped with tea making facilities.

General Dwight D. Einsenhower predicted that people would try to dispel the holocaust as a falsehood, and ordered innumerable pictures to be taken of the Nazi crimes to hinder any such attempts.

During World War II, future US President Dwight D. Einsenhower predicted that people would try to deny the holocaust ever happened, and therefore ordered people to take as much photographs of the Nazi crimes as possible in order to avoid such attempts.

Tommy Tucker was a squirrel that wore women's clothes and performed tricks to sell war bonds in WW2.

Hajimi Fuji, who volunteered for the kamikaze but was refused acceptance because he had a wife and two young children. To honour his wish his wife drowned her two young girls and drowned herself. Hajimi then flew as a kamikaze pilot,meeting his death on the 28th May 1945.

900 Japanese soldiers were forced to retreat through 10 miles of mangrove swamp, during which hundreds were to be eaten by the thousands of saltwater crocodiles lying wait, in what is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the "Worst crocodile disaster in the world".

Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams who missed almost five full baseball seasons fighting as a fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War and still managed to hit 521 home runs.

On July 28th, a US B-25 bomber accidentally hit the Empire State Building in New York. 14 people were killed.

The Russian and American troops never met during the WWII, except once in a town called Torgau along the Elbe River, on April 25, 1945.

Eddie Slovik, a Private executed for desertion during WW2 in 1945, was the first American soldier to be executed for desertion since the American Civil War.

Days after Hitler's suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division. This was the only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II.

On August 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, in his radio announcement declaring the country's capitulation to the Allies in WWII, never used the word "surrender" or "defeat" but instead stated that the "war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage." It was the first time his voice was heard by the Japanese people.

Bob Barker was trained as a Navy fighter pilot in WW2, but wasn't sent to a fleet squadron in time to fight. He once said: "I was all ready to go, and when the enemy heard that I was headed for the Pacific, they surrendered. That was the end of World War II."

The Kyuiu Incident: The Japanese Army staged a (failed) coup d'etat against Emperor Hirohito to prevent him from surrendering to the Americans at the end of World War Two.

An Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer who fought in World War II, Hiroo Onoda, did not surrender in 1945. In 1974 his former commander traveled from Japan to personally issue orders relieving him from duty. Onoda had spent almost 30 years holding out in the Philippines.

Dutch people have adopted the graves of American WWII soldiers buried at Margraten, Netherlands. They visit regularly with flowers and graves are passed to the next generation. There is a waiting list to adopt a grave.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

An airplane crashed into the Empire State Building, injuring elevator operator Betty Oliver. When rescuers attempted to lower her on an elevator, the cable snapped, plunging her 75 stories down. She survived the fall, and to this day holds the record for longest survived elevator fall.

In 1945, fallout from the first US atomic bomb test contaminated a river in Indiana. This led to a Kodak Film employee discovering the secret test. He kept the discovery secret until 1949.

The Catholic Church, unofficially, but through some of it's clergy, may have helped some Nazi's escape Germany for Latin America. Escapees reputedly included Franz Stangl, Klaus Barbie, Heinrich Mueller and Adolf Eichmann.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi is the only man on record to survive both nuclear bombs in Japan in 1945. He was in Hiroshima on business during the first bombing, and returned home to Nagasaki with burns to his upper body. He died in 2010.

August 6th, 1945 at 8:16 a.m. was the deadliest moment in history, killing over 70,000 people in 5 seconds.

On March 9/10, 1945, 300 B29 bombers dropped nearly 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on Tokyo creating a 40-sq-km firestorm that killed over 100,000 and maimed another million. It was the most destructive single bombing in history, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

A group of Soviet school children presented a US Ambassador with a carved US Seal as a gesture of friendship. It hung in his office for 7 years before discovering it contained a listening device.

The last president to have a net worth under a million dollars was Harry Truman, in 1945

From colonial times through the 20th century, New York City had one universal day every year when apartment leases expired. This caused the city's streets to be chaotically flooded with furniture and moving carts every May 1st. The tradition ended by 1945.

When Norway was occupied by Germany during WWII, the Nazis instituted the Lebensborn program, under which Norwegian women were coerced into having the children of Nazi officers. The most famous Lebensborn child is Frida Lyngstad of the band ABBA.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts


Ebony began publication

Guideposts began publication

The Habits

Reading Dr Benjamin Spock's Baby and Child Care was a must for young parents.
Reading Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
Reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Reading Loving by Henry Green
Watching The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Lost Weekend, Spellbound, Mildred Pierce, Blythe Spirit, and Detour in theaters

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1945 include:
The Andrews Sisters, Les Brown and His Orchestra, Frankie Carle and His Orchestra, Perry Como, Xavier Cugat and His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Helen Forrest, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Dick Haymes, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, Betty Hutton, Harry James and His Orchestra, Louis Jordan, Sammy Kaye, Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, Gene Krupa and His Orchestra, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Johnny Mercer, Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, The Merry Macs, Vaughn Monroe, Pied Pipers, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Kate Smith, Charlie Spivak and His Orchestra, Jo Stafford, Martha Tilton

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Popular Movies

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Walk in the Sun, Anchors Away, And Then There Were None, The Battle of San Pietro, The Bells of St. Mary's, The Children of Paradise, Detour, I Know Where I'm Going, Leave Her to Heaven, The Lost Weekend, Mildred Pierce, Mom and Dad, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Rome Open City, Scarlet Street, The Seventh Veil, The Southerner, Spellbound, The Spiral Staircase, They Were Expendable, The Thin Man Goes Home

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1945
# 1 Hits of 1945
Pop Culture News

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