All Godwin classes between about 1929 and 1954 were defined by either the Great Depression or wars - WWII and the Korean conflict. ( For some legal reason wars started being called conflicts with the Korean conflict. People did still die however, and to the average person it still seemed like war. ) World War II ended in Europe in March of 1945. It would go on in the Pacific theatre for about six more months, but the outcome was predictable. Like all emergency events in the US, life was often very bad for the enlisted man or woman, but for most Americans the war was mainly a nuisanse. The government tried to instill a sense of sacrifice with various artificial shortages - rubber, gasoline, and various household items - but in reality life was pretty normal on the home front, and everyone who could or would work had employment. None of this was lost on those on the front lines, but this is the usual division of sacrifice in emergencies.
Once the war in Europe was over mountains of war surplus began to flood the US. One can see a war surplus Jeep in one of the annual photos. For a while they were the off road vehicles of their time. For several years after the war completely ended there would be a US recession as the economy struggled to get back to a civilian basis. Many jobs were lost when the war ended, women mostly went back home, and what jobs there were related to converting factories back to civilian production.
This was the world the Godwin class of 1945 graduated into. Most would not have to serve in the Korean conflict five years later, and the economy did start to pick up in a few years. Much of the rest of the world was devastated as a result of WWII, and once the US did start to produce mostly civilian goods, and the returning service men and women were absorbed back into the economy, life was mostly good, jobs were plentiful and the needs of the wider world almost endless. The US had an intact manufacturing infrastructure after the war, and there would be limitless demand for products of all kinds. The remaining farms around Godwin were quickly carved up for subrurban housing, and there was a population explosion, now referred to as the "baby boom." This would greatly affect school expansion in the early 1950s, and in year 2010 and after might well bankrupt the Social Security and Meidcare systems.
For much of the 1950s and 1960s the US economy was strong. An emerging Cold War would have unforeseen consequences that were, ironically, mostly good for the US economy, and education, and led to US citizens landing on the moon by 1969. Albeit with a lot of help from German rocket scientists. This era might well represent a peak in US education, as the forces for performance, and the opportunities for having trained, have mostly gone the way of the Cold War, and today one hears more about things like "outsourcing."
Televison, interrupted by WWII, would start to emerge in the late 1940s - minus channel one, which was a victim of the war. The frequency was taken over for war use and never given back.
On balance, the class of 1945 had boundless opportunities. Mostly long retired now, they will likely be the last generation to enjoy generous taxpayer funded income and medical benefits. But their working years saw the rise of two car families, lake property and cottages, boats, new houses in suburban settings, and almost no government regulations. In a material sense they likely experienced a high water mark in the US, and enjoyed standards of living their parents couldn't dream of, and that their children will likely not be able to afford.
The cover of the 1945 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1945 class annual, made available for scanning by by Edna (Carpenter) and Forrest Keyes, Godwin class of 1934 and 1932 repectively, is presented below. To view the pages, simply left click on the page numbers. Each page has been scanned at about 150% of its original size in order to make some of the details easier to see. You might have to move the image around in your browser in order to see it all. Be sure to make your browser full screen size for easier viewing.
Also be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of each page; comments and notes are included on some of the pages. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to the main menu. People should consider contacting me if they have additional information, or comments.
If anyone has any other photographs pertaining to the class of 1945 they'd like to see included here please contact me.