World War II was a seminal event in 20th century American history, altering the social fabric of the nation and laying the foundation for political and economic development for decades to come. The impact of the war was especially significant in Hawaii. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 dramatically altered the fabric of life in Hawaii, which was placed under martial law and served as a hub for the war in the Pacific.

Showing great foresight, the Hawaii Territorial Legislature passed a resolution in 1943 establishing the Hawaii War Records Depository (HWRD) at the University of Hawaii Library to document life in Hawaii during World War II. Over a five year period, individuals, organizations and agencies throughout the state either donated or loaned for microfilming correspondence, personal accounts, reports, photographs, scrapbooks, phonograph discs, maps, posters, artwork, pamphlets, newspapers, clippings, memorabilia, and other materials. These materials are available for research at the Archives & Manuscripts Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library.

The HWRD contains a wealth of photographs that document the impact of World War II in Hawaii, including 880 wartime photos taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the U.S. Navy. Taken between 1941 and 1946, these photographs are an important resource depicting the military activities in Hawaii, as well as the military's relationship with Hawaii's civilian population during the war.

Topics of the Army and Navy photographs include, but are not limited to: military training, personnel, facilities; leisure and recreation activities; civilian defense efforts; air raid drills; defense workers; women's participation in wartime activities; Japanese American soldiers; military and civilian parades, ceremonies, and memorials; returning American prisoners of war; and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.


  • Total records in database: 1529
  • Total images in database: 3060