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Film About Hawai`i Under Martial Law Debuts March 19

Posted on Mar 14, 2008 in Press Releases

When Fear Reigned, a short film about the impact of martial law in Hawai’i during World War II, will debut on Wednesday, March 19. The film will be shown to the public for the first time at a free event from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center. The Judiciary History Center is located at 417 South King Street directly behind the King Kamehameha statue.

Within hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, fear of invasion, further attacks, and sabotage of U.S. military forces prompted the Territorial Governor of Hawai’i to sign a proclamation declaring martial law. For the next three years, military rule replaced Hawaii’s civilian government. Daily life changed dramatically as the military enacted new laws called general orders. Civil rights were curtailed and Hawaii’s civilian courts were replaced by military courts.

Interviews with persons who lived in Hawai’i during the time of martial law (1941 – 1944) are included in the film.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by University of Hawai’i Law Professor Jon Van Dyke. Doris Nye, whose parents were interned after the attack on Pearl Harbor, will relate her childhood experience during the discussion. Other members of the panel are filmmaker Tom Coffman, who will examine the process of portraying legal history through film, and human rights lawyer Edmund Burke, who volunteered to represent a defendant held in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba.

Reservations to attend the event are required and may be made by calling 539-4995 or emailing .

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Matt Mattice, 539-4999
Kimberly Lee, 539-4909

For more information, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 808-539-4909 or via email at

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