Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Cigdem Cidam




asylum, refugees, seekers, european, immigration


Since 2014, conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East have brought large inflows of asylum-seekers streaming into Europe. Germany has not only accepted the greatest number of these asylum-seekers, but it has additionally pushed for other European Union member states to accept more asylum-seekers as well, thereby earning an international reputation as a leading proponent of human rights in the European Union. While images of German citizens crowding train stations in Munich and other cities to welcome refugees have dominated news cycles, there is an increasing anti-immigration sentiment in Germany, which at its most extreme has manifested itself in the forms of anti-immigration violence and the Islamaphobic Pegida movement. My thesis suggests that to fully understand this conflict, it is necessary to approach it as not only an issue of immigration politics, but as a political conflict over what it means to be German. In exploring this topic, I will provide a history of post-World War II immigration to Germany and an overview of the immigration debate in the country. I will additionally discuss the EU’s involvement in the development of refugee law and the effects of Schengen on the current migrant crisis, as well as Germany’s role in the EU. By providing a detailed account of the evolution of German national identity after World War II, I will frame Germany’s role in the crisis in the context of the political conflict over German national identity.