Timelines and History of Migration: Germany
A Short History of Migration to and from Germany 4:
From the Industrial Revolution to the Second World War
The Industrial Revolution started another wave of migration.
Since the discovery of the American continent a wave of migration from
Europe started which had its climax in the 19th century. Germans migrated
to America for different political and economic motives. The first wave
of German emigrants left Germany at the beginning of the 19th century
when mass poverty during the first stage of the Industrial Revolution
was a big problem. The number of emigrants stayed high until the end of
the century, but the economic crises of the 20th century forced more people
to go abroad, so that the USA passed an immigration law in 1921. Despite
this, 105,000 people left Germany in 1923 alone.
German emigrants boarding a ship in Hamburg
With the German colonisation in South West Africa, East
Africa, Cameroon and Togo from the 1880s onwards, 20,000 Germans left
their home country. In 1919 Germany lost its colonies through the Treaty
of Versailles but part of the emigrants stayed overseas.
A German in Togo, about 1885
Following the beginning of Nazi rule in 1933, about 37,000
people had to flee from Germany. Most of them went to other European countries.
The anti-Jewish Nuremberg laws in 1935 led to a second emigration wave.
In 1938, after the pogroms, about 40,000 people left Germany in only two
months; most of those emigrated to the USA. From 1941 on emigration was
forbidden. During the whole time of the Nazi regime 275,000 to 300,000
Jewish people left Germany.
Albert Einstein, one of the many who had
to leave Germany