Journal of International Relations and Development 5(March 2002)I, pp 81-84.
Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000, 186 pp.,
hbk ISBN 0 7190 4335 2, pbk ISBN 0 7190 4336 0


IN THE LATEST TITLE OF THE SERIES Europe in Change offers B. MARSHALL AN OVERVIEW OF THE HISTORY AND CURRENT STATE OF IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION IN GERMANY. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain migration has become one of the major issues facing the new Germany. Trends changed drastically after 1989/90 due to the abolition of the former extremely restrictive practices and the improved possibilities to emigrate from Central and Eastern Europe. However what made migration into Germany in the early 1990s particularly difficult and controversial was the speed of the influx and the complexity of the different categories of migrants: foreigners via family reunion, ethnic Germans and Jews from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, resettlers from the disintegrating German Democratic Republic (GDR), asylum seekers and refugees from civil wars such as those from the former Yugoslavia (p. 1).
Over the past 40 years more than 30 million people have come to live in Germany. On the other hand, some 21 million people left the Federal Republic during the same period. The high immigration rates in the early 1990s caused mainly by refugees fleeing from the former Yugoslavia and more immigrants from non-EU countries by those looking for work also helped swell numbers. Since then, however, the migratory flow has "calmed down."
Marshall describes several waves of population movements after 1945. The first wave started immediately after the Second World War when millions of Germans (mostly ethnic Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union) fled or were moved from their territories as part of revenge for Nazi Germany maltreatment of inhabitants living in the countries occupied by the Nazi forces.
The re-settlement of those expelled in the Allied sectors of the defeated Germany caused serious problems for the damaged country. At that time only very few suitable jobs were available and the rate of unemployment remained high. The integration of immigrants became one of the most difficult tasks for both the Allies and German authorities. Nevertheless, the issue of the basic frame of relevant legal instruments helped to solve the complicated situation. In greater detail, Marshall describes consequences of the Immediate Assistance Act, the Refugee Settlement Act and the Equalisation of Burdens Act.
It was necessary to conceive the scheme of resettlement to achieve the balanced distribution of people within the territory of West Germany. The most important role in Germany´s of post-war reconstruction was played by skilled and highly motivated people. They suffered disproportionately during and after the war for their connection with Germany. Therefore, they had LEGAL CLAIMS for their residence and support in Germany. The argument somewhat omitted or neglected the destructive role played by ethnic Germans (Volksgruppen), as well as their demands of self-determination that helped create casus belli. However, the process of integrating refugees into West Germany was surprisingly successful, which could be demonstrated in the example of Bavaria, where refugees helped to develop the dynamic growth of the economy. The steady flow of immigrating ethnic Germans once again gained momentum during the seventies and eighties when tens of thousands of ethnic Germans (40 000/per year) were "bought-out" from Romania, Poland and the Soviet Union. When Gorbachev came to power (and begun the Perestroyka reforms) the process even accelerated.
Marshall´s discussion of the German government´s many arguments that enabled the reception of ethnic Germans is specially interesting. The historical and political argument stated that ethnic Germans had migrated from former communist states because of the continued repression of their life style, culture or because of the existing pressure. However, their situation improved immensely after 1987. The reasons for the ever-growing motivation for their migration were economic. At the same time, many newcomers (or spätumsiedler) had either unsuitable qualification or no qualification at all, which meant that their economic integration became more and more difficult. This process of the "decrease of the ethnic Germans´ qualification " in connection with the labour market situation is illustrated by some telling tables ( p. 55). A reserved attitude towards the incoming ethnic Germans started to grow steadily among the German population.
The second great process of migration was unleashed by guest workers (Gastarbeiter). The first foreign workers started to become part of Germany´s economic process in 1953. As the Wirtschaftswunder progressed, the shortage of labour in this country attracted workers from neighbouring and other countries (Italy, Spain, Turkey etc.). In this first stage, up to and during the sixties, no integration was intended and guest workers had to leave the country after their contracts of employment had expired. The guest workers provisional status was symbolised by their accommodation in army-style, employer-provided mass quarters (mostly barracks). Migrants coming to Germany during this period contributed to Germany growing wealth and, at the same time, improved their own standard of living. They were mostly young, single males with a strong motivation and few demands on the welfare state. These advantages gradually disappeared when their status became permanent and family members joined them in Germany. When the dynamism of German economy slowly decreased, numerous signs of reluctant attitudes towards foreigners started appearing among the native German population.
