Island Life After World War II
When peace came in 1945 after Germany and Japan surrendered, Hawai‘i began to return to normal as martial law was lifted. War heroes came home. From the ruins of war came a “new Hawai‘i.” It was bound closer than ever to the nation of which it was a part. In all the years after that, many political leaders of Hawai‘i never lost track of their goal— statehood. Hawai‘i’s contributions to supporting and fighting World War II had added still more reasons for its being a state.
After World War II, labor unions became stronger. Through strikes and bargaining, they were able to change their working conditions. During the war, strikes had been illegal, but now workers decided to push for more money and better rules.
From the 1930s, but especially during and after World War II, interest in Hawai‘i and popular Hawaiian culture grew worldwide. Hollywood movies showed an exotic and romantic view of Hawai‘i. The hula and ‘ukulele were turning up everywhere in what is now called “tiki culture,” or “Polynesian pop-culture.” Out of this period came Don Ho, Hawai‘i’s famous singer, who made songs such as “Tiny Bubbles” and “Pearly Shells” popular right after Hawai‘i became a state. A true rebirth of Native Hawaiian culture and practice would begin in the 1970s following this era of viewing Hawaiian culture as grass skirts, aloha shirts, and tikis.