- Electronic Republic: The 122nd Anniversary of the Fresno Republican Newspaper service
FRESNO DESK - The Republican newspaper first appeared in the year 1824 in Springfield, Massachussetts. Its founder and publisher was Samuel Bowles(1797-1851).
Alexis de Tocqueville actually met Samuel Bowles when the young Frenchman visited the offices of the Springfield Republican in 1832 on his American tour. After the meeting with Bowles, Tocqueville wrote in his diary 'I am of the opinion ..that what best explains the enormous circulation of the daily press ...is that among the Americans I find the utmost national freedom combined with local freedom of every kind.'
Bowles' son, Samuel Bowles(1826-1878) began work for his father as a copy-boy at the age of 17. After the elder Bowles died in 1851, the younger Samuel Bowles took on the role of publisher. With a small dedicated staff, Bowles made the Republican one of the half-dozen most influential newspapers in the United States.
Bowles single-handedly welded anti-slavery public opinion in the young nation into the conservative Republican Party of his day. He gave complete support to Abraham Lincoln and through hard-hitting and relentless editorials and opinion pieces the Republican condemned political and financial corruption in the White House, in Congress, and in the Courts.
The historic work, Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville chronicled the impact that newpapers like the Republican had in shaping America's unique political character.
The antecedent Springfield Republican's original purpose was chiefly the analysis and public discussion of political economics. Today's Fresno Republican Newpaper Co. is its modern West Coast descendant and exemplar.
The California Republican Party did not have a friendly newspaper with which to fight creeping Federalism invading state's rights as Theodore Roosevelt champioed the cause
of the Republic.
Meanwhile, Federalism was making its last-stand in back-country districts. The Springfield Republican endorsed John Quincy Adams(R) for president and achieved modest success. By 1846, with the coming of the electronic telegraph, it took on a new life and became distinguished in its literary quality, fiction serials, and history departments as well as its editorial policy.
In 1856, editor Horace Greeley, wrote in the Springfield Republican 'It is the best and ablest country journal ever published on the continent.' One of the outstanding features of the Republican was its concise writing and condensation.
Although the daily Republican helped to create the new Republican Party it has always remained an independent force in political thought.
The following short story appeared in the January 24, 1852 issue of the Republican (Springfield, Mass; Vol. 9, No. 21.
"WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT AT TWELVE."
A JUDICIAL SKETCH.
There was a judicial functionary residing in Boston some years since, whose legal acumen and profundity only equaled his general character otherwise, and who was a man "not to be sneezed at"at least when he was seated upon the bench of the Police Court, where he presided two or three days in each week. When seen in the act of delivering an opinion, the learned judge was "a picture to behold," and when he finally got it off, his was an opinion as was an opinion, and nothing else.
But the judge was very like other people in one respecthe would eat! And as he wended his way slowly across Tremont Row, to dinner, one day, his attention was arrested by the display of sundry 'heads of people' in Southworth's daguerreotype show case. The idea suddenly struck him that his own countenance wasn't a bad 'un for a pictureso he found his way up stairs, at once, into the reception room.
'What's the price of that size?' he asked of the polite attendant.
'Five dollars, sir.'
'Couldn't you put me on that for three?' pointing to the largest plate.
'We have but the regular prices, sir.'
'Yes, I know. But you see I'm one of the judges at the courtp'lece courtand these dog'ratype places are getting to be so very numerous in this community
'Yes, sir but a good picture'
'Ah, I und'stand. But you can take a copy, put in the case belowand every body knows the judges of the p'lece court.'
'Well, sir, as you're a public man, I shall take your picture.'
'Thank'eethank'ee said his honor. When shall I come in?
'To-morrow, at eleven, if you please, sir,' replied the attendant, civillyand the judge departed.
Next day, at half past ten o'clock, a hand cart man arrived before the door. He looked up, satisfied himself that all was right, and then shouldering a portion of his load, quickly found his way into the reception room of the artist, where he dumped his goods upon the floor without ceremony, and turned to bring up the balance.
'Hollo, friend,' said the attendant, 'what's all this about?'
'This is Soth'orth's ain't it
'It's all right then. Boss'll be here in a few minits. He's a comin' to have his pictur taken.'
