May 8, 1945
Ferdinand the San Luis Obispo fire horn screamed in celebration of Victory in Europe. The Telegram-Tribune shrank the masthead to half the normal size to accommodate the giant "GERMANY QUITS" headline.
But as President Harry Truman said, “Our victory is only half-won.” Over the next few weeks, Europe would get smaller headlines, and the war with Japan see more ink. In Paris, war correspondents protested that the chief of The Associated Press filed an unauthorized dispatch describing the German surrender at Reims. Other correspondents had held the story pending approval from supreme headquarters.
The Soviets insisted on a formal surrender ceremony in Berlin. To save lives, a cease-fire had been ordered, but some scattered fighting continued. The United Nations conference in San Francisco gained new urgency with the impending peace in Europe.
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A funeral was held for the San Luis Obispo 6-year-old boy who had been killed earlier in the week. The search continued for the killer.
May 10, 1944
Floodlights were turned on the U.S. Capitol dome at night for the first time since Pearl Harbor. A fleet of 400 B-29s raided Japanese oil facilities.
Casualties on Okinawa had reached 16,425 Americans, including 2,684 killed. It was estimated that 16 Japanese were killed for each American death.
Between saturation bombing raids and the Soviet street to street fighting, Berlin had been torn to pieces, according to a story by the former Berlin bureau chief of United Press Joseph Grigg Jr. He had trouble finding his old office at 43-45 Unter Den Linden. Bomb craters and piles of debris filled the streets and there was no fire department or water in the mains to fight fire. He compared the destruction to that of Stalingrad or Coventry.
The Associated Press announced it “profoundly regrets” the unauthorized dispatch detailing the German surrender at Reims. Several key Nazi leaders were now found dead of suicide including the propaganda minister Paul Joseph Goebbels and his family.
Hitler’s secretary Martin Bormann was said to be dead as well, but speculation that he had escaped to South America would circulate for years. DNA tests in the late 1990s confirmed Bormann’s death.
The Soviets did not offer confirm they had recovered Hitler’s body. At least four bodies were found near his bunker.
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, commander of the defeated German armies in the west was still parroting the Nazi party line. He said Hitler would have been happy to make peace with the west and continued the fight against Russia. “It didn’t make sense for two Germanic races to beat one another to pieces,” he said.
Pvt. George Quintana of Creston was reported killed in action in Germany. He graduated Paso Robles Union High School in 1942.
Lt. Lee Tucker of Shandon was killed April 17 in Italy. He had been wounded by a sniper earlier in the war and had returned to action after several months in the hospital.
May 14, 1945
Heinrich Himmler, Gestapo chief, was being sought by at least five Allied governments who charged him as a war criminal. Among other crimes he was said to be responsible for was the destruction of Lidice and his role in concentration camp atrocities.
Nagoya, Japan, was hit with 500,000 firebombs, releasing a 17,000-foot-tall smoke column as nine square miles of the city burned.
A $500 reward was offered two weeks after a child was killed in San Luis Obispo. No one had been arrested.
Mrs. Harry Teuber of San Luis Obispo got the best Mother’s Day present when a telegram came saying her son Francis M. Daly was alive. He had been reported killed in action Nov. 14, 1943, but the radioman/gunner on a B-24 had been freed from a Rangoon prison camp. Originally it had been thought his bomber had exploded with no survivors.