The front page of the Richmond Independent announces the death of
President Franklin Roosevelt. Courtesy Richmond Museum of History.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who saw the United States through the Great Depression and led it through most of World War II, died 72 years ago this week on April 12 1945, passing the leadership role to Vice President Harry S. Truman just months after starting his unprecedented fourth term in office.
Many businesses in Richmond and around the East Bay, all heavily involved in war work, closed for a day of mourning.
Richmond and Roosevelt are strongly linked because of the city’s role during the war, now celebrated at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park.
His death came as delegates were arriving in San Francisco from around the world for the historic conference that would lead to the creation of the United Nations. Roosevelt did not live to see VE Day, signaling the surrender of Germany, less than a month later.
Truman would come to San Francisco in June for the United Nations conference and be greeted by a ticker tape parade down Market Street.
Our thanks to the Richmond Museum of History for making its archives available.
Note the ad at the lower left urging war workers to stay on the job, despite reports that the
fall of Germany was near.
President Harry Truman is greeted with a parade down Market Street in
June of 1945 when he arrived for the United Nations conference.
Truman waves to the crowd at the parade in his honor in San Francisco. “Men shouted
while women screamed,” the Chronicle reported.
VE Day was proclaimed by Truman less than a month after he succeeded Roosevelt.