WWII History Final MarThe United States’ efforts during World War II drew heavily on both the people and resources of the state of Florida.
Over 250,000 Floridians volunteered or were drafted into the armed forces. Dozens of military bases were established or expanded in the state and personnel flooded into Florida by the thousands. Many soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who trained or served in Florida later returned to the state as retirees and helped fuel the postwar economic boom.
Below is a quote from Gary Mormino’s book, Hillsborough County Goes to War that summarizes the impact of WWII on Tampa.
“World War II was the single most important event in Tampa history. The war rescued the city redirecting it’s future while resonating with the past. A decade of sustained prosperity brought hundreds of thousands of new residents to the Bay Area thousands of new residents to the bay area. Hundreds of suburban developments bulldozed away orange groves and palmetto scrub. Television began to compete with radio and soon rooflines sprouted antennae.
Hillsborough County rejoiced when State Senator Sam Gibbons helped secure the University of South Florida for Tampa. Its location anticipated the future growth of the county. The year 1956 marked the opening of Tampa’s first great shopping malls, Britton Plaza and North Gate. The shopping malls signaled the decline of downtown and the boom of suburbanization. More ominously, the passage of the interstate Highway Act doomed many of Tampa’s most beloved neighborhoods. Interstate highways 4 and 275 cut grievously into the urban fabric of Ybor City, West Tampa, Seminole Heights, and Central Avenue. World War II acted as a giant watershed. We are still dealing with its consequences.”
The WWII Memorial Dedication at Veterans Memorial Park took place on Saturday, December 7, 2013 along with a tribute to the men and women killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. This memorial is in honor of the 16 million who served in uniform, the 400,000 who died, the 505 Hillsborough County men and women who sacrificed their lives. It also serves as a place of honor for the citizens on the home front who supported the war effort who are represented by a Model B-26 Marauder Bomber that was added to the original memorial plaza on November 9, 2023.
Click on the link below for a brief story about the home front during WWII. The efforts and hard work of the thousands of men and women in Tampa and Hillsborough County were instrumental in bring World War II to an end.