Prior to the First War World Europe was a continent of emigrants. Instead, since the Second War World it has become a land of immigration. Since the end of World War II, the volume of international migration has undergone a remarkable growth and its character has changed. This investigation will apply its meaning to migration into Europe, explaining why so many people have chosen this area to place their home in the recent past, and why so many are still joining them. First, by analyzing data from various studies, this essay will reveal and explain which are the different types of migration that Europe has received since the Second World War. Second, with the support of both theoretical and historical elements, it will show the differences, in term of migration, between the First World War, the Second World War and nowadays. Finally, it will be able to explain why Europe received different kinds of migration at different time and why this phenomenon has affected more this continent rather than another.
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Migrations are population movements from one place of residence to another. Population movements are an ancient phenomenon and have always accompanied the moments of numerical growth, technological change, political and ethnic conflicts. For this reason, the European territory since ancient times has always been the scene of massive population movements in search of better living conditions. Europe had always been an active country in terms of migrations, before the First World War it was a continent of emigrant, since the Second War World it became a continent of migration.
Firs of all it is important to understand who are the people that are moving from one country to another; what are the reasons that prompted them to leave their country of origin and often their families and also what are the expectations of these migrants. Thomas Bale, in his book "European Politics: A Comparative Introduction" was able to clearly respond to these questions. In fact, he explained that immigration could be of two types, legal or illegal. Legal immigration consists in entering in a country respecting the laws imposed by the new state. This type of migration can be further divided into several categories. Therefore, there is Primary immigration, which involves all the individuals who moves with the authorization to another country for economic reasons. Often, this category includes whole families not just single individuals. Another example of legal migration is the Family reunion. This second category includes those who move to another country, always with the authorization, to join relatives who are already there. Often the part of the family who is already in the receiving country has previously moved following the primary immigration, but it is not always like this. The third category is that of refugees. These immigrants move legally from their country where they are persecuted and seeking asylum in another state. This process is not always easy because refugees often arrive in the new country before their application has been submitted and in that case are likely to be illegal immigrants.
During the twentieth century, because of the First World War and political instability there was an increase in migration flows. From 1850 studies show that more than 40 million individuals have emigrated from Europe, more than half of who live in the United States. The period of maximum runoff was the decade 1901-10 with an annual average of immigrants amounted to 350,000 units from North Western and nearly 1,000,000 from South Eastern Europe. Obviously this phenomenon has not affected just Europe but also different continents and populations. For instance, Muslims moved from the Balkans to Turkey, Christians moved in the opposite direction. The Jews instead, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire migrated to Palestine and the civil war in Russia forced million of Russians, Poles and Germans to leave the Soviet Union. Most of the migrants who have moved during those years were looking for a better employment and better living conditions.
After the Second World War, the European continent had to deal with a new phenomenon. Therefore, while after the First World War, people fled from Europe looking for a better life, instead, after the Second World War this continent has become one of the most popular destinations for all the different kinds of emigrants. The reason why Europe became a so attractive continent is because of the transformation and the different attitude that it had during this war. In those years, Europe has achieved a significant role in the world. Moreover, through the territorial expansion obtained by the colonies it became a more united, more prosperous and powerful continent that has nothing to envy to the United States.
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The type of migration that Europe received immediately after the Second World War cannot be classified under a single category as was done for the post World War I. Europe was not only the destination of those who were seeking work (Primary immigration) but also of those who were forced to emigrate because of a hardship situation in their own country, such as political instability or natural disaster (Refugee). Furthermore, during the Second World War has developed a new type of migration, the one linked to the colonial legacy, which during the twentieth century was not so popular. Moreover, recently has increased the so-called temporary migration. Therefore, move from one country to another has become increasingly simple that is why more often young people, and not only, move for a short period of time to live in another country and then return home.
During the years of reconstruction and economic recovery, the most industrialized states of that continent, such as Germany, France, United Kingdom and Spain, began to attract Primary migrants from different regions of Europe and from countries free from colonialism. For instance, in the years after World War II, more than two million people have immigrated to Switzerland, contributing decisively to the economic development of the country. Before then, thousands of Swiss were compelled to leave their country for economic reasons. Today about 10% of the Swiss population lives abroad.
During the Second World War, Germany had suffered a massive emigration. Since the post-war economic boom of the fifties the German production is dependent on immigrant employment. In the period between 1950 and 1960 West Germany signed a series of bilateral treaties with Italy (1955), Greece (1960), Turkey (1961), Morocco (1963), Portugal (1964), Tunisia (1965) and finally with Yugoslavia (1968). These agreements allowed the so-called "Gastarbeiter" (guest worker) to work in the German industry. Most of the "Gastarbeiter" have returned to their countries of origin in southern and South-East Europe, but many of them remained in Germany to live and work. In this way, Germany has gradually transformed from a country of guest workers to a country of immigration control. A second large group of immigrants, especially after the collapse of communist systems, consists of the so called "Aussiedler", people with German origin that lived for generations in the former Soviet Union, Romania and Poland and who returned to Germany. These two waves of immigration, during the 1980's, have made the number of immigrants per capita higher than that of traditional immigration countries such as USA, Canada or Australia. Currently about 15 million people are living in Germany with at least one immigrant ancestor. Most immigrants work as unskilled workers, especially because Germany recruited workforce for simple crafts. Studies have shown that immigrant families are struggling to climb the social ladder or improve their economic situation. Nevertheless in the past two decades progress has been made: it is now easier to obtain German citizenship and the relationship between Germans and immigrants have intensified by the acceptance of ethnic culture.