Many of those foreigners were asylum seekers. Most of them were distributed among three Bundesländer, i.e. Baden-Württemberg, North-Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria. During the eighties, a bitter discussion over asylum-seekers conditions also became part of the so-called Historikerstreit (historians dispute) about how to interpret the era of National Socialism (p. 17). Considerations of ethnicity and/or race of immigrants were concepts made non-legitimate by recent German history. Not only historians but also politicians judged and weighed up the political and moral obligations of German people towards other European countries. Those considerations became more topical after the German reunification in 1990 and with the process of European Union (EU) enlargement bringing with it a vision of the mass movement of guest-workers from Central and Eastern Europe.
It is even more apparent that, in spite of the current basic frame of multiculturalism, the contemporary German society is even more reluctant to accept or concede such a change. Accordingly, Marshall mentions the fact that three million signatures against the acceptance of dual nationality could be collected within three months (p.165).
These signals change, on a large scale, the attitudes and opinions of Germans. Nevertheless, Marshall made not only an attempt to explain deeper roots of this change, but she also see considerable friction after differentiating between individual entities of decision-making within the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) (i.e. communities, Länder and the federal government). The problem, however, has its sociological and psychological dimension that could offer an explanation of the author contention. What is, in fact, the character of the current shift of public opinion in German society? However, Marshall mostly puts this challenge aside and, instead of giving reasons, she prefers to describe the consequences.
Many useful statistics which could help readers better understand migration processes in the FRG of post-war era are included in the second chapter dealing with the impact of migration on the new (reunited) Germany. The process of migration, according to Marshall, influences the socio-economic and security situation of the given state and arouses the issues of identity, integration and conceiving of an intercultural society. The fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1989 accelerated West Germany role as an immigration country. The number of people illegally trying to cross the German border rose dramatically. Obviously, since the end of the Cold War and the return of East-West, Germany has become a transit hub for international migration.
Newcomers are spread all over the whole territory of the FRG, most of them being concentrated in large urban centres like Frankfurt/Main, Munich, Stuttgart and others, where their number exceeds 20% of the whole population.
Foreigners need cheap accommodation, which means for local authorities to provide social housing for them. In the mid-eighties the Federal government restricted the number of available units and the situation even got worse after 1989. Some observers say that the situation threatens to explode. The roots of this situation deeply influence the social atmosphere inside the German society. The mix of nationalities makes every day life stressful. German population feels like strangers in their own land, remarks Marshall.
A sui generis problem involves refugees from the civil war in former Yugoslavia, mostly concentrated in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Berlin alone with 40 000 Bosnians it accepted surpassed France and the United Kingdom combined. A new term appeared - Überfremdung- signifying a situation when a predominance of foreigners could threaten the stability of German society and consequently the federation structures. The state identity, linking external and international security, might also be endangered. Those foreigners who became members of extremist groups, established increasingly in Germany after 1996, are often mentioned in this context. The events in Kosovo have found their echo in the activities of the 100 000 Kosovo-Albanians living within Germany. Among others, Islamic organisations, with a total membership of 31 000, form the greatest extremist potential.
Since 1994, the Bundestag has passed a series of measures designed to strengthen the state authority. Among others, the most important are the rules allowing easier deportations of unwanted foreigners. The atmosphere within the German society has changed and policy-makers mirrored this change in the system of new laws and amendments enabling the state to swiftly react in time of crisis.
This change of situation draws the attention of governments to their lack of ability to prevent the arrival of migrants. Their attention has increasingly focused increasingly on their "turnaround time". The Bilateral Readmission Treaties between Germany and its neighbouring states (the Czech Republic among others) were designed to facilitate returns without undue formality. This effort is part of the trend supported by the EU member-states since the Fall of the Iron Curtain and it should avoid an influx of poor and unskilled migrants from the East. The influx illustrated inefficacy of existing border controls. With unification the Germany eastern border became one of the longest and most difficult to control land borders in the EU (p. 121).
Strong signs of reassessment of the German priorities are visible, especially during the two years when Chancellor Schröder has been in power.
The experience with migration and asylum policies at the European level play a significant part. The country had to move "from tolerated trickling process to an institutionalisation of immigration"(p. 153).
On the whole, the publication provides a well-researched and in-depth overview of one the key problems of the post-war Germany. It is a useful source on the common subject of migration in Europe that has gained momentum since the end of the bipolar arrangement of international relations. The study describing important aspects of Germany post-war development will find readers among students of political sciences, international relations and other relevant disciplines that deal seriously with the subject of migration. The many tables, figures and facts convincingly demonstrate the main trends and help readers better understand the problem of refugees, asylum-seekers, guest workers and all foreigners generally in contemporary Europe. Last but not least, the book brings solid explanation of the internal social background underlying certain decisions of German foreign policy.