Kissing, crying and cheering: 75 years ago, Dayton celebrated the end of World War II

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At the end of World War crowds of ecstatic Daytonians clogged downtown in a pouring rain hugging, kissing and cheering.

Daytonians huddled around radios in homes and factories 75 years ago, eager to hear the news from President Harry S. Truman.

The president announced Japan had surrendered — officially signaling the end of World War II — and the lid popped off the city.

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After four years of hostility, Dayton went wild when World War II finally ended. Crowds filled the downtown streets with joyous celebration. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

After four years of hostility, Dayton went wild when World War II finally ended. Crowds filled the downtown streets with joyous celebration. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

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After four years of hostility, Dayton went wild when World War II finally ended. Crowds filled the downtown streets with joyous celebration. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

Crowds of ecstatic Daytonians clogged downtown hugging, kissing and cheering in the pouring rain as confetti and streamers filled the air.

“Bands, tin cans, shouting, tick-tacks, bells, whistles — all added to the confusion and constant din…there was no organized parade…it just mushroomed!,” the Dayton Daily News reported.

Automobiles piled high with people waving flags, handkerchiefs and banners drove up and down Main Street with horns honking.

Guests of the Biltmore Hotel shook their pillows from the windows sending feathers onto the heads of the celebrating crowd below.

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Crowds celebrating the end of World War II filled downtown Dayton Aug. 14, 1945. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Crowds celebrating the end of World War II filled downtown Dayton Aug. 14, 1945. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

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Crowds celebrating the end of World War II filled downtown Dayton Aug. 14, 1945. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

A man stripped down to his white undershorts and a raincoat while dancing a jig on top of a car parked on First Street.

The declaration of peace was a sense of relief after years of war.

Approximately 839,000 Ohioans, roughly 12 percent of the state’s population in 1940, served in the armed forces during World War II, according to the Ohio History Connection. Of those men and women, 23,000 died or were missing in action when the war ended.

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“PEACE!” blared a newspaper headline in red block letters. The Dayton Daily News special edition sold like hot cakes on the street.

A soldier and a sailor were spotted kissing every girl they could among the joyous crowd. “Both emerged looking like battle-scarred veterans, their faces covered in lipstick.”

And across the city, factory whistles blew the Morse code “V” signal for victory instead of the usual long blasts.

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Crowds celebrating the end of World War II filled downtown Dayton Aug. 14, 1945. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Crowds celebrating the end of World War II filled downtown Dayton Aug. 14, 1945. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

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Crowds celebrating the end of World War II filled downtown Dayton Aug. 14, 1945. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

The following morning the newspaper described Dayton streets strewn with confetti and torn paper after the city “spent itself in sweet abandon.”

“The memory of that night of nights for which a city waited and prayed through almost four years of ‘sweat, blood and tears,’ will endure forever.”

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After four years of hostility, Dayton went wild when World War II finally ended. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES


After four years of hostility, Dayton went wild when World War II finally ended. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

Combined ShapeCaption
After four years of hostility, Dayton went wild when World War II finally ended. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

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