The End of World War II, Christmas and the Greatest Celebration in American History Christmas 1945 - The Book That Tells Story

December 10, 2013 — Print this Page

Seventy five years ago in December. 1943, GI’s and sailors were in foxholes and on warships fighting the intense battles of World War II. Two years and two weeks later, many of them would be in the midst of the greatest traffic jam in American history in the greatest celebration in American history. Matthew Litt captures it in his book Christmas 1945.

“The American Christmas of 1945 was a four – day period in American history unrivaled in its spirit, beauty and poignancy, “ Litt wrote in the Introduction. “Epic peril, sacrifice and tragedy prepared Americans to celebrate that holiday with a spirituality that underlies the true meaning of Christmas.”

With Christmas falling on a Tuesday, President Truman announced a four day week-end for Federal employees, a rarity in the hard working American culture of the day, and the rest of the nation fell right into it. And the Army, Navy and Marines fell right into it too, as Christmas approached, the military discharged many of its soldiers and sailors in Operation Santa Claus attempting to get as many home as possible, for the holiday. The rush created the largest traffic jam in American History necessitating the Governors of Illinois and Indiana to call out the National Guard to control traffic. It was done with good nature. Good will was everywhere, laughter and smiles governed the day

Christmas 1945 connects that American culture through newspapers and radio reportage of the time weaving the great American cities and small towns into a grand tapestry of love, compassion, and spirituality with its stories of generosity, sharing and reaching out to other. The stories transcend time and bring inspiration to the readers of today. Christmas 1945 is about that special Christmas when reaching out to the less fortunate, the grieving and the wounded played a larger role than opening a present under a tree.

Matthew Litt is an attorney and a member of the Supreme Court Historical Society. He resides in Chesterfield, New Jersey with his wife and family. Christmas 1945 is available at Barnes and Noble bookstores nationally and better bookstores in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is also available on and

Contact: Don Bracken, (Tel) 845-398-8161

Printed from the History Publishing Company website, visit .

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