Between the world wars, France attracted more immigrants per capita than
any other country in the world. Roughly 3 million had settled in the Hexagon
by 1931, seven percent of the total population according to official statistics.
They came primarily from Italy, Poland, and Spain, but also Russia, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, and Rumania, political refugees and workers alike. France
also welcomed a greater non-European minority than any other country on
the continent. Well over a hundred thousand arrived, almost exclusively from
North Africa, especially Algeria.1 The level of immigration rose so high so fast
that many commentators began to worry about the threat of increased crime
and miscegenation. Some even feared for the survival of French culture.