Round Tour > Motives 1/6

Emigration could be religiously, economically or politically motivated, and sometimes there were also personal reasons for the decision. In most cases, however, several of these so-called 'push factors' came together when people finally made their mind up to leave their homeland. In addition there were the opposing 'pull factors': the vision of an America that possessed many things Germany lacked: work and living space for everyone, fertile land for farming, and the freedom to do as one pleased. The biggest attraction of all was usually a surfeit of food and drink, however!

Emigration takes place in waves, and reflects the respective conditions in the emigrants' native land. Conversely, the economical and political situation in America had an effect on emigration statistics: times of high emigration, e.g. the influx from the Rhenish Palatinate in the early 18th century, were followed by quieter periods. In the 19th century, three peak periods of emigration from Bavaria can be made out: 1846-1857, 1864-1873 and 1881-1893. America was the destination for 90 percent of emigrants. In the 20th century, statistics reveal that in the year 1923, around 16,000 Bavarians emigrated to America. In 1952, following World War II, a peak was attained with over 11,000 emigrants. Today there is an annual average of roughly 3,000 people.

Once relations, friends or acquaintances had successfully completed the journey, people were often tempted to follow. This additional emigration often led to whole families or even village communities crossing the Atlantic.

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Introduction ‹
Religious Motives ›
Economic and Social Motives ›
Political Motives ›
Personal Motives ›
Fleeing the Nazi Regime ›