“Whatever Happened to German America?”

In what is a largely forgotten chapter of American history, during the roughly 18 months of American involvement in the war, people with German roots were falsely accused of being spies or saboteurs; hundreds were interned or convicted of sedition on trumped-up charges, or for offenses as trivial as making critical comments about the war. More than 30 were killed by vigilantes and anti-German mobs; hundreds of others were beaten or tarred and feathered.

Even the German music of Beethoven and Brahms, which had been assumed to be immune to the hysteria, came under attack. …

. . . .

The crushing of German-American pride in 1917 made possible both Prohibition and Suffragism, since the big German-American brewers were the main funders of the resistance to letting women vote, since everybody assumed that votes for women meant Prohibition.

Much of 1920s culture was a reaction to the triumph of Progressive WASPism during the second Wilson Administration.

Although German-Americans made up a high proportion of small town (and big city) Americans in the 1920s, German culture was seen in the 1920s by bohemians as less puritanical and fanatical than American Protestantism. Germans seemed to have worked out a healthy, reasonable relationship with alcohol, while British-Americans tended to swing between alcoholism and Prohibitionism.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.