'O, the judge? asked the attendant.
'Yes,' replied the carman, and five minutes afterwards the latter decamped, leaving sundry papers, books, inkstands, etc., etc., which he had brought up agreeably to order.
At eleven o'clock, according to appointment, the learned functionary made his appearance, with the luxury of a clean dickey on, and looking as wise as an owl.
'All ready? inquired his honor, good naturedly.
'Yes, sir; be seated,' said the operator, who now made his appearance.
'One moment, Mr. Dogratype,' remarked the judge, and an expression altogether indescribable, (with pen and ink) pervaded the learned gentleman's phiz. 'One moment, sir, if you please. There is much in the character of a pictur; and much depends on what persition the setter takes, in dog'ratypes as well as any other portrait.'
The artist was convinced instanter; and if he had entertained the slightest doubt before, all anxiety vanished at once, as the learned judge concluded his sentence. But he was not ready yet. >
'Therefore,' continued his honor, it would'nt do to take me in the ordinary way. Persition, Mr. Artist, persition is everything in these matters.'
'You are right, sir.'
'To be sure I am; and I want to be taken, you see, with my law books and things here, in my official persition.'
'Exactly,' said the enthusiastic artist, entering into the spirit of the thing.
'Yes, therethat's it,' continued his honor, raising himself up, and assuming a show of ferocity. 'Now, do you see. I'll fix myself; and when I say 'take me,' it'll be the time. You must imagine a witness standing there, and me addressing him, Mr. Artist. Mind now; and when I put the question to him, look out for the expression. Eh?
'I understand, sir.'
The Judge put on an unearthly scowl; his broad, bald forehead was filled with a dozen wrinkles; his round face was gathered up from its extremities, until it resembled a huge well baked apple; and then it was that the fearful interrogatory burst from his lips, 'Where were you last night at 12?'
"Take me now! take me now! shrieked the judge, as the perspiration rolled down the sides of his face; and Southworth did his best. The cap was placed upon the cylinder, and the deed was accomplished. The judge had been taken in his 'official position.'
A few minutes after, the operator produced his work. Such a twisted, contorted, bald pated, inexpressible countenance had never been conceived before, in all time!
'What's this, Mister?' exclaimed the judge confounded.
'It's your picture, sir.'
'I know it sir, and beg your pardon; but it is a most striking likeness of your official position!' added the artist quietly.
'It looks like the ghost of a dead nigger,' continued his honor, half facetiously and half in chagrin.
'How much is it'
'Three dollars, sir.,'
'How much to rub it out?'
'Rub it out, sirrub it out!' exclaimed his honor, indignantly; 'here's the money.'
The judge paid the V., the picture was destroyed, one to be taken in the natural way; and ever after that daguerreotype was finished, his countenance wore a pleasant expression, even when he was most deeply engaged in the perplexing duties of his "official position."
The historic Springfield Republican eventually was re-cast as a weekly known as the Fresno Republican in the California wild and rugged frontier town of Fresno in February 1877. Its original purposes were renewed as it played a key role in establishing the California Republican Party. In July 1892 it became a daily and changed its name to the Fresno Morning Republican and remained independent until November 1926 when it was sold.
In 1877 it had begun with a hard-hitting series of editorials promoting public accountability for soaring taxes and increasing Federalism and soaring National Debt. At that time the national debt was then only a paltry $3,352,380,410.
That debt mostly due to the destructive economic effects on productivity and rampant inflation resulting from the cumulative unpaid costs of fighting the Civil War by the United States Government.
Since the year 1887 the taxpayers of the United States have attempted to reform Congress' wayward tax and spend habits.
By 1996 the National Debt exceeds $5.1 trillion. There is good reason to continue and to perpetuate a historic Republican newspaper publisher's vision as the world moves cautiously into another new world at the millennium and beyond.
By 1996 the William Clinton presidency with the cooperation of a Democrat Congress pushed the Nation head-long into another implacable period of populist tax & spend fiscal irresponsibility.
Today's national Daily Republican newspaper traces its conservative editorial policy originally established by Samuel Bowles as based on the civil economics philosophy of Thomas Hobbes 1588-1679 [Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It, pp.3,5,16,356. Random House, New York, 1948.]
