This is the first comprehensive treatment of a problem of staggering proportions. There have always been homeless people but only in the twentieth century have refugees become an important part of international politics, seriously affecting relations between states. Since the 1880's, the numbers of displaced persons has climbed astronomically, with people scattered over vaster distances and for longer periods of time than ever before. Marrus traces the emergence of this new variety of collective alienation.
While a considerable portion of the book is devoted to the dislocations of the Nazi era, the volume covers everything from the late nineteenth century to the present, encompassing the Armenian refugees, the Spanish Civil War Emigres, the Cold War refugees in flight from Soviet states, and much more. The book shows not only the astounding dimensions of the subject but also depicts the shocking apathy and antipathy of the international community toward the homeless. The author examines the impact of refugee movements on Great Power diplomacy and considers the evolution of agencies designed to assist refugees, noting outstanding successes and failures.
The book's thesis is that the huge refugee inundations of the twentieth century in Europe represented a terrible new page in human history, presaging what we see today in parts of the Third World. Thus the book offers a treasury of experience in dealing with refugees that the world can peruse with profit.
About the Author:
Michael R. Marrus is Professor of History at the University of Toronto and co-author (with Robert Paxton) of the acclaimed Vichy France and the Jews.show more