Minnesota's Greatest Generation

August 14, 1945 — VJ Day

The end of the Second World War brought many reactions from the people of Minnesota. Minnesota servicemen and women stationed in the Pacific Theater rejoiced at the prospect of finally coming home. On the home front some people cried while others danced.

Parades spontaneously formed on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul with children leading the way. Others celebrated more quietly, holding prayer services in local churches. All felt an enormous sense of relief and an unspeakable joy, at the same time remembering those who had given their lives in the struggle.

These are just some of the stories shared in the Minnesota's Greatest Generation Project.

VJ Day crowd celebrating in downtown Minneapolis, 1945. Photograph Collection. Location no. E448.17 r15 
Negative no. 8731
VJ Day crowd celebrating in downtown Minneapolis, 1945

Newspaper Front Pages

August 14, 1945

August 15, 1945

Additional newspapers related to this historic event can be found at the Minnesota Historical Society Library.

Objects

Medal of Honor awarded to James Dennis LaBelle
A Navy Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to James Dennis LaBelle, Anoka, MN, for heroism at Iwo Jima, 1945.
Army master sergeant's field jacket
U.S. Army master sergeant's "Eisenhower" field jacket worn by Donald E. Rudolph of South Haven, MN.
 

Photographs

Man and boy reading about Japan's surrender, VJ Day. Location no. E448.17 r11, Negative no. 8720
Young women praying in church, Minneapolis, VJ Day. Location no. E448.17 r10, Negative no. 8726
Group gathered around office radio, VJ Day. Location no. E448.17 r13, Negative no. 8718
People celebrating on VJ Day, Minneapolis. Location no. E448.17 r4, Negative no. 872
Soldier kissing a woman on VJ Day, Minneapolis. Location no. E448.17 r16, Negative no. 8724
 

More images from VJ Day

Letters

Letter from Anne Bosanko Green
Letter from Anne Bosanko Green, stationed at a military hospital in California, to her parents in Minneapolis, dated August 14, 1945.
Letter from John S. Sonnen
Letter from John S. Sonnen, stationed with U.S. occupation troops in Germany, to his wife Georgiana, in St. Paul, dated August 14, 1945.
 
Letter from Anne Bosanko Green
Letter from Georgiana Sonnen in St. Paul to her husband John, serving in Germany, dated August 15, 1945.
Letter from Eugene Jordan
Letter from Sailor First Class Eugene Jordan, to his former teacher, Mrs. Palmer of Wilson High School in St. Paul, dated August 26, 1945.