Introduction Training Florida Home Front Floridian Service Impact on Florida
Florida on the Eve of War
Pearl Harbor and its Impact
Military Training in Florida
Land Warfare
WAAC Training at Daytona Beach
The German Submarine Threat
Civil Defense & Patrols
Rationing & Government Effort
Scrap, Gardens & Kids' Activities
War Bonds & Women's Roles
Homegrown Armor: The Alligator
National Guard & State Guard
United States Army
Navy & Marines
Coast Guard
Army Air Force
Women on Duty
African Americans
War Heroes
War's Impact on Florida
Citrus Goes to War
Industry and War Products
Tourism During the War Years
The War Ends
How WWII Changed the State

War's Impact on Florida: How WWII Changed the State
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The Second World War marked the emergence of Florida as a modern, influential state. The conflict spurred economic development and led to a postwar population surge. The twenty-ninth most populous state in 1940, Florida now ranks fourth behind California, Texas, and New York.

The war brought increased development and prosperity to both rural and urban areas and hastened the demands of women and minority groups for greater economic and political opportunities. Black Floridians, who had fought for the "Double V" of victory over both fascism and racism during World War II, later played a major role in the civil rights movement. Women, afforded more opportunities during the war, also pushed for equal rights at home and in the work force.

While many of the bases established during the war were deactivated at the end of the conflict, the military maintained facilities at a number of locations. Many military airfields were transferred to local government control and became civilian airports, some of which are still in operation today.

During the latter stages of World War II and in the immediate postwar years, the testing of an American version of the German V-1 rocket, known as the JB-2, took place at airfields in the Florida panhandle. In 1950, a hybrid V-2 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, now an important site of the nation's space program.

Many veterans who had trained in Florida returned to live in the state after the war. The GI-Bill brought affordable higher education to ex-service personnel and contributed to the rapid postwar expansion of Florida's higher education system. With peacetime prosperity, Florida's tourist industry also continued to expand.

World War II changed Florida by setting the stage for the rapid modernization that transformed a rural, agricultural state into a modern, dynamic one. Floridians today can look back with pride on the accomplishments and sacrifices made during World War II, and look forward to the dramatic challenges and opportunities facing the state in the future.

Florida Remembers WWII
A new housing development in Daytona Beach, 1950 -- (Florida State Archives)
 A new housing development in Daytona Beach, 1950
(Florida State Archives)
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