Multicultural Britain Essay
Since 1880 Britain has been developing into a Multicultural country. There are many different reasons why people from other countries chose to migrate to Britain. However they all chose to come to Britain for a better life than what they are living in their countries. There have been people coming in from all around the world and they still are.
After 1880 thousands of Jews moved from the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe to Britain for a better life. This was mainly to avoid prosecution after new laws passed by the government made it hard for them to earn a living there. These new laws were known as the May Laws. Jews in Russia were also the victims of savage attacks.
One of the laws was that Jews could not own farms. This of course made it hard for them to earn a living in Russia. Any Jewish farmers were expelled from their village homes. It was also extremely hard to get a good education, as Jews were limited in numbers at schools and universities to 5% of all students. Jews were even turned down if there was a Christian available. The laws also stated that that Jews were restricted from owning or working in mines or holding government jobs.
The persecution of the Jews wasn’t the only reason the Jews emigrated to Britain. Another factor was that the whole Jewish community got the blame for the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. This was because it was one Jew who assassinated him and therefore every Jew was responsible in the eyes of the Russians. The Jews were a minority in Russia and after this event they weren’t known as Russians but Jews.
The reasons for Jews leaving Russia and joining Britain were sometimes known as the push/pull factors. This is because there were not only plenty of reasons to get out of Russia, but also reasons to move to Britain. The push factor was obviously Russia pushing the Jews out of the country and the pull factors were the reasons Britain had for moving to this multicultural country. The push factors are the reasons listed above (May laws, savage attacks etc.). In Britain it was a totally different story. Jews weren’t restricted from where they could live or work.
There were plenty of non-prejudice jobs available and British employers were happy to take Jews on. There was already a small Jewish community established in Britain, which is why Jews chose Britain over other countries. Britain had no rules about Jews not being able to perform their religious practises in public unlike Jews. This was obviously a major advantage as religious practises are a main part of being a religion. The Jews also used Britain as a sort of stepping-stone to America. They knew America was a huge country with lots of job possibilities with Jewish communities already established.
In 1945 many Europeans became refugees and required a country with security. Their homes may have been destroyed in the conflict of the Second World War. Some other refugees may be fleeing looking for new lives because their countries may have been taken over by Russia. These people were looking for better lives in Britain, Canada, America and other Western countries.
Of course Britain had a secure country and refugees were welcomed into Britain by the British government. This was for a few reasons. Firstly there was a labour shortage because the war had killed men and women either on the frontline or at home in bomb raids. The soldiers still alive were still in the army before being let home. It was several years before they were let out.
There were plenty of jobs available apart from in the government. People were asked to come to Britain if they wanted jobs. The war had of course wrecked houses and there was a lot of work that needed doing. This left gaps for builders, decorators, plumbers etc. to sort out the mess that the war had caused. The female workers were encouraged to leave work and return to looking after their families after the war. If they didn’t do this voluntarily it was likely they would lose their jobs anyway as most of the factory work was to help the war effort. However, there were still thousands of job places available if all women did return to their families. This is because women stood in to do men’s jobs and if the died or were still with the army this provided plenty of jobs for refugees to come into.
In 1948 the British Nationality Act was passed, this gave all citizens of British colonies and the commonwealth equal rights to those born and living in Britain. This pleased countries from the commonwealth such as India, Canada and Australia. It meant that citizens of these countries could simply come and settle in Britain.
The labour shortage in Britain after the Second World War brought refugees in from all around the World from the West Indies to Far East Asia. The West Indies had been bringing refugees to Britain since the 1600s because the British colonised in the Caribbean. However, the main wave of emigration to Britain was between 1948 and 1971 because of the Labour shortage. They also came to avoid poverty and unemployment at home.
Countries of West Africa gave a lot of support to Britain with the war effort, and after the war nothing had changed. During the war they provided Britain with troops raw materials and naval and air bases. After the war a lot of West Africans helped Britain with the labour shortage by providing labourers. Other areas that helped out Britain with the labour shortage were Ireland, South East Asia and various countries from Eastern Europe.
In June 1948 Britain there was a period known as the Windrush period. This was when thousands of men sailed to Britain from the Caribbean in hope to find jobs during the labour shortage period. Employers were happy to take on the West Indian men as they were cheaper and even worked harder. Windrush was the name of the enormous boat that connected the 2 countries especially for the labour shortage period. The reason this was mainly men was because the women usually stayed at home to look after the children while the fathers earned money for the family. It would of course be an extra cost to fly children over and feed them, as they would have no purpose to live in Britain.
In conclusion I think all of these points played a major part in converting Britain into a multicultural country. However, I do think the strongest factor was that labour shortage after the Second World War. This provided jobs which meant money for those living in less developed countries. This shortage of jobs brought refugees into Britain from all over the world.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 September 2017
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