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Governor Poindexter, Joseph

Joseph Poindexter was the appointed governor of the territory of Hawaii and head of the civil power. At about noon on 7 December he invoked his emergency powers, but Lieutenant General Walter C. Short (Short, Walter C.) was not satisfied as this still left the civil administration in charge of the territory. Short's big fear was that the 160,000 ethnic Japanese, the nisei, would sabotage the American defense. Under pressure from Short, Poindexter telephoned President Roosevelt (Roosevelt, President Franklin D.) who approved the declaration of martial law. Among other provisions made by the military rulers were the closure of houses of prostitution and a ban on the sale of liquor. The whores went on strike, setting up picket lines and waving placards, but, as censorship was absolute, the newspapers did not report it. More oppressive was the limitation of trade union power and the replacement of the civil law courts by military provost courts which delivered a conviction rate of 98%. Martial law persisted until October 1944.

See also: Nisei; Roosevelt, Franklin D.; Short, Walter C.