The importance of the Battle of the Atlantic, and sea battle in general, was downplayed and not quite thought of when thinking of the Second World War. However, one can argue that the Ally victory of the Battle of the Atlantic greatly contributed to their winning in WWII. This timeline marks important historical events and shipwrecks that occured in the Coast of New Jersey during WWII.
New Jersey’s Role
The Navy was definitely not prepared with the German U-boat attacks. In fact, 1,664 Allied supply ships attacked just in 1942. During wartime, New Jersey acted as an important shipping port, such as Naval Station Earle in Monmouth county, and expanded its production of naval ships. In fact, the state received 9% of all allied war-related contracts throughout the war, and 10% of the state’s population enlisted in the war. With the opening of Camp Kilmer in 1942 along with Camp Boardwalk opening in Atlantic City, New Jersey definitely contributed a huge part of the overall war efforts.
“New Jersey ports were vital departure ports during the war. But the most important reason why New Jersey was important in WWII was its geography. The Atlantic Ocean just east of New Jersey has vital navigational channels leading to New York and Philadelphia.” – Dave Swope, New Jersey Maritime Museum
World War II
WWII officially began when Britain and France declared war on Germany for its decision to invade Poland. After WWI, the Allies had forced Germany to pay reparations, ultimately leaving Germany in shambles and causing Fascism to rise in the country. Meanwhile, other countries such as Japan, started aggressively attacking other countries to expand their territory for new resources. WWII was the byproduct of this leftover hostility and tension from WWI.
At the time, the United States had not formally joined the war but was supporting Great Britain by sending aid, such as ships and helped escort shipping in the northwest Atlantic. President Franklin D. Roosevelt supported going to war and argued that taking an “isolationist” stance in ignoring the horrors of Fascism would hurt America and that war was to come inevitably. However, the rest of the country was against the idea. Charles Lindbergh, an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, strongly believed that any invention of the war would be unsuccessful and a loss for the country. He believed that America should be focusing on “building and guarding its own destiny.” A survey taken showed that 94% of Americans were against entering the war. This resulted in destroyed 20 US Navy Vessels, 200 airplanes and killed over 2,000 people. The U.S. quickly changed its mind on its stance with the Attack on Pearl Harbor and entered the war in December 8, 1941.
Battle of the Atlantic
The Battle of the Atlantic began on September 3, 1939 for the control of the Atlantic coast between the Axis powers and the Western Allies. The Atlantic Coast played a major role for Britain since merchant ships were sending vital supplies, such as food, fuel, and raw materials from North America to Britain. With the launch of this campaign, the Germans were eager to starve Britain of resources that they needed to continue on with the war.
Germany’s surrender in the war marked the end of the Battle of the Atlantic in May 7, 1945. The war ended with Japan surrendering on September 2, 1945 after the drop of two nuclear bombs.