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The history of Hawaii’s statehood and its relationship with the United States is a fascinating one. In 1941, the answer to the question of whether Hawaii was a state is complicated and requires looking at the unique path Hawaii took to eventually become the 50th state in 1959.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: No, Hawaii was not an official U.S. state in 1941. However, it was an incorporated U.S. territory at that time.

Hawaii’s History as a Kingdom

Hawaii's History as a Kingdom

Hawaii, known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture, has a rich history as a kingdom. The Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1810 when King Kamehameha I unified the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. This marked the beginning of a prosperous era for the Hawaiian people.

Kingdom of Hawaii established in 1810

Under the leadership of King Kamehameha I, Hawaii experienced a period of stability and growth.

The kingdom thrived economically through the cultivation and export of valuable commodities such as sugar and sandalwood.

The Hawaiian people enjoyed a well-structured society with a strong sense of cultural identity.

The Kingdom of Hawaii also established diplomatic relations with various nations, including the United States and Britain. This allowed for the exchange of goods and ideas, contributing to the overall development of the kingdom.

Overthrow of the Kingdom in 1893

Unfortunately, the Kingdom of Hawaii faced a significant setback in 1893 when a group of American businessmen and politicians orchestrated the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. This event, known as the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, marked a turning point in Hawaii’s history.

Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii, was a strong advocate for the rights and sovereignty of the Hawaiian people.

However, the American businessmen had vested interests in the economic potential of Hawaii, leading to political unrest and ultimately the overthrow of the kingdom.

The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii had lasting effects on the Hawaiian people. It resulted in the annexation of Hawaii by the United States in 1898, leading to Hawaii becoming a U.S. territory.

This marked a significant shift in Hawaii’s status and ultimately paved the way for its eventual statehood in 1959.

For more information on the history of Hawaii’s kingdom, you can visit, a website dedicated to educating the public about the true history and status of Hawaii.

Read moreWas The Annexation Of Hawaii Justified?

Hawaii as a U.S. Territory

Before we delve into the question of whether Hawaii was a state in 1941, let’s first explore its status as a U.S. territory.

The story of Hawaii’s relationship with the United States begins in 1898 with its annexation.

Annexation in 1898

In 1898, Hawaii became an official territory of the United States through a process known as annexation. This came about as a result of a series of events that started with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

The United States, eager to secure its interests in the Pacific, played a significant role in the overthrow and subsequent annexation.

The annexation of Hawaii was not without controversy, as it was met with resistance from some native Hawaiians who felt that their sovereignty had been taken away.

Nevertheless, the United States moved forward with the annexation, and Hawaii became a territory, subject to U.S. laws and governance.

Pearl Harbor and World War 2

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, marked a turning point in Hawaii’s history and its relationship with the United States. It catapulted the United States into World War II and brought the war to American soil.

At the time of the attack, Hawaii was still a U.S. territory and had not yet achieved statehood. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a devastating blow to the U.S. Pacific Fleet and resulted in the loss of many lives and the destruction of numerous ships and aircraft. This event served as a catalyst for the United States entry into the war.

Following the attack, Hawaii played a crucial role in the Pacific theater of World War II. It served as a strategic base for the U.S. military and was instrumental in the eventual Allied victory in the Pacific.

The bravery and resilience of the people of Hawaii during this time were commendable, and their contributions to the war effort should not be underestimated.

It wasn’t until August 21, 1959, that Hawaii officially became the 50th state of the United States. This milestone marked the end of its status as a territory and solidified its place as an integral part of the United States.

Read moreWas Hawaii Part Of The Us During Pearl Harbor?

Push for Statehood

During the early 20th century, there was a strong push for Hawaii to become a state of the United States.

This push was driven by several factors, including the desire for political representation, economic stability, and national security.

Reasons to join the union

One of the main reasons for Hawaii’s push for statehood was the desire for political representation. Prior to becoming a state, Hawaii was a U.S. territory, which meant that its residents did not have full voting rights or representation in Congress.

By becoming a state, Hawaii would gain the ability to elect representatives and senators who could advocate for their interests at the federal level.

Another reason for Hawaii’s push for statehood was economic stability. As an isolated island chain, Hawaii relied heavily on the United States for trade and economic support.

Becoming a state would provide Hawaii with access to federal funding and resources, which could help boost the economy and improve infrastructure.

National security was also a significant factor in the push for statehood. In the years leading up to World War II, Hawaii’s strategic location in the Pacific made it a vital military outpost for the United States.

By becoming a state, Hawaii would receive increased military protection and resources, helping to ensure the security of the islands.

Hawaii admitted as 50th state in 1959

After years of lobbying and campaigning, Hawaii was finally admitted as the 50th state of the United States on August 21, 1959. This milestone was a culmination of the efforts of many individuals and organizations who believed in the benefits of statehood for Hawaii.

The road to statehood was not without its challenges, however. There were concerns and debates about the cultural and ethnic diversity of Hawaii’s population, as well as the potential impact on the balance of power in Congress.

Nevertheless, the majority of Hawaiians supported statehood, and in a referendum held in 1959, over 93% of voters chose to join the union.

Since becoming a state, Hawaii has thrived and become an integral part of the United States. Its unique culture, stunning landscapes, and thriving tourism industry have made it a beloved destination for people from all over the world.

Hawaii’s statehood has not only benefited its residents but has also contributed to the diversity and richness of the United States as a whole.

For more information on Hawaii’s journey to statehood, you can visit the website.

Also readThe Unification Of Hawaii: How The Islands Became A State


In summary, while Hawaii was not an official U.S. state at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, it had been a U.S. territory for over 40 years.

The push for full statehood picked up after World War 2, partly due to Hawaii’s strategic importance. After much debate, Hawaii finally became the 50th state in 1959.

Understanding Hawaii’s unique history helps provide context around its complex relationship with the United States leading up to and during World War 2.

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