Newspaper readers in the early 1940s were accustomed to their daily newspaper coverage of war battles and international conflict. World War II affected virtually every aspect of human life. The Fargo Forum was no exception.
On August 15, 1945 an “Extra” addition was published with a 3.5" headline celebrating “Japan Quits.” An accompanying front page editorial cartoon featured “a beaming Uncle Sam” holding the extended arm of the Statue of Liberty. A smaller sub-headline shouted “Whole U.S. is one big celebration.” Another page one headline trumpeted: “Surrender terms accepted without qualification, Truman announces; MacArthur to officiate at finish,” referencing President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur.
Amid the paper’s pages that covered all aspects of the war was a sober statistic, too well known to anxious citizens. A current tally of the local war dead had been compiled. The total was not complete, but rather a two-page chronicle, in tiny type, of those area beings known as lost – up to that final day’s tally.
Another front page headline stated: “In today’s edition of the Fargo Forum are the names of 2,020 North Dakota men who lost their lives in World War II. Included in that total are 133 residents of Fargo.” Another page listed the war dead from nearby northwestern Minnesota; 349 names, including 38 from Moorhead.
Unfortunately, the tragic list was not complete. Casualty lists updates were expected to continue for several more weeks. Yet to be counted were the missing. And there was also the wounded; many of whom would go through life minus an arm, a leg or blinded. Some would spend the rest of their lives in veterans hospitals. That article ended with the observation that it was “Just part of the price North Dakota pays for today’s rejoicing.”
Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark
Fargo Forum newspaper Aug 15, 1945