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.
A sampling of the very impressive set of blurbs (other reviewers include Roger Daniels, John Witte, Jr., and Bob Gordon):
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.
Harry and Jane Scheiber (credit)
"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. FriedmanMore information is available here.
"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