The fourth year of the United States’ involvement in World War II dawned in January 1945. Few doubted that United Nations’ forces were winning on all fronts. Italy had long ago been knocked out of the conflict, and now both Germany and Japan were reeling under repeated air attacks and battle front-defeats.
Around–the-clock bombing was laying waste to their cities, military sites, railroads and other targets, while America and its allies grew stronger. Colorado prospered, as industry and coal mining rebounded from the gloomy Depression years of the 1930s.
Women took on new roles outside the home, while men served in the armed forces. It shocked some Americans to see women working in factories and other jobs previously under male domination.
However, changes obviously were coming to Durango, the state and the United States, as well as to the rest of the world. The pre-war days were gone forever.
The Durango Herald Democrat of Jan. 2, 1945, kept its readers informed and offered advice:
Americans must get more mileage from shoe leather in ’45. (The military had first call on this vital material.)Coffee ration rumors have gained headway. The War Administration Board is spiking rumors that coffee rationing will be resumed. It announced there will be from three to four months’ supply of it in the country at the beginning of the new year.Durango High School continued demonstrating its winning ways by defeating the Farmington Mission team, 43-28.The Pacific war is blazing with new fury along a 1,100-mile front southwest of Japan. Carrier planes are raiding Formosa and Okinawa. (The Japanese air force was no longer a factor in the war and its navy neared the same fate.)On Jan. 4, 1945:
A $2 million health program is proposed for the United States of America. It could be established in no time.Safeway advertisement: Hamburger, 24 cents per pound; can of corn, 14 cents; can of beans, 11 cents; flour, 45 cents for a 10-pound bag; a jar of peanut butter (16 oz.), 23 cents; oranges, five for 52 cents; Northern toilet tissue, 5 cents; sweet potatoes, 9 cents per pound.(The newspaper also reminded readers that they must have ration stamps for these items.)
Duane Smith is a Fort Lewis College history professor. Reach him at 247-2589.