Monday 18 October 2010

Chancellor Merkel & Migration

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany has made some observations on issues arising out of recent migration and its consequences in her country. This has sections of the press and political parties working up a lather. Many of them have rather missed the point.

She has been indicating that the migration of the immediate past has created issues but the sub-text is that the level of recent movement might be creating the pre-conditions for larger scale movement if the situations in several parts of the world continue to deteriorate.

What we forget, or more often do not bother to find out, is that the experience of other places may be different from our own and they might have long memories.

Chancellor Merkel is from Mecklenburg Vorpommen, that is the northern part of the former East Germany. It is within my memory that this Lander (Region) had very substantial migration experiences in the 1940’s as a result of World War II. These spilled over into Western Germany as well in that period and were still a feature of much of the 1950’s.

The Germans are well aware of the legacy of such migrations. The stresses of that time still have a lingering effect in German politics. I recall in the mid 1950’s there were a good many refugees and migrants still in one camp or another or living in poor accommodation on very low wages.

This was European migration and to this has been other waves more recently. But none of this is new. In Spiegel this week has been reference to a rather earlier pattern of migration, several thousand years ago, in a long article:,1518,723310,00.html

The map above is from the article in question.

There has been a long debate as to whether the spread of farming after the last Ice Age was one of peoples or of lifestyle and the learning of new techniques. The Germans pay rather more attention to real history than we do for various reasons so this debate matters. The article suggests that it was not a peaceful process.

Since the Neolithic Period there have been many movements across Europe and The Atlantic Isles provoked by variations in climate, the increase and decrease of populations and endemic wars. The ones we cannot legislate for are those related to the collapse of communities and political structures in other places.

It could be all there in the history books but we mustn’t mention the War and what did the Romans ever do for us, apart from bringing in a lot of Germans in their Legions and Auxiliaries?

1 comment:

  1. You omitted the recent history and conflict that ignited The Balkans. However, a superb, as ever, analysis. Sadly our ruling elite just don't do inconvenient history.