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President Roosevelt Dies


Banner newspaper headlines across the nation announced the sudden death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on this date in 1945. The country’s only four-term commander-in-chief passed away from a massive cerebral hemorrhage, launching Vice President Harry Truman into the presidency.  

Readers of the Fargo Forum learned that Truman received the news in a phone call to his office. The story said: “His face went grey with the news of President Roosevelt’s death. He seemed agitated. Jamming his hat over his head, he rushed out. An office staffer said, ‘He just announced, ‘I’m going to the White House.’ Then he was through the door like a flash.’”

Inside that same issue of the paper was the now-familiar war news, reporting on the battle casualties of local and regional military personal. Seven North Dakota men were listed as dead, with 11 wounded, two missing, and one confirmed as a prisoner of the Germans. 

The newspaper’s inside sections included news that the Nazis lost 989 planes in six days. In one episode, 11 American Thunderbolt pilots strafed two airfields where hundreds of planes with no fuel were parked. They destroyed 74 planes and 18 others were damaged.

But not all the news was about death and destruction. Fargo entertainment this date in 1945 included Laurel and Hardy in “Nothing but Trouble” at the Grand Theatre with a ticket price of 30 cents.

Also showing was “I’ll be seeing you” with Joseph Cotton, Ginger Rogers, and Shirley Temple, “in her first really grown-up glamor role.” 

Joseph Cotton was also featured at the Park Theatre, starring with Teresa Wright in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “Shadow of a Doubt.” The entertainment at the Park also included a Li’l Abner cartoon, and a news serial.

Such were the times on this date, in 1945.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

Fargo Forum April 13, 1945

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