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American soldiers in Paris celebrated Japan’s surrender, which ended World War II in August 1945.

American soldiers in Paris celebrated Japan’s surrender, which ended World War II in August 1945.

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

American soldiers in Paris celebrated Japan’s surrender, which ended World War II in August 1945.

Images of the Era: 1913-1945

Most Americans greeted the 20th century with optimism. The early decades saw economic growth and the expansion of democracy as women gained the vote. But two world wars, the Great Depression, and the nuclear age later tested such confidence.