A critical examination of a relatively unknown and even less understood event in World War I Canadian history - the internment of 'enemy' civilians as prisoners of war.
Some eight thousand immigrant-settlers of "enemy" nationality - so called enemy aliens - were interned as civilian prisoners of war in Canada during World War I. The majority, deemed second-class prisoners, were sent to the hinterland of the Canadian Rockies where they were compelled to work on a variety of public works projects under difficult conditions and in problematic circumstances. Eventually reintegrated into Canadian society, their internment raises important questions about the national conception of Canada and its ambitions at the turn of the century, the nature of state-minority relations in wartime, and the role and responsibilities of government in moments of national crises.
Focusing on these and other thematic issues, Bohdan Kordan assesses the policy and practice of civilian internment in Canada during the Great War and provides a clear yet critical statement about the complex and troubling nature of this experience. Period photographs and first person accounts augment the text, helping to communicate not only the layered and textured character of the experience but the human drama of the story as well. A comprehensive roster identifying those interned in the frontier camps of the Rocky Mountains is also included.