Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Invading / Panicking Hawaii

This past Saturday (January 13, 2018) the Hawaiian state government sent its population into a full blown panic after it sent out a warning about an incoming ICBM.  It took 38 minutes for the state to retract its warning which caused major disruption throughout the state.   Some children were even lowered into storm drains for their protection.  The New York Times declared that the "False Missile Alert Looms as Black Eye of Hawaii's Governor."  Fortunately, no one was killed as a result of the false alarm.

Hawaii WAS, of course, famously attacked on December 7, 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy.  (See earlier posts...http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2017/11/pearl-harbor-2017.html, http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2016/11/75th-anniversary-of-pearl-harbor.html).  And today it may be vulnerable to ICBMs launched from North Korea.  But the Pearl Harbor attack is merely part of the many "invasions" and fighting that has touched Hawaii over the course of its history.  We detailed the full story in the Hawaii chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (www.americainvaded.com)...

"The beautiful islands of Hawaii are a popular modern-day tourist destination, where mainlanders go to escape stress, sip mai tais, and find a slice of paradise under the sun. But these islands have seen their share of fighting and invasions.

Around 1,500 years ago, Polynesian people first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands.  These hardy souls had journeyed 2,000 miles in outrigger canoes from other Pacific islands.

The Hawaiian culture was feudal and warlike.  The Hawaiian word for warrior is koa. Koa, lacking metallurgy, armed themselves with stone, wood, and even shark’s teeth.  Their principal weapon was the pololu—a long wooden spear that a warrior also used to vault forward. Warfare was highly ritualized process. Being a successful warrior enhanced a koa’s prestige or manu.

Interisland and civil wars flared up in the Hawaiian Islands almost continuously during the eighteenth century.  The Kona-Hilo war, for example, was fought between 1700 –1720 on the big island of Hawaii until it was resolved by a political marriage. During 1776, the year America declared her independence from Britain, the third Hawaii-Maui war was being fought.  This conflict featured an unsuccessful invasion of Maui by natives of the Big Island.

Captain Cook

In 1778, with the arrival of Captain Cook at Waimea Bay on the island of Kauai, two warrior cultures collided in mutual misunderstanding. Captain Cook of Britain’s Royal Navy was on his third voyage of exploration. His preferred technique for dealing with native populations was a combination of bluff, hostage taking, and firepower.

In his Journals, Cook explicitly described how his exploration method could be construed or misconstrued as an invasion:

We attempt to land in a peaceable manner, if this succeeds its well, if not we land nevertheless and maintain the footing we thus got by the Superiority of our  re arms, in what other light can they than at  first look upon us but as invaders of their Country; time and some acquaintance with us can only convince them of their mistake.

At first the Hawaiians regarded Cook with reverence. Many prostrated themselves at his feet, and some may have taken him for the god Lono. Some of the women were eager to trade sex for nails. His two ships were restocked with fresh water, fruits, and vegetables. Cook christened Hawaii the Sandwich Islands in honor of his patron, the Earl of Sandwich.

Cook departed the islands to voyage north to Alaska, but returned to Kealakekua on the Big Island in February of 1779. His ship, the Resolution, had a broken mast that needed repairing. Cook described the native Hawaiians in glowing terms: “these people trade with the least suspicion of any Indians I ever met ... It is also remarkable that they have never once attempted to cheat us in exchanges or once to commit a theft.”

Cook Monument

The death of Cook on February 14, 1779, in Hawaii remains something of a mystery to this day. His crew had earlier taken some sacred wooden palings from the Hawaiians for use as firewood.  is distressed the native people. Cook’s attempt to seize a local priest mis red badly. A mob of Hawaiians gathered. Cook  red his two pistols. He was stabbed with an iron dagger, which must have been procured or stolen from one of his ships. Four royal marines were also killed in the skirmish. Cook’s body was seized by the Hawaiians, mutilated, and partially devoured. Today, a white obelisk commemorates the spot near where Cook fell.

After Cook’s death, Hawaii’s greatest king rose to power. From 1783 to 1796, King Kamehameha led his people in the thirteen-year war of Unification.  is war was fought with muskets and gunpowder, and the king employed Westerners to help train his army.

King Kamehameha

The  first threats to the independence of the Hawaiian kingdom did not come from Britain or America. Astonishingly, they came from the Russians and the French. Georg Anton Schäffer, a German doctor working for the Russian-American Company, led an attempted invasion of Hawaii in 1816. Schäffer ordered the crew of the Myrtle, a Russian vessel, to build a fort near Honolulu Harbor. He also built Fort Hipo on Kauai. King Kamehameha had Schäffer and the Russians evicted from Hawaii in 1817.  The ruins of Fort Hipo are visible on Kauai today.

King Kamehameha died in 1819.  The following year, American missionaries began arriving in Hawaii.  They softened some of the warlike ways of the Hawaiians. Boxing, for example, was banned, though less on account of the violence than due to the gambling the sport engendered.

Protestant missionaries also managed to convince the Queen Regent Ka’ahumanu to have Catholicism made illegal.  is led directly to a brief French “invasion,” or rather, extortion of Hawaii. In 1839, Captain Cyrille Laplace of the French Navy’s L’Artémise arrived in Honolulu. Laplace insisted that the Hawaiian kingdom pay reparations of $20,000 for their affront to French Catholic interests, or his frigate would bombard their coast. Lacking a modern navy, the kingdom paid the ransom. In 1839, King Kamehameha III passed laws granting religious tolerance.

