The Japanese surrender in World War II—which was promised on Aug. 14-15, 1945—ushered in a period of national upheaval in America. The nation’s major companies were eager to capitalize on the changed mood. As these ads that ran in TIME during those weeks show, everyone from office-supply companies to cigarette makers tried to use the news to tailor their pitches. They appealed to veterans looking for new stability, to housewives who had kept the home fires burning, or to businesses starting the process of converting back to a peacetime economy.
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