Flashback Friday: Florida and World War II

75 years ago this week, World War II began when Germany invaded Poland and the British and French declared war on the Germans. The United States would not become formally involved in the conflict until December 7, 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, but the USA was very involved in arming and financing the British war effort from the Fall of France in June 1940 onward.

The war made Florida into a modern state transitioning a sleepy highly rural Deep South state into the region’s most urban and diverse state by 1960. Florida’s location and availability of training areas made it an ideal place to station troops and train those who were going off to fight in Europe. Most of the training areas for the Pacific were in the western states, but significantly General “Vinager” Joe Stilwell one of the highest ranking US generals was a Florida native, having been born in Palatka.

The Florida Division of Libraries and Information Service has a great World War II  section to peruse and for those of you who live near Tallahassee (or visit during Legislative Session), visiting the Museum of Florida History and seeing the World War II exhibit is a must.

The University of South Florida also has a nice tight narrative here.

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