The Twentieth Century Movement of People

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Chapter 30 Notes

Significant numbers of people moved – willingly or not – in and out of various parts of Europe in the 20th century. Europeans moved from the country to the city; the Nazis and the Soviets displaced millions of people, re-settling some and killing others; post-war border changes and policies pushed and pulled local minorities and entire nations around the map of Europe. Millions of Europeans emigrated, while European colonials returned "home" from overseas. Non-European peoples also flocked to the former colonial powers, looking for work and educational opportunities. This post-colonial population influx included many Muslims; Muslims, like others, were also drawn to the economic opportunities Europe offered. Europe's immigrant Muslim communities are often segregated or poorly assimilated, and in many cases discriminated against. The European birth rate has dropped below replacement levels, which will undoubtedly have profound consequences in coming decades.

After World War II, many Europeans saw social welfare insurance as a political right. Britain's Beveridge most clearly laid out the principle that medical care, old-age pensions, and other benefits were a right to be shared equally, not a tool for wealth distribution; this made such schemes palatable across the political spectrum. Attlee's Labour Party ministry introduced universal health care in Britain in 1945, and welfare legislation spread across Western Europe. Through the postwar reconstruction period and the quarter-century of slow and steady growth that followed – until the inflationary late-1970s – many Europeans endorsed a Keynesian economic model, in which government was deeply involved in a mixed economy. Since then, there has been greater confidence in free markets, and some social welfare programs have been scaled back. Demographic changes in Europe will pose further challenges to Europe's existing social welfare programs. NEW PATTERNS IN WORK AND THE EXPECTATIONS OF WOMEN

Gender inequality persists in Europe, despite the expanding economic and political roles women have occupied throughout Europe in the 20th century. Recent feminism has focused on criticizing fundamental elements of European culture (as has the European environmental movement), and on helping women as individuals take control of their own lives. European women have fewer children than in the past, which leaves them more time developing careers. Abortion, which was widely available in Europe, has reemerged as a political issue. Women in Eastern Europe were entitled to guarantees of equality and broad benefits; they are now learning how best to make their way in more free-market, democratic systems.

In the first half of the 20th century, many Western Europeans believed that communism would safeguard humane, liberal values, and might even do a better job of it than the unstable or authoritarian governments then in power in western Europe. The purge trials, the Spanish Civil War, the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact, and the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary were all turning points in the disillusionment of many western European intellectuals with Soviet communism, but many continued to have faith in other forms of Marxism or radical socialism. Existentialism was a philosophy that questioned rationalism. It was built on the works of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, and shared their concern with extreme situations. Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre, and Camus frequently disagreed with each other, but their ideas fit with a distrust of the pride in rational achievement that, by mid-century, seemed to have led to so much suffering. The expansion of European universities, and the increasing diversity of their students, contributed to the still poorly understood student rebellion of the 1960s. In the post-war era, Americanization in Europe has entailed both the economic and military...
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