Brian Edgar


Enemy occupation after military defeat is generally seen as a situation in which the defeated are deprived of choices. This is obviously correct, but it is also true that they are sometimes faced with dilemmas harsher and more significant than those of peacetime. The study of the experience of Canadian civilians during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong casts light on some of these dilemmas. This article begins with an account of the Hong Kong Canadians on the eve of war, showing them to consist of two distinct but linked communities—the Chinese and the European. It goes on to describe some of the Canadian contributions to the defence of Hong Kong, before proceeding to its central concern: an analysis of the choices made by individuals during the occupation.