In PFIB the December 1939 murder of Cleveland millionaire, Louis Sheridan, will become a closed case two years later when the nation turns its concerns to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
With the exception of one person (a female Congresswoman and renowned pacifist), the Congressional votes to declare war against Japan would have been unanimous. Pictured below is President Roosevelt signing a Declaration of War against Japan - a headline story around the world.
Three characters in PFIB (William O'Malley, Edward and Timothy Sheridan) volunteered for service. They endured the horrors and sacrifices of WW II with courage and determination.
IWomen also fought in the war - in addition to nurses, there were two voluntary branches of service - WACS [Women's Army Corps] and WAVES [Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service.]
With men deployed overseas, women entered the workforce at home - as pictured below at the Akron, OH Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company manufacturing gas masks for the war effort--and, of course, Rosie the Riveter.
On May 6, 1942, the Cleveland Press (Cleveland’s afternoon newspaper) began a Roll of Honor Book as citizens line up in downtown Cleveland to add servicemen’s names to the register.
Promoting the war effort in Cleveland included a streetcar in Lakewood, OH (western suburb of Cleveland) on Madison Avenue in 1943 advertising war bonds . . . and a Victory Garden in the heart of downtown Cleveland.
World War II ended in two stages. The Battle for Berlin (brutal fighting in the streets of Berlin) from April through May 1945, resulted in Hitler committing suicide and the German hierarchy formally surrendered on May 8, 1945 (V-E Day; Victory over Europe Day.)
Following VE Day, the Allies concentrated on conquering the Imperial Japanese forces. Pivotal to our success was “Little Boy” (the first atomic bomb) that would be dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. To achieve that goal, vital components had to be transported to the U.S. base at Tinian. The cruiser, USS Indianapolis (built in 1922) was retrofitted in 1945 by removing its armaments to accommodate the mysterious equipment. On board was William O'Malley.
On their return voyage back to the Philippines, the USS Indianapolis was attacked by a German sub on July 30, 1945 and the mighty cruiser sank in 12 minutes –the crew were unaware the radio room was destroyed before a distress signal could be sent. Of the 1,200 men on board, an estimated 300 died in the explosion and the remaining 900 were plunged into the ocean where they remained without food or water and exposed to the elements – blistering heat up to 100 degrees and frigid waters at night. With dehydration, blistering wounds from their burning ship, and circling sharks indiscriminately attacked the floating prey, many plunged into insanity from drinking salt water. Three were only 300 survivors.
Less than a week after the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history (as the USS Indianapolis would be forever known), the Enola Gay dropped the first Atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan followed by another A-bomb on Nagasaki three days later.
By September 7, 1945, Japan surrendered – VJ day. Pictured below is a photo in Times Square as soldiers return to a grateful nation.
After the war, men resumed jobs handled by women—a difficult adjustment after tasting freedom and independence before being thrust back into their former role as housewives. Although many experienced a burning desire to escape from routine lives, it would be several decades before Women’s Lib took hold.