In another historical sidebar, the early history of California was written by ancestors of the Republican newspapers' owners& publishers.
Orrin E. Smith was a member of Samuel Brannan's Early California pioneers. These men were members of the Mormon group from Illinois who were the first English speaking residents of Yerba Buena (San Francisco).
The party arrived in San Francisco Bay aboard the ship Brooklyn on July 31th in the year 1846. The ship had carried the pioneers all the way from New York harbor, a journey of 24,000 miles. The site of the landing was near what is now the Hyde Street Pier close to an old Mexican Fort.
Brannan brought with the pioneer party many advanced technological inventions never seen in early California. One if these advances was the portable Franklin printing press.
Brannan intended to establish the first English newspaper on the Pacific Coast. Samuel Brannan, with the assistance of Orrin Smith operated the press in a second-story loft & grist mill on Clay Street in early San Francisco. They opened a printing business, and began writing and publishing the newspaper called California Star.
The California Star newspaper was sold on street corners in what is now San Francisco and was dispatched by ship in the earliest mail to the Eastern Seaboard and to the British Isles. Smith & Brannan told readers that California was a "haven of opportunity".
After the discovery of gold in 1849 California Star became the voice of San Francisco and of the Pacific Coast. Largely through breaking the news of the gold strike to the world the California Star gained prominence throughout a world eager to learn.
The gold strike caused a sudden population growth and wild prosperity in California. The size of the population increased twelve-fold in a single year.The publishers of the California Star soon had a thriving economic enterprise, expanding to meet the needs of the growing community. [Chas. Dobie, San Francisco: A Pageant, pp.95-109. Appleton-Century Co., London, 1933.]
The early history of the Republican newspaper is tied up with the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln(R) 1861-1865. Lincoln was the founder of the modern Republican Party in America. The owners of the national Daily Republican newspaper are paternal descendants of the Thomas Hobbes(English philosopher) family, and maternal descendants of the Nancy Hanks Lincoln's mother)and maternal descendants of the Orrin E. Smith (California pioneer of 1846).
The historic Fresno weekly Republican newspaper was sold by newsboys on the corner of Fresno Street and Van Ness Avenue, at five cents per copy. One of the Fresno Republican news boys, Niels Thomsen has chronicled that early experience in Fresno together with his later voyages around the world prior to WWII and his heroic exploits in defense of this nation. His latest work Voyage of the Forest Dream is an exciting glimpse.
The subsequent news organization known as the Fresno morning Republican newspaper continued to operate successfully until it was closed in the 1932 when the liberal publisher of the Sacramento Bee C.K. McClatchy, purchased the Fresno Morning Republican subscriber lists and began a new organization called the Fresno Bee newspaper.
The historic archives of the Fresno Morning Republican are still available on microfilm and may be viewed at the California History section of the Fresno County Main Library and at the Henry Madden Library photo-micrography services at Fresno State University, Main Campus. The original plates of the newspaper are preserved by the Fresno County Historical Society.
The modern incarnation of the Springfield, Mass. daily Republican newspaper was reorganized in 1981 and founded on graphical interface engineering. It has technically evolved since them, and now uses powerful JAVA Scripting, SHOCKWAVE & CGI programming with the latest versions of Internet and World Wide Web browsers like Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, AOL, and COMPUSERVE with multi-media plugins for video, graphics and streaming audio.
The national Daily Republican newspaper has been featured on C-SPAN for the newspaper's public affairs service, news, and political opinion for the past three years. See the C-SPAN Graphic on the Coverpage and Headline Page. And, The Daily Republican onLine newspaper has also received recognition in the Hall of Fame, C-Site permanent award. The Daily Republican is the 1995 recipient of the Gold Medal In Journalism for Best News Publication on the Internet! The historic Atlantic Monthly Magazine selected the Daily Republican as its political information site in 1996.
Two of Fresno's early Republican Party pioneers were physician, Chester H. Rowell, from Denver and school teacher, Albert Lincoln Hobbs from Springfield and Boston, Mass. Hobbs was the descendant of 16th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Rowell would be the founder and publisher of The Fresno Republican weekly newspaper. Albert Lincoln Hobbs would be the founder of a fruit packing and shipping company and the Chairman of the Fresno County Central Committee and of the California Republican Party.
