While the demilitarization movement in Hawai’i traces its roots back to the Hawaiian pro-independence movement of the 19th Century, its recent history begins in the 1970s with the convergence of Hawaiian rights, anti-war, and environmental movements into the movement to protect Kaho’olawe from Navy bombing exercises. The Kaho’olawe movement stopped the bombing and won the partial clean up and return of the island, but elsewhere in the islands, communities continued to struggle to reclaim their lands from military occupation.
In the 1980s, the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement became a Pacific-wide force for peace, social justice and demilitarization. Hawai’i activists played a key role in the formation and leadership of this network.
In 2000, the American Friends Service Committee Demilitarization Subcommittee sponsored a conference “Rethinking Militarism in Hawai’i”. This was the first meeting to bring together activists and community leaders from various military-impacted communities to strategize and build a movement to address the impacts of militarization in Hawai’i. A loose network was formed to coordinate information and activities. In 2002, the DMZ Hawai’i / Aloha ‘Aina network was established, with its first issue to confront the military expansion in the wake of September 11, 2001. Since then, DMZ Hawai’i / Aloha ‘Aina has been active in various efforts to resist military expansion and demand the restoration and return of military occupied lands in Hawai’i and in solidarity with international struggles for peace, justice and demilitarization.