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The Japanese Canadian Question: WWII
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  1. The Japanese Canadian Question: WWII

  2. Japanese Aggression… • Japanese expansion in East Asia began in 1931 with the invasion of Manchuria and continued in 1937 with a brutal attack on China. • On February 24th, 1933, Japan stuns the world and withdraws from the League of Nations.

  3. With Japan becoming increasingly aggressive in the Pacific such as occupying Indonesia, parts of China, the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, and Singapore, anti- Japanese sentiments are increasing around the world

  4. The Tripartite Pact • On September 27, 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, thus entering the military alliance known as the "Axis."

  5. Embargo Against Japan • the United States, Britain and the Netherlands froze all Japanese financial assets. The effect was to prevent Japan from purchasing oil, which would, in time, cripple its army and make its navy and air force completely useless.

  6. Canadian Sentiment… • At the outbreak of the World War II in 1939, the population of British Columbia included around 21,000 Canadians of Japanese origin, 75% of whom had residence rights. • Common belief held was that the Japanese are unable to assimilate into Canadian society as easily as those of European heritage. • Prime Minister Mackenzie King himself expressed a belief in “the extreme difficulty of assimilating Japanese persons in Canada”

  7. Japanese Bomb Pearl Harbour! • December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt declares it “The Day of Infamy”.

  8. The Battle of HongKong • Hong Kong surrendered on Christmas Day 1941. • Of the 1,975 Canadians, 290 were killed and 493 wounded. A further 260 died in the awful conditions of prison camps in Hong Kong and Japan.

  9. Do we need proof? • Japanese submarines are known to have been operating off the coast of British Columbia • Although RCMP and Canadian military evaluations suggested no imminent threat by Japanese Canadians, this assessment is not universally accepted, as there exists no guarantee of the loyalty, or passivity of Japanese-Canadians.

  10. What should be done? • Resentment against Japanese Canadians exploded into panic and anger in British Columbia. • 1,200 fishing boats were seized by the Canadian navy in fear of spying • The war offered a convenient excuse for Canadians to address the Japanese Canadian question.

  11. TOWN HALL MEETING • 1. Students will form groups of 5. Each person will then be designated a letter (A, B, C, D or E) which represents a specific “profile”. 2. Students will read their designated “profile” and then return to their group. • 3. There will be a ‘town hall meeting’ (ie. Each table) in which students will present their profile and address the question: “Due to the increasing suspicions of the Japanese Canadians and following Canada’s declaration of war on Japan, what should be done with the Japanese Canadians living in British Columbia?”

  12. The Canadian War Measures Act • 1914 – “gave the government sweeping powers to ensure the security, defence, peace, order, and welfare of Canada.” • Used to imprison CANADIANS of German, Ukrainian, and Slavic descent in WWI. • 1939- War Measures Act invoked- this allowed for the internment of enemy aliens

  13. Take a stand…. what is more important: • National Security • Individual Rights …keeping in mind that people make decisions based on what they know at the time!

  14. ■The movement of 23,000 Japanese Canadians during the war was the largest mass exodus in Canadian history. Japanese Internment in Canada

  15. Internment Timeline • 1941 (December 8): 1,200 Japanese Canadian fishing boats are impounded. Japanese language newspapers and schools close. • 1942 (January 16): Removal begins of Japanese immigrant males from coastal areas. • 1942 (February 24): All male Japanese Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 ordered to be removed from 100-mile-wide zone along the coast of British Columbia. • 1942 (February 26): Mass evacuation of Japanese Canadians begins. Some given only 24 hours notice. Cars, cameras and radios confiscated for “protective measures”. Curfew imposed. • 1942 (March 4): Japanese Canadians ordered to turn over property and belongings to Custodian of Enemy Alien Property as a “protective measure only”. Eventually these assets were sold and proceeds used to pay for the interment • 1942 (March 25): British Columbia Security Commission initiates scheme of forcing men to road camps and women and children to “ghost town” detention camps.

  16. Conditions in the Camps • Housed in huts with two bedrooms and a kitchen • shared by two families • No electricity or running water until 1943

  17. Camp Conditions continued • Hundreds of women and children were squeezed into livestock buildings • Slept on beds covered in straw for comfort • Conditions were so poor that food packages were sent from Japan through the Canadian Red Cross to those suffering in the camps

  18. End of the War • In 1945, the government extended the Order in Council to force the Japanese Canadians to go to Japan and lose their Canadian citizenship, or move to eastern Canada. • Even though the war was over, it was illegal for Japanese Canadians to return to Vancouver until 1949. • Public protest would eventually stop the deportations, but not before 4000 Japanese left the country.

  19. Watch • Watch: David Suzuki- Internment Camp (2 min) • Watch: CBC News: Apology to Japanese Canadians (4 min)

  20. Acknowledging Wartime Wrongs • Forty-three years after the end of the war, Prime minister Brian Mulroney acknowledged the wrong doings of the Canadian government and announced the awarding of $21,000 for each individual directly wronged. • Is this an acceptable redress to the issue?

  21. Activity • In pairs, examine “QUESTION 2” on the following worksheet: . With your partner, identify which arguments are for the “Yes” side and “No” side.