Post War Guam

The atrocities of World War II had a major impact on the CHamoru people. They suffered much under Japanese rule and, therefore, were largely appreciative and loyal to the Americans for their liberation from the Japanese. However, after the war, many CHamorus were displaced from their ranches and residences.

The retaking of Guam by the US and the push to end the war allowed for the influx of more than 200,000 US military personnel into Guam. This increase in military also brought many new people to Guam who fell in love with the island and its people and stayed. Some came for business opportunities, or to work with the naval government; others came to entertain the troops. Workers were also brought in from the Philippines and lived in large camps such as Camp Roxas to help rebuild the island. Some of these workers also stayed and began families of their own on Guam.

During the American invasion, the major villages of Sumai and Hagåtña had been heavily bombed, leaving CHamorus to face a devastated island. Large tracts of land were taken to support the larger US military presence. Sumai was absorbed as part of Naval Station and its residents were placed in the newly established village of  Sånta Rita-Sumai. Much of the debris from the bombing of Hagåtña was pushed out into the bay to create what is now the Paseo, where the baseball stadium and CHamoru Village are located. However, many families who had to give up their land were not adequately compensated by the US military; some also refused to accept money in protest of their lost land.

Schools, churches and public administrative buildings were rebuilt and reopened. At the request of the American bishop on Guam, religious sisters from the United States were brought in for the first time to set up schools and assist in the development of the island’s Catholic school system. They also set up convents for young women who wanted a vocation in religious life. The first Liberation Day commemorations began as solemn religious affairs but gradually became more celebratory, with parades, carnivals and a Liberation Queen.

Land issues and the struggle for human rights compelled the CHamorus to once again try to gain political control of their island home. A newly appointed Guam Congress struggled with the naval leadership and eventually walked out of session decrying the lack of democracy. A like-minded group of people in Washington DC, the Institute of Ethnic Affairs, helped lobby for the passage of an organic act. President Harry Truman finally signed the Organic Act on 1 August 1950, which solidified Guam’s status as an unincorporated territory, and essentially established the Government of Guam while granting American citizenship to the local CHamoru population.

Political and Social Change

At the end of World War II, Guam was again placed under the control of the US Navy. Guam remained politically separated from the Northern Mariana Islands, which were placed with Japan’s other Micronesian territories of Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and the Marshall Islands under a United Nations trust to form the US Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (TTPI) to be administered by the US.

By the 1950s, with a new civilian government in place and the end of naval rule, the people of Guam began to forge a new direction towards modernity, urbanization and enjoying the opportunities of an American way of life. The term “Guamanian” reflected a new kind of identity and outlook for the people of Guam, who had survived the atrocities of war. Civilian governors were appointed by the president of the US. However, Cold War politics after World War II increased the US’ strategic and military interest in the region, and so Guam maintained large military bases on different parts of the island.

In 1952, the Territorial College of Guam was established by Governor Carlton Skinner. The college moved to its present location in Mangilao, and became the University of Guam in 1965.

In 1960, Joseph Flores was appointed the first CHamoru governor of Guam and served a one-year term. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy lifted the security clearance that had restricted entry into Guam since 1941. With this order, the island was opened up for tourism to blossom as an industry. The easing of military restrictions for entering Guam and the establishment of a local, civilian government, made the island an ideal place for people from all over the world to visit, go to school, find jobs or pursue a variety of economic interests.

In 1963, under the second CHamoru Governor Manuel F. L. Guerrero, the Guam Tourism Commission was established. The Guam International Airport opened in 1967, and the first flights from Japan via Pan Am arrived on-island. By the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s, Tumon Bay became the focus of a new wave of construction for numerous high-rise hotels, condominiums and entertainment venues. Other large housing developments popped up in a construction boom that coincided with Asian economic prosperity of the 1980s. Today, next to the Government of Guam, the tourist industry is the second largest employer of the local population.

On the political front, the end of the 1960s saw the US Congress pass laws allowing gubernatorial elections on Guam, and elections for non-voting congressional representatives for each of the territories. In 1970 Guam elected its first governor, Carlos G. Camacho, and in 1972, its first congressional representative, Antonio B. Won Pat.

Challenges and the Future

The decades following the war brought new challenges for Guam. With population changes came numerous social, political and economic issues for the local community to face. One such issue was the need to assess and protect CHamoru culture and language. CHamoru language was introduced into school curricula and public building signage. Inspired by other Pacific Islanders, local artists, writers and musicians began exploring ways of including or expressing CHamoru cultural motifs in their works. In some respects, the influx of visitors to Guam and the desire to feature and showcase the island’s unique attributes has advanced the tourist industry and caused a resurgence or renaissance of CHamoru culture and history.

Today, the island must navigate a future that includes a large military buildup that has the potential for significant economic, environmental and social benefits and impacts on the people, the landscape of Guam and the rest of the Mariana Islands. If history has revealed anything, however, it is that the people of Guam are resilient even in the face of such formidable challenges, but also, that they cannot afford to forget the lessons of the past when deciding the future of our island.

By Dominica Tolentino

New entries

  1. Chamorro Nuns in Postwar Guam
  2. CHamoru’s Love of Spam
  3. CHamoru Comic Strip: Joan Malimanga
  4. Contract Teachers in the Classroom
  5. Governor Charles Alan Pownall
  6. Guam’s Bilingual/Bicultural Program
  7. History of Guam’s Parks and Public Spaces
  8. History of the Guam Courts
  9. James Murray Stewart
  10. Speaker Joaquin C. Arriola
  11. Speaker Joe T. San Agustin
  12. Stateside Teacher Hiring Program
  13. The Fight to Keep Tumon Public
  14. The Hopkins Report
  15. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in Guam
  16. VISTA Program in Guam

e-Publications

  1. 1961 Annual Report: The Governor of Guam to the Secretary of the Interior
  2. 1970 Annual Report of the Guam Representative in Washington
  3. Hopkins Report
  4. Remarks from the Proceedings of the First Constitutional Convention of Guam, 1969-1970

Videos

More entries describing 1945 – 1970

Art, Architecture, and Music

  1. Band Ensembles
  2. Ceramics
  3. Chamorro Music
  4. Filmmaking
  5. Jazz
  6. Kaiser Pre-Fab Homes
  7. Photography
  8. Quonset Huts
  9. Wood and Tin Houses

Biographies

  1. Agueda Iglesias Johnston
  2. Amanda Guzman Shelton
  3. Antonio Carbullido Yamashita
  4. Archbishop Felixberto C. Flores
  5. Bautista Brothers
  6. Bill Muna
  7. Bishop Apollinaris William Baumgartner
  8. Bishop Miguel Angel Urteaga Olano
  9. Carlos Cruz Laguana
  10. Carlos Pangelinan Taitano
  11. Carmen Romualdez Dela Cruz
  12. Clotilde “Ding” Castro Gould
  13. Concepcion Balajadia Duenas
  14. Concepcion Cruz Barrett
  15. Congressman Antonio Borja Won Pat
  16. Cynthia Johnston Torres
  17. Earl Edward Kloppenburg
  18. Eduardo “Jake” Calvo
  19. Elizabeth Perez Arriola
  20. Emilie Green Johnston
  21. Father Marcian Pellet
  22. Forrest Harris
  23. Francisco B. Leon Guerrero
  24. Francisco Garrido Franquez
  25. Frank Duenas Perez
  26. Genevieve Perez Ploke Snow
  27. Governor Carlton Skinner
  28. Governor Charles Alan Pownall
  29. Governor Ford Quint Elvidge
  30. Governor Henry Larsen
  31. Governor Joseph Flores
  32. Governor Manuel Flores Leon Guerrero
  33. Governor Richard Barrett Lowe
  34. Governor William “Bill” Daniel
  35. Ignacia Bordallo Butler
  36. Jesus Sablan Leon Guerrero
  37. Joaquin “Ding” Palomo
  38. Jose Gumabon, Sr.
  39. Jose Leon Guerrero Untalan
  40. Josef Martinez Ada
  41. Joseph Charles Murphy
  42. Lagrimas Leon Guerrero Untalan
  43. Louie Gombar
  44. Maria Arceo Ulloa
  45. Maria Palomo Ada
  46. Mary Essie Underwood
  47. Norbert Tydingco
  48. Paul Carano
  49. Pedro Martinez Ada
  50. Richard Flores Taitano
  51. Rita Guevara Sablan
  52. Rosa Aguigui Reyes
  53. Rosa Perez Salas
  54. Rosa Roberto Carter
  55. Simon Sanchez
  56. Thelma Glenn

Government and Economic Systems

  1. Adoption of “Guamanian”
  2. Banking
  3. Book: Secret Guam Study
  4. Civil Rights and US Citizenship (1898-1950)
  5. Democratic Party of Guam
  6. Elective Governor Act 1968
  7. Guam and Its Three Empires
  8. Guam Congress Walkout
  9. Guam Constitutional Conventions (ConCon)
  10. Guam Legislature
  11. Guam’s Political Status
  12. Guam’s Strategic Value
  13. History of Democracy on Guam
  14. History of Efforts to Reunify the Mariana Island
  15. Låncho: Ranch
  16. Land Ownership on Guam
  17. National Attention on Guam’s Postwar Campaign for Citizenship
  18. Organic Act of Guam
  19. Political Status Commissions
  20. Port of Guam
  21. Republican Party of Guam
  22. Resettlement Patterns Under American Rule
  23. Security Clearance on Guam
  24. Territorial Party of Guam
  25. United Nations Role in Guam’s Decolonization
  26. US Navy War Crimes Trials on Guam

Health and Medicine

  1. Guam Pattera: Changing Birth Practices (1950-1960)
  2. Health Services
  3. Lytico-Bodig on Guam
  4. Medical and Dental Practitioners
  5. Nursing Program, University of Guam
  6. Nursing Schools: 1945-1952
  7. US Naval Hospital, Guam 1962-Present

Language and Education

  1. Education After WWII
  2. English and Chamorro Language Policies
  3. Namesake School: BP Carbullido Elementary
  4. Namesake School: CL Taitano Elementary
  5. Namesake School: LP Untalan Middle
  6. Namesake School: PC Lujan Elementary
  7. Namesake School: VSA Benavente Middle
  8. Notre Dame High School
  9. Role of Education in the Preservation of Guam’s Indigenous Language

Migrations of People

  1. Carolinians on Guam
  2. Filipino Migration to Guam 1945 – 1975
  3. Filipinos on Guam

Religion and Cultural Practices

  1. Baha’i Faith
  2. Carmelite Nuns
  3. Episcopal Church
  4. Faith Presbyterian Christian Reformed Church
  5. Franciscan Sisters
  6. Jehovah’s Witnesses
  7. Lutheran Church of Guam
  8. Mercedarian Sisters
  9. Mormon Church of Guam
  10. School Sisters of Notre Dame
  11. Seventh-day Adventists
  12. Sisters of Mercy
  13. Stigmatines

Transportation, Technology, and Communications

  1. Communications and Transportation Advancements
  2. Early Transpacific Telecommunications
  3. Guam Echo and Guam Eagle

Villages, Places, Organizations, and Island Life

  1. American Red Cross, Guam Chapter
  2. Baseball: History of the Sport on Guam
  3. Baseball: Youth League
  4. Brown Treesnake
  5. Cushing Family
  6. Guam Historical Club
  7. Guam Liberation Day
  8. Guam Memorial Hospital Volunteers Association
  9. Guam Nurses Association
  10. Guam Symphony Society
  11. Guam Women’s Club
  12. Liberation Day Queen Contest
  13. Running: History of the Sport on Guam
  14. Surfing: Early History on Guam