Eighty years ago in December 1941, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan, Italy, and Nazi Germany. This action followed the December 7 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii, which was a day, the president said, that will live in infamy.
Years before entering the war, the United States prepared to defend democracy, and Florida was at the forefront. Floridians stepped onto the national stage to serve their country in military and diplomatic positions. New facilities for land and naval military operations were developed in the state, and men and women throughout the nation came to Florida to train. These mobilization efforts forever changed the state—economically, socially, and politically.
Visit the Florida Historic Capitol Museum to learn more about Florida’s historic Rendezvous with Destiny. Developed in partnership with Camp Blanding Museum and The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University, this exhibit and programming share the stories of the pre-war period and entrance into World War II from the perspective of those who experienced it—the Floridians defending America on the front lines and back home.
Join Dr. Kurt Piehler, director of the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience at Florida State University, for a personal tour of the newest temporary exhibition, Rendezvous with Destiny: Florida and WWII. This monthly tour is available by reservation only on a first-come-first-serve basis (with a waiting list option) and will last approximately one hour. Participation is capped at 13 guests and three total tours are offered.
Reservations required at http://ww2exhibittour.eventbrite.com.
Funding for the following programs was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Find out what America’s World War II citizen-soldiers had to say when the US Army asked for their uncensored opinions! Join Dr. Ed Gitre, assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech, as we delve into a newly digitized collection of US War Department surveys conducted from 1941 to 1945. More than 500,000 American soldiers’ attitudes, opinions, and experiences in WWII were recorded. Their feedback influenced future military policies and operations, including the eventual desegregation of the military in 1948 and further social changes into the 1960.
Zoom registration required at https://bit.ly/americansoldierww2.
Join Dr. Christopher Rein, of Air University Press at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, author of the forthcoming book Mobilizing the South: The 31st Infantry Division, Race, and the Pacific War.
The 31st Infantry “Dixie” Division included pre-war members of the Florida National Guard, who helped to build one of America’s largest training centers in WWII—Camp Blanding in Starke, Florida. Deployed Dixie Division members from the segregated South notoriously displayed hostility towards African-American units serving in the Southwest Pacific Theater. Dr. Rein will explore the complicated legacy of Florida’s role in World War II as victories over race-based imperialism abroad failed to stop racial prejudice at home.
Reception begins at 5:30 PM and the program follows at 6:00 PM. Seating is limited, so RSVP at https://MobilizingWW2.eventbrite.com.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, join the Florida Historic Capitol Museum and Florida Humanities for a virtual screening of the documentary Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II.
Hear the wartime memories of African American women who were recruited to serve in US war production and government positions in the 1940s as 20 million women stepped forward to build the "arsenal of democracy.” Known as “Black Rosies,” their first-hand accounts detail battles against racism at home, Nazism abroad, and sexism everywhere. A conversation with film director Professor Gregory Cooke, moderated by Dr. Ashley Robertson Preston from Howard University, will follow the screening.
Register for this free Zoom program at https://bit.ly/invisiblewarriorsww2.