Significant Refugee Crises Since World War II and the Response of the International Community

This article analyzes some of the significant post-World War II refugee crises and describes in summary how the international community responded to each. Overpopulation, legal and illegal migration, and repatriation of thousands of colonials have had a negative influence on public opinion with respect to rescuing and assisting refugees. Yet today the refugee problem and the attendant human suffering is growing. There are serious apprehensions about the mounting costs and the ability of those concerned to cope. The international machinery is stretched; inflation and unemployment in the industrialized world have further complicated the search for solutions. Present and future refugee crises will thus continue to test the adequacy of the international community’s response, and the experiences of the past may provide some, though surely not all, the answers.