German forces launched their blitzkrieg into Poland in September 1939 and by the following June had rolled into Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. General Charles DeGaulle established the Free French government in exile while Britain suffered through the dark days of the Blitz.
After signing a non-aggression pact with Germany, Russia seized half of Poland and annexed the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Italy and Japan joined German plans for world domination.
As President Franklin D. Roosevelt prepared for his third inauguration in early 1941, war stretched its menacing tentacles across the Atlantic. German U-boats operating throughout the North Atlantic sent hundreds of merchant vessels to the bottom of the ocean, boldly attacking ships within sight of Miami.
As a result of this underwater threat to overseas travel, and the conflict raging in Europe itself, many Americans shifted vacation plans from Europe to safer routes and destinations, resulting in waves of Florida tourists.
While world affairs raged, development continued in the Clearwater area, with the most celebrated example Caladesi Island, also known as Hog Island. Clinton Mosely Washburn bought the island and renamed it Honeymoon Island. Through vigorous promotion, he gained coverage by Associated Press and other news services and contributed to the steady flow of honeymooners and other visitors to Clearwater from the north.