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1941: Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor

As Canadian soldiers were fighting overseas in the name of democracy, at home the federal government was staging the largest mass exodus in Canadian history. During the Second World War, roughly 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forcibly evacuated from the west coast and resettled in other parts of the country. Their struggle continued after the war as they fought for an apology and redress for their loss. CBC Television and Radio covered the crucial issues in their journey from relocation to redress.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the American Pacific fleet, moored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is attacked by Japanese planes. The damage is extensive - 19 naval vessels are badly damaged or sunk, 188 American aircraft are decimated, more than 2,300 are killed and 1,109 are wounded. In this address to the United States of America, President Franklin Roosevelt declares war on Japan. "Always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against them," he says conclusively.

Canadians also rally against the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Many feel this assault brings the war dangerously close to the home front. Japanese Canadians, already a community subject to prejudice, anticipate more restrictions.
• President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942. It ordered the evacuation and relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Roughly 120,000 Americans were interned.

• On Feb. 26, 1942, the Canadian government issued a formal evacuation policy under the War Measures Act. Japanese Canadians were moved to the stables in Vancouver's Hastings Park before being relocated to ghost towns in the wilderness of the B.C. interior.

Also on December 7:

• 1876: The Canadian steamship Northern Light begins the first regular service from Prince Edward Island to the mainland.
• 1983: Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome dies at 42. He was the first man to hold both the world 100-yard and 100-metre records.
• 1995: British Columbia's NDP government becomes the first in Canada to order automakers to produce less-polluting vehicles.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: Dec. 8, 1941
Speaker: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Duration: 7:27 Photo: U.S. Navy Photograph # C-5904

Last updated: December 7, 2012

Page consulted on September 16, 2013

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