Yes, I usually post my never-humble-opinions.
But this time, I know I would be out of my depth had I offered one….
Still, the question itself has kept me up on more than one night.
Granted, my early schooling came behind the Iron Curtain – so, perhaps the very premises of my question are flawed. Yet, I have read enough (among the little bits of ‘H’istory that I have indulged myself in) here, in The West, that suggests to me that this question may, indeed, be more valid today than it has been in, well, almost a century.
Therefore, my dear reader, I beg you to indulge me in asking my question and, if you can, in enlightening me with the answer.
Now, for my long-winded question:
Before World War 1, the movement of peoples between nations was not regulated.
At least, it was not regulated in the manner in which it became regulated later on in the 20th century.
Yes, of course, there were border controls: but these were meant mostly for economic purposes (import/export taxes) and to apprehend criminals.
After all, it was not so long ago that mainland Europe was still using the Feudal System of governance, where the freedom of movement of country folk was under complete control of their landlords.
And the aristocracy was not limited by borders: crossing them freely and unencumbered to pursue political marriages. The land they held was their only anchor to the kingdom in which they held it.
The craftsmen were also not anchored in place by ‘kingdom-governance’ (I cannot think of a proper term for this), but by the self-regulated guilds of their region, under which they were permitted to practice their craft: guilds were built upon the apprentice-based artificially created scarcity of their products within various regions, calculated to ensure higher-than-market value of their work and thus inflating guild-members standard of living and social standing.
Similarly, scholars and artists moved freely between kingdoms, based on where they could find private patrons willing to fund them and their works. (Note: painters may be regarded as ‘artists’ today, but, prior to accessible photography, they were considered craftsmen and thus subject to the guild system.) For example, consider the alchemical court of Rudolph the Second.
After centuries of feudalism, it took a bit from when the shackles were shattered to when people gathered the courage to reach for freedom and travel to far-away lands – not just to learn, or as a right of passage, but to settle for good.
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the human migrations truly became unfettered and populations began to migrate.
From my own cultural background – this is where the huge exodus of Czechs into Texas began: so great was this migration that it was not until the 1970’s that Spanish overtook Czech as the second language of Texas. The University of Austin still has the largest Czech Studies department outside of the Czech Republic… And don’t even get me started on ‘Miss Czech Texas’..
Yes, I realize that I am providing just one example here, but, I am no historian: which is why I hope to get responses which will enlighten me.
Now that I have set the stage…
It has been suggested that one of the most important ‘behind-the-scenes’ reasons for the First World War was the absence of proper regulation on
the migration of populations across political borders.
Yes, of course – there were the ‘obvious’ reasons: but I have heard the claim that these ‘obvious’ reasons were, in fact, brought about because of the cultural instability and tensions brought about by, in practical terms, unregulated migration of populations across culturo-political borders.
It would be difficult to argue that what we are seeing now, in the EU in particular and in all of Europe in general is exactly the same type of unregulated migration of populations across cutluro-political borders!
But, it is even more pointed now than what it had been prior to WW1: at least back then, the migrations did not tend to cross religio-cultural borders – something that is most definitely happening now. The new migrants flooding Europe, without any true governance, are not just politically and culturally different, they are also religiously different: subscribing to an intolerant, supremacist religion that permits exploitation and violence against non-members of said religion and refuses to recognize any culture other than its own…
Finally, the question:
Are the current, practically unregulated migration conditions into Europe as dangerous, if not more, than the ones that sparked World War 1?