Historical Dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870-1940 - Vol. 1

By Patrick H. Hutton; Amanda S. Bourque et al. | Go to book overview

I

IMMIGRATION. European immigrants filled the labor shortages due to declining population growth and the First World War. From 1870 to 1914, the foreign population increased slowly, from 655,036 or 1.7 percent of France in 1866 to 1,159,835 or 2.8 percent in 1911. From 82 percent to 90 percent of these immigrants originated in nations bordering France. Until the 1880s, Belgians (mostly of Flemish origin) and Germans predominated, but thereafter Italians and Spanish immigrants grew more important. Most immigrants settled in departments near the frontier or in Paris. By 1911, foreigners comprised 30 percent of the southeastern department of Alpes Maritimes and 11 percent of the Nord, which faced Belgium. Smaller numbers migrated to the regions of the Pyrenees and Moselle. Seven percent of Paris ( 1911) was non-French. While many were skilled artisans (especially in Paris), immigrants found jobs mostly in heavy industry, comprising 18 percent of the metallurgical, 10 percent of the chemical, and 9 percent of the construction work forces ( 1906). Belgian commuters (frontaliers) were important in the textile industry of the Lille region, as were Italian and Spanish seasonal farm workers in the south. None of the repeated efforts of both conservatives and leftists to restrict immigration was successful due to the political dominance of advocates of laissez-faire. Labor organizations were ambiguous toward immigrants. Formally, unions expressed solidarity with immigrants but frequently opposed the influx of foreign labor into local job markets because they feared a deterioration of wages and working conditions. Riots against foreigners occurred from the 1880s, especially in the Nord and southeast.

From 1914 to 1918, in order to replace French workers mobilized for war, the government recruited foreign labor for war industries and agriculture. Because of the invasion of Belgium and Italy's entry into the war, France had to seek new sources of European immigration. France imported Greek refugees as well as southern Europeans; 216,512 European immigrants worked in France during the war. The government recruited 222,758 colonial subjects from North Africa,

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Historical Dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870-1940 - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Historical Dictionaries of French History ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors vii
  • Preface xiii
  • The Dictionary 1
  • A 3
  • B 73
  • C 155
  • D 257
  • E 313
  • F 347
  • G 409
  • H 449
  • I 465
  • J 489
  • K 507
  • L 511
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