Was Japanese Internment Neessary? Essay

1725 words - 7 pages

World War II was a global event like none other. It left the world devastated, with over sixty million people dead. (World War II Casualties, par.1) Due to the events taking place in Europe, many people failed to see the things that were occurring right here in Canada. These events changed the lives of many people, with one of the affected groups being the Japanese Canadians. After the United States had declared war on Japan, Canada had automatically joined as well. Once war was declared on Japan, racism and fear suddenly took over. They felt it was necessary to send the Japanese Canadians to internment camps. The Japanese Canadians were falsely accused of espionage, even when many had no ties to Japan. Others spent their lives trying to prove their loyalty to Canada, but were still interned. Even though the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) declared them loyal, due to the racial sentiments in British Columbia, they were still sent to the camps. The internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II was extremely unfair, as it was based on prejudices and assumptions - deeming it unnecessary.
The Japanese Canadians had lost their fundamental rights as a Canadian citizen because they were accused of espionage. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, suspicion quickly fell on the Japanese Canadian residents in British Columbia for being disloyal. (Enemy Aliens, par.6) They were deemed “enemy aliens” and began to send them to internment camps on the basis that they were spies giving information to Japan. They had no evidence of this and no one had ever been convicted of being a spy. At the time, six hundred and sixty Germans and four hundred and eighty Italians had also been classified as “enemy aliens” and interned, while many of them were indeed spies. (Ferguson, p.332) Based on what they found in Ontario with the Germans and Italians, the government automatically assumed that the Japanese were spies as well and had taken measures to ensure their internment. (Ferguson, p.332) They were deemed “enemy aliens” but that was not true, as by 1942, twenty thousand Japanese Canadians were living in British Columbia. (Ferguson, p.332) At the time, seventy five percent of these Japanese were Canadian-born; while more than half of the Japanese population did not even know how to speak Japanese. (Ferguson, p.332) So, “an entire ethnic population was dispossessed, stripped of its belongings, and carted off to relocation camps – all without trials, charges, or due process” (Ferguson, p.332) The Japanese Canadians were never given the chance to make a case for themselves and many did not understand why they were being interned in the first place. Even while in the camps, they were constantly being monitored with machine guns and barbed wires making sure they never escaped. (Ohanashi – The Story of Our Elders, par.10) The living conditions were unbearable and at times up to ten families shared a house. The houses were not equipped for the winter and...

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