In France at the beginning of the twentieth century the number of immigrants was greater than that of the United States. Immigrants have contributed significantly towards the growth and development of France. In fact, many people who have produced innovations in science, literature and art were immigrants. Among them, for instance, were Marie Curie, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Paul Verlaine. Another example of this phenomenon, can be seen during French's economic boom in the 1960s. In those years the government employed many workers from North Africa. These immigrants were working in factories covering roles that native French citizens had previously refused. Automatically, when the economic growth slowed during the seventies the government stopped recruiting and decreased the level of immigration. Nowadays immigration in France has decrease dramatically as a result of higher controls and new specific policies. In addition, in the late nineties a strong discontent arose amongst native French citizens who saw the national identity degraded by immigration. Moreover, as Kesslman and Krieger say, it is recorded that in France people are more racist than in most other EU member countries.
The United Kingdom is a country that has never suffered from emigration of its citizens. On the contrary, it has always had to deal with substantial immigration. During the Second World War Britain had received many immigrants, especially from Germany. In the years following the end of the war many Poles and Ukrainians moved to the UK and actively participated in rebuilding the economy. Immigrants from India began to populate the United Kingdom around 1947, shortly after their home country independence. During 1956 there were also some refugees from Hungary because of their revolution. All of these immigrants had the right to enter and remain in the UK without any law or restriction. However, since 1962 the government made the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, which declare that all foreigners had to go through immigration controls. Nowadays the UK is the evident example of the so-called Temporary immigration. In fact, many young people move to this country looking for a provisory job, to continue their studies or to learn the language. Unfortunately, this is a case where, with the flow of migration being constant, it is difficult to control all immigrants. This is why it is not easy to identify how many people reside illegally in the UK.
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Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, instead, have had a complicated migration history. In fact, during the twentieth century they all have both witnessed massive internal migration and international emigration to Germany, France and Latin America. Spain, for instance, continued to follow this trend until early 2000. Therefore, with the start of the new millennium, this country had an economic boom driven by the expansion and growth of the real estate market and tourism. This flourishing period did significantly increase immigration in Spain. Portugal, instead, is one of the countries of Western Europe that during the twentieth century has had the largest number of emigrants. In fact, in the world there are over a hundred million people who have at least one Portuguese ancestor. This phenomenon is due to the colonial expansions and the migrations of the Portuguese population that occurred during the sixteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Nowadays, however, Portugal is receiving a lot of illegal immigrants. Brazilians are the most numerous, almost 2,800 illegal immigrants. But in Portugal there are also Ukrainians, Chinese, Indian, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau nationals. Illegal immigration is a huge issue for Portugal; in recent years nearly 4,000 people have been arrested because of this. The government has taken many precautions, such as refusing entry to all those who have expired or forged document.
The Italian immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, it began to reach significant size in the early seventies and in the early twenty-first century it became a characteristic phenomenon. Nowadays, foreigners in Italy represent 7.5% of the total population and they originally come mainly from eastern European countries like Romania and Albania. In Greece, the migration began in the early nineties as a result of the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the fall of the old communist regimes. Furthermore, the continuous ridge of GDP per capita in the new millennium has fostered an increase in immigration from Asian countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. In addition, a large number of citizens from Afghanistan and from Iraq moved to Greece seeking political asylum. Nowadays foreigners living in Greece constitute 7.3% of the total population.
Immigration is a phenomenon that will exist and grow forever. The motivations that lead individuals and peoples to move and to settle are many: desire for better living conditions, reunification of families or escape from wars and unfair governments. In the past this process was complex and often painful, but nowadays it has become increasingly easier and cheaper, therefore more frequent. The destinations that immigrants choose vary, but immediately after the end of World War II a significant migration flow was directed to the European continent. Europe has undergone several mutations from the demographic point of view. Internal conflicts and the two world wars have intensified and accelerated this process. As a continent of emigration during the First World War it has become after the Second World War a very popular destination for all the migrants. The reasons of this phenomenon can be found in the economic and political development of the continent. Immediately after the war the victorious countries have received a large flow of migrants from the defeated countries. These migrants were in search of a quiet place to live where their rights were respected and where they could give a future to their families. Over time, Europe has become especially attractive for the first type of migration, the labor one. Therefore, the continent has experienced a substantial economic growth, which has attracted many migrants in search of work, especially those from the colonies that are sharing the same language. One should not underestimate the political factor. In fact, still today in the world there are different types of government. Democracy is the method that prevails in Europe and this is one of the main reasons why this continent becomes a home to citizens from countries oppressed by dictatorships or oppressive regimes. All these different processes can be described as spontaneous; people move because they want to. However it is not always this way. In fact, if people do not have a job in their own country or do not have the possibility to live in peace, ensuring a future for themselves and their families, it is understandable that they are forced to move, sadly abandoning their roots and traditional way of life..