Bayonets in Paradise: Martial Law in Hawai`i during World War II
512pp. February 2016
Bayonets in Paradise: Martial Law in Hawai`i during World War II
Author: Scheiber, Harry N.; Scheiber, Jane L.;
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.

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.

34 b&w illustrations

"This copiously researched book, which reveals how Hawaii came to fall under martial law after Pearl Harbor and what it did to the lives of residents, is a must-read, not only for Hawaii history buffs, but for anyone who cares about civil liberties and constitutional rights." –Honolulu Star-Advertiser 

"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, Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law, Stanford University

"Bayonets in Paradise is a transforming work, based on prodigious research and probing, informed analysis. Unlike the now well-known abuse of mainland Nikkei, the assaults on constitutional rights in Hawaii are largely unknown even by professional historians. Harry and Jane Scheiber have created a master narrative that not only explains how the military sought to control every aspect of life in Hawaii in the face of constitutional challenges, but also clearly links the military domination with the national security state that has emerged since World War II." —Roger Daniels, University of Cincinnati

“‘In times of war, laws are silent,’ wrote the ancient Roman jurist Cicero. In times of war, rights are often silenced, too, the Scheibers show in this riveting and brilliant account of American military rule in wartime Hawai`i that suspended the constitutional rights of all subjects for nearly four years. Meticulously researched, masterfully argued, and elegantly phrased, this book will stand as the definitive historical account of this tragic but too little known chapter of abuse, racism, military belligerence, and wartime hysteria in American history. It will also stand as a poignant reminder that fundamental rights deserve their strongest protection in times of war, terrorism, and tyranny.” —John Witte Jr., Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, Emory University

“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, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“In this wonderful book, the first full-scale scholarly treatment of the military occupation, the Scheibers tell this astonishing story in meticulous detail, while capturing all its excitement and suspense. The book is among other things a stern object lesson—which evidently we still need—in the dangers of allowing emergency situations and legitimate fears of invasion and subversion to overwhelm the regular and prudent administration of justice.” —Robert W. Gordon, Professor of Law, Stanford University and Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History (Emeritus), Yale University
Author: Scheiber, Harry N.; Scheiber, Jane L.;
Harry N. Scheiber is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and History, Emeritus, in the School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. He also directs the School’s Institute for Legal Research and its Law of the Sea Institute, and is former director of its Sho Sato Program in Japanese and U.S. Law. Previously he was professor of history at Dartmouth College and at the University of California, San Diego. A leading authority on constitutional and legal history, Scheiber is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and past president of the American Society for Legal History. He has been a Distinguished Fulbright Lecturer, the Wallace Fujiyama Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Hawai`i, and twice a Guggenheim Fellow. He is author or editor of fourteen books, including The Wilson Administration and Civil Liberties, 1917-1921, recently republished; Earl Warren and the Warren Court; The State and Freedom of Contract; American Law and the Constitutional Order; Ohio Canal Era: and New Concepts of Rights in Japanese Law. Other books include Federalism and the Judicial Mind, and, most recently, several books on ocean law. He has published more than one hundred articles in journals of history, law, and the social sciences.

Jane L. Scheiber is a research associate in the Center for the Study of Law and Society, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. She was previously a long-time member of the academic and senior professional staffs at the University of California, San Diego and UC Berkeley, and Director of the Public Affairs Laboratory at Dartmouth College. She has published ten books, including America and the Future of Man; In Search of the American Dream; American Issues: The Molding of American Values; and Crime and Justice in America. Recently she served as coeditor of U.S. Law and Courts in the Pacific: A Special Issue of Western Legal History. Other scholarly work includes several studies of civil rights and civil liberties in wartime, which have appeared in Western Legal History, The University of Hawai`i Law Review, Labor History, and Legal Affairs.