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Germany - Enormous social changes


Bavarian Alps
Germany

Enormous social changes and economic fears also contributed to problems of xenophobia and attacks on foreigners. Since the end of World War II, West Germany had addressed its often acute labor shortage by permitting immigrants to live and work there. Guest workers, many from Turkey and Italy, worked full-time and brought families to West Germany, but they were not allowed to become citizens. By the 1990s Germany had nearly 2 million guest workers. In addition, 440,000 people seeking political asylum entered the country in 1992, an increase of 71 percent from 1991. Of these, almost a third were from the former Yugoslavia. These groups became the target of attacks, often by neo-Nazi and other illegal right-wing groups. In 1992 there were about 2,300 attacks on foreigners, and 17 people were killed.

Although the number of attacks subsequently declined, the activities of right-wing groups continued. The German government responded with a strict crackdown on such groups, particularly in the eastern states, but it also revised its liberal asylum policy in 1993. Despite these measures, antiforeigner violence continued, with hundreds of attacks recorded annually throughout the 1990s. About half of all such attacks occurred in the east, which was home to just one-fifth of the nation’s population. In the national elections of October 1994, Kohl’s coalition government of the CDU/CSU and FDP retained its majority in the Bundestag, but saw it sharply reduced from a margin of 134 seats to just 10. Kohl was reelected chancellor for his fourth consecutive term, and in 1996 he surpassed Adenauer as the longest-serving chancellor in postwar Germany. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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