Catalog Archive
Auction 186, Lot 790

Hawaiian Blackout Broadside Pre-Pearl Harbor

"[Blackouts in Hawaii] Urgent! Warning! Urgent! Tuesday Night, May 20, 1941, Between 9:00 and 9:30 O'Clock, "Blackout Enemy" Planes Will Again Simulate Attack on Your Island and Your Homes!",

Subject: Document - Hawaii, WWII

Period: 1941 (dated)


Color: Black & White

6.8 x 10.8 inches
17.3 x 27.4 cm
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This single-sided flyer provided instructions for the planned blackout on May 20, 1941 in five languages. The flyer states “We hope the time will never come when Hawaii Nei [Hawaii here] will actually be bombed, but if that time ever does come, we want to know that you know your part of the defense plan…Let’s prove to our military forces that we as citizens know how to cooperate in defense of our Territory…”

The success of the blackout was recognized by General Walter Short in a talk later reported in a Congressional document: “[Hawaii]…has out-done her previous [blackout] efforts tonight. Loyalty and cooperation with your Territorial Blackout Committee has spelled success in a job which would have made the task of enemy bombers a difficult one…I think we can meet with confidence all threats of enemy encroachment even that of bombardment from the air.” For his complete talk, click here.

The blackout test showed that the risk of air attack of Hawaii was clearly recognized and that the citizens were aware and cooperative. Following the attack, General Short was relieved of his duties. The Roberts Commission, created after the Pearl Harbor attack, blamed General Short and other military leaders for not obeying orders and warnings to prepare for an air attack. We found no past sales records and only one institutional example.


Condition: B+

Folded by a previous owner with a few small spots.

Estimate: $160 - $190

Sold for: $210

Closed on 2/9/2022