In 1843, the British captain of the Carysfort, Lord George Paulet, arrived in Honolulu and made a series of demands on the Hawaiian crown.  The Hawaiian  flag was lowered and the Union Jack was raised over Oahu. Later that year, Rear Admiral Richard  Thomas arrived in Honolulu and declared that Paulet had exceeded his authority.  The British impact on Hawaii (or the Sandwich Islands) persists to this day, however, with the presence of the Union Jack in one quadrant of its state flag.

American sugar planters arrived in the islands soon after the missionaries. American influence also spread from the West Coast of North America to the shores of Hawaii.

The US Civil War meant an economic boom for Hawaii, which supplied sugar, beef, salt, and more to the Union Army. King Kamehameha IV remained officially neutral during the war.  Native Hawaiians, however, served on both sides during the war. About thirty veterans of the Union Army are buried in Oahu Cemetery. Twelve Hawaiians served on board the CSS Shenandoah, a merchant raider that terrorized Union ships in the Pacific.

The late nineteenth century saw a period of increasing political turmoil in the Hawaiian kingdom. In a series of rebellions, political and commercial interests clashed over the future of the kingdom.  en, in 1893, a rebel militia called the Honolulu Rifles and led by Lorrin A. Thurston, a grandson of American missionaries, launched a coup d’état against Queen Liliuokalani. A landing party of marines and sailors from the USS Boston came ashore, ostensibly to protect US lives and property. It took no active part in the coup, but was perceived by many as a sign of support for it. Finally, in order to prevent bloodshed, the queen ordered her forces to surrender, and Hawaii was declared a republic. In 1993, in the centenary year of the coup, Congress passed a resolution apologizing for US involvement in it.

The start of the Spanish American War in 1898 dramatized the strategic importance of Hawaii. US Navy ships passed through Pearl Harbor to re-coal on their way to the war in the Philippines. Admiral Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay. When the Philippines became an American colony, the critical, strategic need for Pearl Harbor was evident.

Finally in 1898, President McKinley annexed the Hawaiian Islands, which became an American territory. On August 12, 1898, soldiers of the First New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment arrived on Oahu.

Hawaii kept the  flame of its monarchical past alive even after annexation. In 1916, the 32nd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Queen’s Own, was mustered at Schofield Barracks. The only royal regiment in the US Army marched on parade before the former queen.

From 1925 until 1927 George Patton served as an officer at the Schofield Barracks in Honolulu. Based on his Hawaiian experience, Patton authored a 1937 report in which he prophesied, “The unheralded arrival during a period of profound peace of a Japanese expeditionary force within 200 miles of Oahu during darkness; this force to be preceded by submarines who will be in the immediate vicinity of Pearl Harbor.... An air attack by [ Japanese] navy fighters and carrier borne bombers on air stations and the submarine base using either gas or incendiary bombs.”

On December 7, 1941, Patton’s prediction came true. Two-man midget submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy managed to penetrate Pearl Harbor undetected. One was sunk by the USS Ward, an antiquated World War I US Navy destroyer.  The  flotilla of midget subs did no real damage, and Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, the only survivor, washed up on shore at Waimanalo Beach, where he became the  first Japanese prisoner of war captured by the Americans in World War II.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. on the “Day of Infamy,” a large concentration of aircraft was detected by Oahu radar stations that were monitored by the Army Signal Corps. Misinterpreted as the B-17s scheduled to arrive that day at Hickam Field from California, the aircraft were not seen as a threat and no warning was sounded. Admiral Nagumo’s  flight of torpedo planes and bombers escorted by Zeros began their attack on Battleship Row.  The Arizona blew up after a hit near turret II and sank to her final resting place. Four battleships in all were sunk, and many more ships were damaged. Of the American planes on the ground, 188 were destroyed. Over 2,400 Americans were killed in Hawaii that day.

Fortunately, no US aircraft carriers were in Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nagumo, fearing for the safety of the six carriers in Operation Z, declined to order a second air attack. As a result, the vital fuel tanks on Oahu were not destroyed.

Japanese Zero
FHCAM Everett, WA

Admiral Yamamoto’s bold plan to strike at Hawaii had scored a devastating blow against the United States.  The Imperial Japanese forces would “run wild in Pacific for the next six months,” just as Yamamoto had predicted. But Japan had awakened a sleeping giant that was finally united and bent on swift vengeance. “Remember Pearl Harbor” became the rallying cry across all of America.
After December 7, Hawaii lived in fear of an imminent invasion that never really happened. Unlike the West Coast of the United States, however, the territory of Hawaii did not imprison its population of Japanese Americans, many of whom served loyally in US forces.

Nonetheless, although many know about December 7, 1941, few realize that there was a second Japanese attack on Hawaii during the war.

On March 1, 1942, the Japanese launched a second, much smaller air attack on Pearl Harbor. It involved coordination between the air and submarine arms of the Imperial Navy. A pair of Kawasaki H8K1  flying boats  flew from Wotje Atoll in the Marshall Islands to rendezvous with two large Japanese submarines at French Frigate Shoals.  is time, American radar detected the incoming aircraft and sounded the alert. Curtiss P-40 Warhawk  fighter planes were scrambled. One Japanese plane dropped its ordinance harmlessly on Mount Tantalus near Honolulu.  e other dropped its payload in the ocean miles from any target. The boldly conceived Japanese plan was well executed, but it also lacked proper intelligence and was ineffective.

The loss of four Japanese aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway on June 7, 1942 (with an American loss of only one carrier), was a turning point in the war in the Pacific. Never again during the war would the Japanese credibly menace Hawaii.

In 1959, Hawaii became the fiftieth and, thus far, final state to be admitted to the Union.
During the Cold War, Soviet submarines would prowl off the coast of Hawaii. On March 6, 1968, the Soviet Navy’s K-129, a diesel submarine equipped with ballistic missiles, sank with all hands about 1,500 miles from Oahu."

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