Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Philip P. Micklin

Second Advisor

Dr. Ilya Zaslavsky

Third Advisor

Dr. Eldor Quandt

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Since the collapse of communism in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union in the late 1980's/early 1990's over two million ethnic Germans have migrated to Germany (predominantly from Russia and Kazakhstan). Ethnic Germans are descendants of Germans who migrated to Central Europe and to Russia centuries ago who are returning to their historic roots since they have been allowed to leave. The reason ethnic Germans are migrating to Germany stems from a strange law written into West Germany's post-World War II constitution (in 1949) that promised ethnic Germans and their descendants the "right to return" to Germany; however, the majority of them were kept from emigrating until the Soviet Union collapsed. The ethnic German issue has become highly controversial in Germany. Straddled with the problems of Reunification, many Germans now feel the "right to return" for ethnic Germans is no longer practical.

This thesis analyzes the available literature and uses a variety of statistics, cartographic techniques and specially collected data to show the political, economic and social impact on Germany, and to some extent on Russia and Kazakhstan, caused by this migration.

Included in

Geography Commons