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Yesterday in La Crosse

Victory in Europe, 75 years ago

Brad Williams

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The 8th of May in 1945 was declared V-E Day, marking the German surrender to the Allies in World War Two. It came five years and eight months after Adolf Hitler and the Nazis invaded Poland to start the war. Harry Truman marked his first birthday as President of the United States on the 8th, by announcing the Allied victory. On V-E Day, people were still wondering where Adolf Hitler was. Historians determined that Hitler killed himself a week before the Germans gave up. Meanwhile, the war in the Pacific was still going, and a Wisconsin newspaper headline said Japan was ‘much annoyed’ by the Nazi surrender.

Rationing of food, fuel, and other items would continue for a while. One newspaper ad promoted ‘Tang.’ Not the breakfast drink. That didn’t come along until the late 50’s. This ‘Tang’ was a canned meat produced by the Cudahy Packing Company, and was an imitation version of Spam.

Another ad in the papers asked ‘Are You a Has-Been?’ If you were weak and tired-out, with a lack of drive, you could buy ‘Tromone,’ containing vitamins, calcium, and phosphorus.

At the Oscars that spring, Bing Crosby won best actor for playing a priest in the Best Picture of the year, ‘Going My Way.’ Ingrid Bergman was best actress for ‘Gaslight.’  It was the first time the full Oscar ceremony was broadcast on radio, hosted by Bob Hope, and the show only lasted an hour and 10 minutes, in 1945, yesterday in La Crosse. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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