War and Peace

The corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga just after WWII ended, August 14, 1945

It was a cacophony of joy: Horns blared, women screamed, and radios blasted updates. World War II had just ended. Some celebrants raided liquor stores for provisions, while others dislodged trolleys from the wires, preventing them from moving more than a few feet. The entire LAPD was on 24-hour patrol. Newspaper photographer Cliff Wesselmann captured the raucous scene—replete with a Pacific Electric car in the background—at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga on August 14, 1945. When Wesselmann died, a camera store owner discovered about 18,000 negatives of his documentation of L.A., which spanned several decades, and eventually sold the collection to Gregory Paul Williams. Many of the photographs appear in Williams’s 2006 book, The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History.