World War I and Americanization
In 1914, war began in faraway Europe. Known as “The Great War,” it became World War I. World War II broke out twenty-five years later. The United States tried to stay neutral but was forced to declare war on Germany in 1917. When this happened, people throughout Hawai‘i decided to show that they could work within the larger nation, not just handle island affairs. One way that the people of Hawai‘i helped the war effort was by raising as much of their own food within the islands as possible. Prizes were given for the best school and home gardens. These were called “victory gardens.” The people of Hawai‘i had “wheatless days” and “meatless days” just as they did on the mainland. Posters said, “Food will win the war!” People were eager to support the war effort in both civilian and military ways; they helped the Red Cross and knitted socks for soldiers. People of all nationalities worked side by side. They opened their homes to soldiers and sailors and bought U.S. Liberty Bonds to help pay for the war. Hawai‘i also sent its share of men to serve in the armed forces.
In time of war, the issue of Americanism and loyalty to the United States began to replace some of the old loyalty to the monarchy. Perhaps this was because Hawaiians and part- Hawaiians had much to do with the politics of the first twenty years of the Territory. For many years, the former Queen Lili‘uokalani, living in her home at Washington Place on Beretania Street, still commanded the respect and love of Hawai‘i’s people. Usually public parades would be held along Beretania Street and groups would march by while the queen sat overlooking the wide street. In 1917, after word had reached Hawai‘i that some Hawaiian soldiers had been killed while serving in the war, the queen stood up as the American flag passed by in review. To many persons, this was a symbol of her acceptance of the present and a look to the future. When Lili‘uokalani died, later in 1917, she left a legacy of dignity and strong leadership that the Hawaiian people could carry with them through the century.