In 1854 the modern Republican Party appeared in American politics as a transformation of the Whig Party. The first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln(R) 1861-1865.
In 1858 the town of Fresno was founded on only 50 residents. By 1876 Fresno had more than 3,000 itinerants and property owners. Dr. Chester Rowell arrived in that year and started the Republican newspaper partly in response to the civil strife he witnessed upon arrival. Fresno was by then a liberal, brawling, rowdy, Libertine, and wide-open frontier town of bawdy houses, saloons, cattle men, Sequoia logging mill workers, gold miners, gamblers, and railroad speculators.
Town government was ineffective, its officials were naive, illiterate, and lacked any interest in maintaining law and order. Graft, bribery, and corruption controlled City Hall. Citizens were apathetic and were even afraid to be on Fresno City streets after dark.
However, the powerful influence of the ideas and editorials published in the Republican newspaper appealed to Fresnans to establish peace and insure the safety of its people and their property in order to establish a social and economic foundation for growth and property.
Dr. Rowell's brother was a congressman in Washington whose son was Dr. Rowell's namesake. The younger Chester H. Rowell served as a Committee Clerk in Congress for his father after graduating the University of Michigan. he then took two years of post graduate studies at the University of Berlin before teaching college Latin, German, and French, in Baxter, Kansas.
On October 12, 1885, the Fresno City Township was incorporated. In 1895 young Rowell was hired by C. L. McLane, Fresno City School Superintendent for a teaching position at the 115 student, Fresno High School. Young Rowell was among its first five teachers.
Three years later, the younger Chester Rowell accepted the job as Editor of the Republican from his Uncle Chester Rowell. The name on the masthead was soon modified as the Fresno Morning Republican . The younger Rowell soon became well-known throughout the Nation as a crusading young journalist-editor attempting to clean-up Fresno's image of political graft and crime. He went after a change in the General Law for Cities of the Fifth Class.
Fresno operated without a Mayor under that law. Town government had been weak and run by five trustees. The Fresno Morning Republican campaigned for election of literate community leaders with commitment to limited government clean streets and a responsible business community.
A. Lincoln Hobbs, President and Manager of the successful corporation, Hobbs Parson's Company, was an international fruit shipper, President of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, an educator, and was impressed with Rowell's editorials in the Fresno Morning Republican and his community leadership in getting a new Charter for Fresno City.
Hobbs nominated Chester Rowell for Mayor of Fresno City. Rowell did not seriously accept the nomination but sought changes in the form of City government from behind the Editor desk. In 1902, Fresno voters approved the new City Charter, and elected their first mayor, Mr. L.O. Stephens.
Chester Rowell and A. Lincoln Hobbs became Charter Founders in 1890 of the Progressive Republican Lincoln Roosevelt League in California. During the 1890s both major parties were hurt by the rise of agrarian protest, but infighting proved most divisive among the Democrats; their collapse at the polls followed in 1896. Beginning in that year, increased voter strength made the Republicans the majority party in the Unites States for the next 25 years.
Party factionalism continued: Beginning in the 1890s Hobbs and Rowell led a group of Republicans known as the Progressives sought to balance the party's commitment to the industrial elite with the use of federal power to correct some of the worst excesses of the Southern Pacific Railroad monopoly and similar corporation trusts that dominated the political economy of California.
The former Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who had promoted
some progressive measures while in office, later became the presidential
candidate of a third party, the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party after the tumult of the Chicago Republican Party Convention.
Hobbs invited Theodore Roosevelt to Fresno and drove the automobile carrying the former president in a Van Ness Avenue Bull-Moose Party rally and Parade.
Hobbs and Rowell were the sponsors of the original state campaign for obtaining the direct primary in California under which the Bull Moose Party became qualified.
Rowell and Hobbs also played a key role in the election of Hiram Johnson(R) to the Office of California Governor in 1910. During the Johnson Administration, the political power of the Southern Pacific Railroad "octopus" was broken.
