War in Paradise: World War II in Florida
In the first weeks after Pearl Harbor pulled America into a two-front war, Germany’s U-Boats worked with impunity. Off Florida alone, they sank 24 ships. Some of Florida’s very features that attracted tourists made it a logical place for soldiers as well. The state, a strategic asset for its geography and climate, became an armed camp. Hotels turned into barracks, and hospitals, bases and airfields increased from 8 to 172 by 1943. The sleepy southern state became one of the nation’s hotspots, and Florida would never be the same.
Eliot Kleinberg spent more than four decades as a reporter, including more than 33 years at The Palm Beach Post. In addition to covering local news, he wrote extensively about Florida and its history. He produced two history columns and more than a dozen books about the state. He also runs a blog on bad writing and how to fix it called “Something Went Horribly Wrong”.