Minnesota's Greatest Generation

Arlett Bredeson: "Hurrah! The war is over!"

The announcement of the end of World War II caused the streets of cities across America to erupt with joyful, impromptu celebrations. Arlett Bredeson recorded the celebration she witnessed in her hometown of Minneapolis in a letter written to her friend, Orville Mickelson, a sailor stationed Guam, in the South Pacific. View original letter.

Letter Transcript

August 15, 1945
VJ Day +1

Dear Orv,

Hurrah! The war is finally over! Bet you fellows really celebrated the good news! The CBS reporter in Guam told how everyone was rejoicing, but I bet he didn't tell all. How about that?

As for Minneapolis, we all were anxiously waiting for the news to break yesterday while we were at work, but didn't get the news until 6 o'clock our time. The WCCO mobile unit was cruising through downtown stopping at different points to get the public's reaction. The "air raid siren" on top the Northwestern Bank Building was so loud in the background that you could hardly hear the broadcast. Then they switched over to New York, Washington and other parts around the world, including Guam, to give us an idea of how things were being celebrated there.

Went downtown last night, and Hennepin and Nicollet were just jammed! Traffic was still trying to go through on Hennepin, but Nicollet was just filled with people. Of course there were a lot of them who had celebrated too much, and a lot who were drinking out in the open. Anyway, everyone seemed to be having a good time! Me? I was good and sober!

Of course the office was closed all day Wednesday, as were all businesses, stores and restaurants. Didn't do much on my day off. In the morning I cleaned the house, slept in the afternoon, and went to church in the evening. We had a regular printed form that is sent out to any church who wants to use it. Was very similar to the one we used on VE Day.

After church, Carol and Yvonne came over to hear the records by Alec Templeton that Carol gave me for my birthday. (I'm now twenty - only one more year to go! I know you are or will be 22 this month on the 13th or 30th. Can never keep yours and Norm's birthdays straight. Anyway, hope you have or had a lot of fun!) Just to keep the records straight, mine was the 6th.

Cargill was supposed to be closed on Thursday, but me like a dope called my boss to find out if he were coming down, and since he was - had to work! That's what I get for being so darned curious!

Still haven't got back in the groove after my trip, but that's another story.




Bredeson, Arlett, Orville Mickelson Papers. Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection.