The Japanese Internment Essay, Research Paper
During World War II, Canada was at war with Germany and Italy. Canada was fighting to protect the lifestyle that its citizens had become accustomed to. The soldiers in WW II gave their lives for the good of their great nation. Canada was also facing a major threat in the Pacific. The threat was the powerful nation of Japan. To that point in time Japan was the strongest military force that the world had ever seen. The Japanese government was strongly influenced by military leaders who were in favor of an expansion of Japanese power in the Pacific through military means. Japan had been sweeping through such strong military forces as China, Australia and Britain (Hong Kong). Japan was a major threat in World War Two to a lot of countries. Then when japan bombed Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack against the Americans. The Canadian government had to move quickly to protect its borders. The Canadian government decided that it was best that the Japanese be moved inland away from the coast. This was done for two main reasons, one to prevent spying and sabotage and secondly to protect the Japanese from anti-Asian violence. This decision was not only for the good of the country but also for the good of the Japanese people. The government made the right decision for the matter at hand.
It is true that the Canadian Government noted that “no Japanese in Canada has been suspected of or linked to, an act of sabotage or espionage”. Also in a RCMP investigation, the Japanese in Canada were not considered a real threat but the assessment was conducted before the country of Japan was officially in World War Two. These reports would have been outdated as the ideas and beliefs of the Japanese could have changed once Japan was at war with the world. People changed their views during times of change. As Japan officially entered W.W.II many passions of the people may have changed. The Canadian Government was faced with the treat of this possible change. If the Japanese were to roam free during this time, what is to say that a small group of loyal Japanese could not have started a subversive group? The Japanese government could have also paid some of the Japanese’s in Canada substantial amounts of money to spy for them. Although many Japanese living in Canada would be patriotic to Canadian cause, there would be some that would align themselves with Japan, which could be seen as a potential threat to Canada. In fact if the Canadian Government did not intern the Japanese and let them roam free, a small minority of the patriotic Japanese could have spied on Canada helping the Japanese to attack Canadian borders. If the Japanese had attacked Canada the impact would have been very destructive. The Japanese could have easily attacked Canada because most of our military force was in Europe. We could not bring these forces back to protect our borders because the opposing forces in Europe were strong and would have surely gained an advantage over are allies. Also the potential existed for the patriotic Japanese in Canada to use terrorism and sabotage to help Japan in any attack against Canada. These types of actions would have resulted in the loss of many lives. There are many possibilities of what could have happened during this turbulent time. Canada made a reasonable decision that resulted in nothin
Undoubtedly the property of the Japanese internees was sold; nevertheless the Japanese were in internment and were not inhabiting nor using these properties. The only course of action the Canadian Government could take was to sell these properties at market value to sustain the economy of western Canada. Japanese internees said that their properties were sold at low prices. Although, the real estate market was in the right conditions to be in a recession, which would have resulted in lower prices. The Japanese received the money that properties were sold for. In most other countries, the internees would never see any compensation for their properties.
Furthermore Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor almost destroying all of the American Naval Fleet. This attack concerned the Canadians on the Pacific Coast because of the suddenness and strength of the destructive force. This attack also caused many to worry about the threat of Japan. In wartime conditions, people’s views can be crippled. The attack caused uproar amongst the non-Japanese Canadians urging the government to move the Japanese away from the coastline to prevent a similar attack on Canada. The non-Japanese Canadians had become prejudice against the Japanese as the non-Japanese Canadians thought that the Japanese would help Japan destroy the Canadian homeland. This prejudice turned into discrimination. There were a lot of anti-Asian protests and several violent attacks on the Japanese-Canadians. Protesters and supporters would clash leading to violence.
Moreover the twenty two thousand Japanese-Canadians were probably not a major threat as a group but it does not take twenty two thousand people to help destroy a nation. A powerful group could consist of less than fifty people. The Canadian Government may not have had to intern most of the Japanese in Canada and probably didn’t want to. Canada had a lot of trouble trying to find anyone that was a major threat to national security, although some were found and acted upon accordingly. This probably frightened the Canadian Government to intern the Japanese because there could be a group of individuals that would help Japan invade Canada. Simply because the Canadian Government could not find a threat does not mean that one did not exist nor that one could quickly develop with the changing climate. It was more efficient and safer to move the Japanese away from the coast to ensure the safety and well being of Canada. In addition to the potential threats of an internal uprising, the Canadian Government feared that some of the Japanese could be spying and working for the Japanese. The fear was that if the Japanese spied on Canadian military operations then they could leak information back to Japan. Information on the military components of Canada could prompt attacks from Japan. The information gathered could also be leaked to Canada’s European enemies that would risk the lives of the many soldiers fighting in Europe. If any Japanese in Canada planned terrorism or sabotage, the lives of many Canadian men, women and children would be at risk. This potential threat could not be taken lightly by the Canadian Government.
Most important of all is the fact that the lives of the Japanese in Canada were at risk. The non-Japanese Canadians were angry and frustrated because they perceived Japan to be a threat to Canada. The people did not care that the internees were or were not Canadian citizens. The non-Japanese Canadians had anti-Asian demonstrations and were in conflict with the Japanese. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the conflict escalated to a new level. The non-Japanese Canadians became more violent when they found out that the Japanese Government was treating imprisoned Canadians in Hong Kong with brutal cruelty. The Canadian Government had no choice but to move the Japanese inland. In a democracy, the majority makes the decisions but the minority’s rights must be protected. The Canadian Government did this. The majority of Canadians did not want the Japanese to have coastal access. The Canadian Government did, as the majority wanted. They moved the Japanese to inland British Columbia. The Japanese’ rights were taken into consideration. The Government did not deport them all like a lot of other countries would do. The Japanese were moved away from the coast and isolated from the Canadians who were hostile toward them. The Canadian Government protected them from malicious violence. People debate that the Government should have tried to control the violent people. This would have been impossible to accomplish due to the fact that the Canadian government could not stop and detain a mass quantity of people. The Canadian government decided that the Japanese people would be better protected if they were isolated from the aggressive force. If the anti-Asian group was a small group of individuals then the government could have stopped them and left the Japanese in BC and take care of the small group. Unfortunately the group was very large it consisted of almost all the non-Japanese British Colombians. They did not want Asians in BC and would do almost anything to accomplish this feat. The government did the right th
The Canadian Government did an excellent job under the circumstances. The Canadian Government had two reasons for the internment of Japanese. (1) To prevent spying and sabotage. (2) To protect the Japanese from anti-Asian violence. They accomplished both these goals and prevented a military strike from Japanese forces. Canada is prided with being the most humane nation in the world. The Japanese Internment was just an example of how humane Canada is even under the toughest circumstances.
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