Fresno businessmen, Hobbs and Fresno Morning Republican Editor and Publisher, Rowell developed the maxim Vote for the Man - Not the Party! and later lived up to that charge in gaining support for third party candidate Theodore Roosevelt in California. The Republican Party was split between former President Theodore Roosevelt(R) and candidate William Howard Taft(R) after the Chicago Republican Party Convention. Presidential candidate William Howard Taft(R) was elected in 1909. In time, Roosevelt proved right, but the Republican Party had sustained party disunity which led to California Governor Hiram Johnson (R) and President Taft's defeat in 1912, to Woodrow Wilson(D).
Soon after California Governor Hiram Johnson's was also defeated. These events led to Chester Rowell divesting himself of his financial interest in the Fresno Morning Republican and being appointed by President Wilson to the U.S. Shipping Board. For many years after leaving Fresno he was the Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle while serving on the Board of Regents of the University of California. He received many honors in the fields of economics, politics, peace, law, science, and sociology.
The Democrats controlled the presidency from then until 1920, when the voters, seeking a return to normalcy after World War I, brought the Republicans back to power under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.The Republican Party remained dominant throughout the 1920s, its strength unaffected even by another progressive defection in 1924.
Despite opposition from agricultural and progressive Republicans,
it continued to foster industrial economic values in a time of extraordinary prosperity. Herbert Hoover, first as secretary of commerce, then as president from 1929 to 1933, symbolized Republican commitment to unbounded national prosperity rooted in massive industrial expansion.
The Great Depression began during Hoover's administration. The depression severely damaged America's fundamental belief in the dream of unlimited growth and prosperity. Trust in the Republican party was damaged. The economic collapse and extraordinary high unemployment that followed the stock-market collapse in 1929 made economic history. The slow and Stoic response of President, Hoover's administration was too little, too late.
The Democrat Party was successful in capturing the presidency by demoting economics issues. However, it was not successful in resolving the underlying employment problems.
Finally, the New Deal coalition, headed first by Franklin D. Roosevelt and later by Harry S. Truman, was boosted by a war economy that permitted political power of the Democrat Party to remain in control of the White House for a generation. During that time the Republican Party would lose five presidential elections in a row.
Chester Rowell died at the age of 80,closely following the presidential election of Harry Truman(D) in 1948.
Editorial Mission Statement:
In this newspaper, the separation of news from the editorial is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news and to opinions in the editorials. Nothing in these functions is intended to eliminate from the news honest, in-depth reporting, or analysis or commentary when plainly depicted as such.
At this newspaper we never expected history to oblige our corporate editorial policies and purposes so well. Yet, in response to publication of the historic Republican newspaper columns and opinion pieces, the ship of state did more than correct its course in the early 20th Century. It reversed engines, and Communism has now self-destructed, and the U.S. emerged unchallenged as the world's sole remaining political and economic power.
The pre-eminent role played by the Republican newspaper in all this has been re-emphasized in a speech by our Economics Editor and Acting Manager & Publisher, Dr. Howard Hobbs in 1989 on this newspaper's One Hundred Fifty-Seventh Year Anniversary Board Meeting. He said:
'The national Daily Republican newspaper, in itself, is the most consequential statement of conservative opinion ever made. For five generations we have been in the forefront of the journalism movement that has transformed public policy in California and the Nation. It has even changed the ideas, the politics, and finally the economic policies of most of the important international states and nations the world has known. This was necessary to winning the most important war ever waged by any newspaper anywhere. History has not, of course, ended even if the historic No. 10 Web Press is now still and silent. The Daily Republican continues in Cyberspace with the Internet Web Press newspaper and its well chosen words now written on the very air itself, for the entire world to read!'
Howard Hobbs first became known around the nation through a June 1942 AP news photo of him, as a child on the sidelines, actively participating in a Market Street military parade and saluting the American Flag. The story and photo appeared in a number of national daily newspapers. [This AP photo caption read that Howard (on right) and his friend were attracting the attention of the crowd on Market Street as they saluted every American Flag that passed by, even small ones on automobiles. -Chattanooga Free Press.]
