Monday, March 21, 2016

Scheiber and Scheiber on Martial Law in Hawai`i during World War II

The University of Hawai'i Press has released Bayonets in Paradise: Martial Law in Hawai`i during World War II, by Harry N. Scheiber and Jane L. Scheiber (University of California, Berkeley). A description from the Press:
Bayonets in Paradise recounts the extraordinary story of how the army imposed rigid and absolute control on the total population of Hawaii during World War II. Declared immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, martial law was all-inclusive, bringing under army rule every aspect of the Territory of Hawaiʻi's laws and governmental institutions. Even the judiciary was placed under direct subservience to the military authorities. The result was a protracted crisis in civil liberties, as the army subjected more than 400,000 civilians—citizens and alien residents alike—to sweeping, intrusive social and economic regulations and to enforcement of army orders in provost courts with no semblance of due process. In addition, the army enforced special regulations against Hawaii's large population of Japanese ancestry; thousands of Japanese Americans were investigated, hundreds were arrested, and some 2,000 were incarcerated. In marked contrast to the well-known policy of the mass removals on the West Coast, however, Hawai`i’s policy was one of “selective,” albeit preventive, detention.
Army rule in Hawai`i lasted until late 1944—making it the longest period in which an American civilian population has ever been governed under martial law. The army brass invoked the imperatives of security and “military necessity” to perpetuate its regime of censorship, curfews, forced work assignments, and arbitrary “justice” in the military courts. Broadly accepted at first, these policies led in time to dramatic clashes over the wisdom and constitutionality of martial law, involving the president, his top Cabinet officials, and the military. The authors also provide a rich analysis of the legal challenges to martial law that culminated in Duncan v. Kahanamoku, a remarkable case in which the U.S. Supreme Court finally heard argument on the martial law regime—and ruled in 1946 that provost court justice and the military’s usurpation of the civilian government had been illegal. 
Harry and Jane Scheiber (credit)
Based largely on archival sources, this comprehensive, authoritative study places the long-neglected and largely unknown history of martial law in Hawaiʻi in the larger context of America's ongoing struggle between the defense of constitutional liberties and the exercise of emergency powers.
A sampling of the very impressive set of blurbs (other reviewers include Roger Daniels, John Witte, Jr., and Bob Gordon):
"In their deeply researched and definitive account of Hawaii under martial law in the days, months, and years following Pearl Harbor, the Scheibers brilliantly tell a story of military arrogance and overreach, in which a strong dash of prejudice against islanders of Japanese descent also played a part. Bayonets in Paradise is a stunning scholarly achievement, written with understated passion, and reminding us that hard times are always a challenge to the rule of law and constitutional government—a reminder that has particular resonance today." —Lawrence M. Friedman

"Bayonets in Paradise is a labor of love by two of the very best scholars of the recurring struggle between military necessity and civil liberties in American history. The issue of rights during crisis times is likely to be in front of us for the foreseeable future. Harry and Jane Scheiber’s book is an invaluable record of a forgotten but crucial episode in our history, illuminating not only the past but also the dilemmas of today and tomorrow.” —John Fabian Witt
More information is available here.

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