German Historical Institute London:
Bibliography: Research on British History
in the Federal Republic of Germany

 
IMKE STURM-MARTIN, Zuwanderungspolitik in Großbritannien und Frankreich: Ein historischer Vergleich (1945-1962), Campus Forschung, 825, (Frankfurt/New York: Campus-Verlag, 2001), 316 pp. €34,90

ISBN 3-593-36732-7 (paperback)

After World War II, the United Kingdom and France were faced with similar immigration movements from their colonial territories. Economic growth and full employment in the 1950s made both countries highly attractive for migrants from Algeria, the Caribbean islands, and from the independent states of the Indian subcontinent. During a period of roughly two decades, the ‘colonial’ immigrants enjoyed the privileges of free circulation and the choice of residence in the ‘mother country’. Before 1962, the year in which a new immigration law in the United Kingdom and the political independence of Jamaica and Algeria brought about a new situation, British and French governments worked on the difficult reconciliation of the aims of colonial policy, home policy and economic policy which seemed to clash over the immigration issue.

In France, immigration was regarded primarily as an economic issue. Consequently, the labour market commissions of the „commissariat du plan“ were given responsibility for it. Considerations of population policy checked the pragmatic economic approach and brought sensitive issues of citizenship and integration to the fore, but immigration remained firmly rooted in the context of economic modernization. The British treatment of the topic took a different path and very soon it became an issue of colonial policy. Any political action concerning ‘colonial’ immigration was seen as directly affecting the relationship with the Commonwealth and colonies. In the United Kingdom, the hesitant approach to this issue revealed the more general difficulties of the period in setting priorities and finding a position in international politics. The book shows how the debate on immigration is determined by the changing political position of the two West European countries in the dynamic framework of international relations of the 1950s.

Imke Sturm


 
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