Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States, having been admitted to the union on August 21, 1959. The state of Hawaii consists of the islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the Island of Hawaiʻi. It is the only state to be located in Oceania in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is also the most militarized state in the United States with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard stationed in majority of the Hawaiian Islands. It is also home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy.
It is widely believed that Polynesian settlers reached the Hawaiian Islands around 300 BCE; settlers from other Polynesian islands came to the islands over the next centuries.
British explorer James Cook's discovery of the islands in 1778 is the first documented contact between European explorers and native Hawaiians. His visit and other publications led to numerous visits from European colonizers, merchants and explorers.
The Late 1800s to World War II
The Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1810 under the rule of King Kamehameha. This kingdom lasted for 82 years before being overthrown by the U.S. government. A short lived Republic of Hawaii governed the islands from 1894-1898 as the Hawaiian Islands became a U.S. territory. Throughout the beginning of the early 20th century, Hawaii was the main base of the United States Navy in the Pacific. Ships from San Francisco would stop in Hawaii enroute to the Philippines.
On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and several air bases around the island of Oahu. This would later drag the United States into World War II, declaring war on the Axis Powers. Although the Pacific Fleet was crippled, the U.S. would eventually pick up the pace and turn the tide against Japan during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942. The United States would then begin its island hopping campaign in the Pacific using Hawaii as the starting point.
In March 1959, Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act and it was signed into law by then-President Dwight Eisenhower. Hawaiian voters overwhelmingly choose statehood over territorial status in a June 27, 1959 referendum; Hawaii formally joined the union nearly two months later on August 1, 1959.
World War III
During World War III, the U.S. Pacific Fleet and other forces stationed on the island were on high alert just in case of a Soviet Attack or Invasion. The U.S. Navy along with the U.S. Coast Guard would conduct patrols along the islands and the nearby territories of Wake and Midway. The U.S. Marines, U.S. Army, and the Hawaii National Guard would construct defensive positions just in case of a Soviet amphibious assault. Often times, Soviet submarines would be reported offshore the Hawaiian Islands but these would be dealt with by both the Navy and the Air Force. However, the Pacific Fleet would also experience their own losses combating the Soviet Navy.
As China entered the war on the side of the Soviet Union, the remaining U.S. Navy ships formed a blockade of Hawaii to prevent the Chinese from invading.