The Japanese Internment Essay

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Wars though-out history have sprung suspicions upon one group of
people or another. The Japanese-Canadians internment in Canada during World
War 2 for being suspected spies was one of these cases. Was the internment
of Japanese-Canadians justified? No, this internment of Japanese-Canadians
was unjustified. The Japanese-Canadians were being punished for a crime
they did not commit, and Canada’s only defense was the Japanese-Canadians
were not white and there was a little chance that they could be Japanese
Spies. Innocent Japanese Canadians were stripped of their rights, became
subject to harassment, thrown behind barbwire fence, and forced to do
manual labor.

The first reason of the Japanese internment was unjustified is the
legal and physical rights of the Japanese-Canadians. They were all Canadian
citizens and they had the rights that any other Canadian citizen would have
received. More than half of the Japanese-Canadians that were interned
people who’s mothers and father, grandmother and grandfathers were of
Japanese decent but they themselves were born in Canada. Since they were
born to Canada they were automatically given Canadian Citizenship. As
Canadians they had every right to their physical freedom. But they were not
given this right, but instead it was stripped. These were Canadian
citizens that had done nothing wrong in any way. They had shown no sign of
supporting Japan, but were interned anyway for the actions of Japan. They
were interned on the suspicions of others. But they were mostly interned
on the prejudice against the Japanese more than anything else. As true
Canadian citizens they had not only had the right to freedom but they also
had the right to clean water, good and nutritious food, and the right to a
good place to live. The Japanese-Canadians were stripped of this right as
well. When the Japanese-Canadians were interned they were given dirty,
unclean water, very little food, and the cabins they were forced to live in
were in horrible condition. They had poor insulation, no heat, no running
water and were small, cramped and cold. This also falls under the right to
freedom. This right to freedom gives them this right to food, water and
good living conditions which they were obviously also stripped of.

The second point and reason why the internment of Japanese-Canadians
was unjustified is the suffering that the Japanese-Canadians went through.

When the decision to intern the Japanese-Canadians was made, it was made on
the agreement that one of them might be a spy for Japan. This was fair
enough and not too bad of a crime because it was possible. However the
things the Canadian government forced the Japanese-Canadians to have to
live with and though was not. When the Japanese-Canadians were taken from
the British Columbia’s coast they were being taken away from everything
that they had known as home in the past. The Canadian government took all
their worldly possessions from them. They were soon auctioned off to the
public for next to nothing, often starting at around 5 dollars per item.

The government did all this without the permission of the Japanese-
Canadians. The Japanese-Canadians recieved none of the money gained from
any of the auctions on their possessions. Many of these possessions were
family heirlooms that had great sentimental value for the Japanese-
Canadians. The suffering for the Japanese- Canadians did not end there.

Many families were split apart and separated from each other. So many
Japanese-Canadian families went to work on beet farms in Alberta or
Manitoba because there the families were allowed to stay together. But for
the Japanese-Canadians who went to the internment camps it was a nightmare.

The families were often separated. Women and children were separated from
the men. They were all forced to live in poorly built and insulated cabins
with almost no heat. They had very little good food and even less clean
water. Their incomes were greatly hours at the internment camps for almost
nothing. They had jobs here and there but the majority of them worked
building a railway. The Japanese-Canadians on the beet farms were not
fairing much better, but their families were allowed to stay together but
it was an extremely hard life on these farms. Every family member had to
work long tiring hours on the farm. These Japanese-Canadians too received
very little money even after all their efforts. And the suffering of
Japanese-Canadians became even more obvious. When the war finally came to
an end the Japanese-Canadians were still not released from their prison.

Then the government told the Japanese-Canadians that they could either stay
in the internment camps or return to Japan. Most of the Japanese-Canadians
stayed in the internment camps. However some did return to Japan.

Eventually the Canadian government did let the Japanese-Canadians leave the
internment camps but they were not allowed to return to the coast and had
to start all over again with any businesses and work that they may have
once had.

The third and final reason the interment of the Japanese-Canadians was
unjustified is the lack of evidence against the Japanese-Canadians. All the
suspicions against Japanese-Canadians were unjustified and had no proof or
evidence to support its truth. Many of the Japanese-Canadians interned had
fought in World War 1 on Canada’s side. They had put their lives on the
line for the Canadian nation. Yet they too were interned. What were these
war hero’s interned for? Because they fought for our nation and showed true
loyalty towards it? When the government took immediate action against the
Japanese-Canadians they arrested many of them knowing very well that every
single one of the Japanese-Canadians arrested had previously compiled by
the RCMP. The government didn’t even have any evidence to support that the
Japanese-Canadian had done anything wrong at all. More than half of these
called spies were people born into Canada. They were all Canadian citizens.

The Canadian government took the internment even further when they forced
all Japanese-Canadians to register as enemy aliens. The RCMP, military, and
the Mounties all knew that the Japanese-Canadians were no where near to
being a national security risk. When the government came to them they told
them that the Japanese-Canadians were not a security risk and that they
presented no threat at all to the nation. Of course the Canadian government
did not listen to this and interned them despite the military and Mounties
warnings about the Japanese-Canadians presenting no threat. None of
anyone’s suspicions had anything to do with truth or justice. They were all
made from the fear and confusion of the war and that they could be the
enemy, not that they actually were. After all these were peoples neighbours
that had not acted out of the ordinary in any way. How could any
of them have possibly been a spy?
The legal and physical rights of Japanese-Canadians, suffering endured
by Japanese-Canadians, and lack of evidence against them are all arguments
that prove the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War 2 were
unjustified. However the Japanese-Canadians did get compensation from the
Canadian government for their actions against Japanese-Canadians. The
government gave all Japanese-Canadians that were alive who had survived and
lived though the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War 2, 21
000 dollar compensation. They also gave the Japanese-Canadians their
sincere apology upon their actions towards Japanese- Canadians during World
War 2. This was an important occasion not only for the Japanese-Canadians
but also for all of Canada since it promoted cultural diversity within
Canada. But after all the Canadian government forced the Japanese-Canadians
to go though is this compensation of 21 000 dollars truly enough? After all
the suffering endured by them is it truly enough? The world must learn from
history to try to prevent something as horrible as this from ever happening
again. Prevent this tragedy from ever re-occurring. Or is the world forced
to live in this vicious deadly circle for the rest of its life?

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