A 20th Century descendant of 16th Century English political economist Thomas Hobbes, and nephew of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Mark Twain, Howard is also linked to early Fresno Morning Republican newspaper co-founders, Dr. Chester Rowell and First Presbyterian Church founder, A. Lincoln Hobbs, Fresno Hobbs-Parsons Co. shipping company founder, of Massachusetts and Fresno.
Howard shown here in a 1955 combat Fleet Marine Force photo, was a 1953 Fresno High School grad who enlisted in the Marines and became the youngest Company Sgt. serving in Fleet Marine Force units in the Western Pacific, Japan and China during the Cold War era. Howard's recent column Final Tribute To A Cold War Hero has been made a part of the National Archives and is on display at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Museum web site. Hobbs won the First California Ford Fellow post in the 1958 California Legislature, while completing his bachelor's degree at Fresno State in only three years.
Under his Ford Foundation fellowship, Hobbs researched and wrote the California Legislature's Fresno Housing Study in 1959. That was an analytical research report on the South-Angus Street Redevelopment Project in Fresno, CA.
The Fresno Housing Authority headed up by Fresno State College Social Science professor, Karl Leonard Falk, embarked upon large-scale downtown urban renewal that displaced several hundred Fresno small businesses and hundreds of downtown poor minority residents in order to obtain federal block-grant funds from Washington D.C. for the deconstruction of Fresno's Main Street on Futon and to pave the way for what has become a sterile anti-business government reservation.
Professor Falk's re-development fallacy of a centrally planned government mall. In its wake came the systematic destruction of the historic Fresno County Courthouse, the Carnegie Library, theaters, restaurants, stores, and professional offices, 40 blocks of private homes, the closing off Fulton Street, the main access to downtown businesses, and making the remaining access streets one-way further restricting access to the downtown area by car.
As the Ford Fellow he met and worked with vice-president Richard Nixon, California governor Goodwin Knight, and U.S. senator William F. Knowland.
Hobbs earned his bachelor's degree in economics & journalism at Fresno State in 1959 and read law at the William Blackstone School of Law in Chicago graduating with honors in 1970. Hobbs holds a 1981 doctorate in Economics C/I from the University of Southern California. He was the chief economist at the Economics Institute in Washington D.C. from 1986-1996.
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World Wide Web Mission Statement:
'We are compassionate of heart and conservative of mind. Established in Springfield, Mass., in 1824, the Daily Republican Interactive is now commemorating its 174th Anniversary. We publish a fearless, National print and electronic daily newspaper, on-line via the Internet WWW serving readers across the Nation and in 140 countries.
The Daily Republican sponsors original research on government policy, the American economy, and American politics. Daily Republican research aims to preserve and to strengthen republican foundations of a free societyŚlimited government, competitive private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and vigilant defenseŚthrough rigorous inquiry, debate, and clear writing.'
Web User Report Contains audited report showing readership on the date-bar of the Front Page.
[Bibliographic Primary Sources: Fresno Morning Republican et al. archives 1877-1923, Victor Bogart, "Chester Rowell and the Lincoln-Roosevelt League,"
(Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Berkeley, CA., 1962), 54; The Story of an Independent newspaper: One Hundred Years of the Springfield Republican 1824-1924, by Richard Hooker, The MacMillan Co. New York, 1924;
Solomon B. Griffin's People and Politics;Allan Nevins, The Evening Post, A Century of Journalism; and American Political History by Alexander Johnston & James Albert Woodburn;
Irving Babbit's Democracy & Leadership, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1924; The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2d ed., pp. 237, 1876, Columbia University Press, New York, 1956;
Edwin M. Eaton's Vintage Fresno: Pictorial Recollections of a Western City, pp.6-9. The Huntington Press, Fresno, California, 1965; Verne E. Edwards' Journalism
in a Free Society, Wm.C. Brown Pub., New York, 1970; Elizabeth Grey's The Story of Journalism, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1969; Leonard W. Levy's Legacy of
Supression: Freedom of Speech & Press in Early American History, Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 1960; Frank L. Mott, American Journalism, A History 1660-1960,
pp. 265-265, Macmillan Co., Toronto, 1971; Alexis de Tocqueville's, Democracy In America(1835), Alfred Knopf, New York, 1945.]