World War II Ends: A Letter Home

  • Posted 7/27/2012
  • Essay 10157
See Additional Media

This is a letter written on August 10, 1945, by William J. "Bill" Nass (1924-1986), a 21-year-old soldier stationed in Shanghai, China.  He wrote this letter home to his parents in Seattle immediately after the Hollywood film he was watching, The Clock, was stopped and the announcement was made that World War II had ended. As it turned out, the announcement was a few days premature and Nass held the letter until Japan's surrender was verified, writing "This was written during the first announcement we got.  It was false!  Waited for the real thing before mailing it." The letter is unique because Nass was actually writing it while his fellow soldiers were, in their joy, yelling and screaming and throwing chairs. The letter was submitted by Kathryn Nass Ciskowski, daughter of William J. Nass. 

The Letter

Aug. 10 !!!

10:30 pm.

Oh Thank God!!

I still can’t believe it – and won’t be able to until I hit 20th Ave. again!  I was sitting in the show seeing “The Clock” when it hit us.  They announced it.  I thought the place was coming down!  Chairs thrown and all.  Right now I can hardly hear myself!  It’s all fireworks, hollering and firing guns.  Lead flying all over.  Tears just run down my face.  I just have to write -- I won’t see any sleep tonight!  They’re all getting drunk.  I couldn’t do that.  That’s not my way of celebrating.  I just want to thank God.

I can’t even imagine the doings in the states but I’ll bet they’re something!  So doggone unexpected!  Every one figures it would go til the end of ’46!  Never on Aug. 10, 1945.  Oh ma and pa --  I’m going nuts!  Of course it will be 6 months til I get home -- but now at least I know I will get Home!  Maybe for Xmas again huh?

Waiting for Truman to speak in 10 minutes.   I was going to send some presents home but will bring them myself!

Am I dreaming?  For the last 2 and a half years -- the day that I dreamed of but never dared for -- here today!!  I’m so darned nervous.  Worse than on furlough.  No more furloughs!

No one ever dreamed of it -- so soon.  Japs had more sense than we thought or else the bomb was so terrible.

What yelling, screaming, singing -- flares and sky rockets shooting.

Oh how the worlds prayers have been answered!  Think of all the lives saved from the invasion of Japan!!

I’ll wear my new shoes home!!

Oh golly they’re banging the doors to the mess hall down -- I’ll write more tomorrow -- if I wake up and find out its real -- 

            Til then – All my love – to you, pa

            --and God

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You