Hawaii, state, United States: World War II and Statehood
World War II and Statehood
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War II. During the war the Hawaiian Islands were the chief Pacific base for U.S. forces and were under martial law (Dec. 7, 1941–Mar., 1943).
The postwar years ushered in important economic and social developments. There was a dramatic expansion of labor unionism, marked by major strikes in 1946, 1949, and 1958. The International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union organized the waterfront, sugar, and pineapple workers. The tourist trade, which had grown to major proportions in the 1930s, expanded further with postwar advances in air travel and with further investment and development. The building boom brought about new construction of luxury hotels and housing developments; Hawaii is home to one of the world's most expensively built resort, the Hyatt Regency Waikola, which cost $360 million to construct.
After having sought statehood for many decades, Hawaii was finally admitted to the union on Aug. 21, 1959; although it was thought at first to be solidly Republican, the state has long been a Democratic stronghold. Movements for a return of some sort of native sovereignty have been periodically active.
In Sept., 1992, the island of Kauai was devastated by Hurricane Iniki, the strongest hurricane to hit the islands in the century. Hawaii, which had enjoyed sustained economic and population growth since the end of World War II, saw both slow in the 1990s, as tourism, the sugar industry, military spending, and Japanese investment in the islands (particularly important in the 1980s) declined. In 1994, Democrat Benjamin J. Cayetano became the first Filipino American to be elected governor of a U.S. state; he was reelected in 1998. Linda Lingle, elected governor in 2002, was the second Republican to win the office since statehood, and she was reelected four years later. The election of Barack Obama as president in 2008 marked the first time someone born in Hawaii had been elected to the office. In 2010 Democrats regained the governor's office; governor David Ige (2015- ) is of Japanese-Okinawan descent and is currently serving his second term in office. Senator Mazie Horono (2013- ) holds the distinction of being the state's first elected female Senator, the Senate's sole Asian-American member, born in Japan, and also the Senate's only Buddhist (although she is non-practicing).
Sections in this article:
- World War II and Statehood
- The Overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and Annexation
- Development of the Sugar Industry
- Influence of the Missionaries
- The Rule of Kamehameha I
- Early Settlers and Explorers
- Government, Politics, and Higher Education
- Land and People
- Facts and Figures
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