Culturegermanamericanhistoryimmigration

Fri Jul 27, 2018, 10:28 PM

German-American history, largely erased, has lessons for our anti-immigrant era

Last edited Sat Jul 28, 2018, 06:20 AM - Edit history (2)

"The howl of the cave man.” This is how a 1918 Los Angeles Times article described the music of Brahms and Bach. A year earlier the U.S. had declared war against Germany and waded into the tragedy of the First World War. The propaganda machine was in full swing. Germans were brutes—close cousins of the barbaric Huns—and detesting all things German became a badge of patriotic pride. The time was also ripe for the contributions of German-Americans to be scrubbed from the history books. Figures like Alexander von Humboldt, Carl Blümner, and Heinrich Balduin Möllhausen, whose contributions to the U.S. are vast, were eclipsed by caricatures of the brutish German lusting for American blood. German-Americans learned to keep a low profile and the collective demonization induced a historical amnesia from which we have yet to awaken.

Today, German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in the US, with some 50 million citizens, but their history and their identity has been largely disappeared. This may seem irrelevant, but the history of how it happened tells us a great deal about our present and how ethnic groups can come in and out of favor depending on the geopolitics of the day. As Art Silverman and Robert Siegel noted in an “All Things Considered” segment titled, “During World War, the US Propaganda Erased German Culture”: “today … what happened a century ago has special relevance … World War I inspired an outbreak of nativism and xenophobia that targeted German immigrants, Americans of German descent, and even the German language.”

I grew up in Germany and was educated in the post-World War II model, which, for obvious reasons, stressed a respect for pluralism and cultivated a global view of politics and culture. As a result I’ve always been sensitive to the ways in which propaganda shapes our opinions of different communities. The daily scandals of how Latin American immigrants, many of them fleeing horrors that the U.S. had a hand in producing, are brutalized at our borders; and the harassment and attacks on Muslims come out of and occur alongside a propaganda campaign to dehumanize these groups as criminal, devious and irrational. The ethnicities change, but the message stays the same.

Unfortunately, this model has proven reliable in the effort to tar an entire population, and I’ve spent a good deal of time studying how it was applied to Germans and German-Americans. It begins with a well-crafted propaganda campaign initiated only days after the U.S. declared war on Germany. On April 13, 1917, President Wilson formed the Committee on Public Information (CPI), which recruited 150,000 academics, business people, and talent from the media and arts to promote the war to voters. Up to 20,000 newspaper pieces per week were printed based on “voluntary censorship” and CPI handouts. That was probably the birth of “embedded.” One of the CPI’s primary goals was to shape public opinion of the new enemies—Germans. Professor Vernon Kellogg, a member of the intelligentsia, who served this effort, eloquently expressed himself in a CPI publication, writing, “Will it be any wonder, if, after the war, the people of the world, when they recognize any human being as German, will shrink aside so that they may not touch him as he passes, or stoop for stones to drive him from his path?”

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/27/german-american-history-largely-erased-has-lessons-for-todays-anti-immigrant-sentiment/

The Church of the Assumption in north Nashville (Germantown) partly celebrated Catholic mass in German until World War I. It is the second oldest Catholic church in Nashville. It was built with reclaimed bricks from Holy Rosary Cathedral.





St. Mary's of the Seven Sorrows is the oldest Catholic church in Nashville (below). It is a Greek revival structure built in 1845.

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Reply German-American history, largely erased, has lessons for our anti-immigrant era (Original post)
Agent_86 Jul 2018 OP
Banshee 3 Actual Jul 2018 #1
Magyar Heidinn Jul 2018 #2
Agent_86 Jul 2018 #3

Response to Agent_86 (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2018, 11:01 PM

1. Democrats, Violent 100 years ago, Violent today

They liked to kill Dachshunds

Lynched a German American, Robert Prager (when they weren't murdering Jews like Leo Frank and Blacks)

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Response to Banshee 3 Actual (Reply #1)

Fri Jul 27, 2018, 11:23 PM

2. Ahhhhh, how cute, a finger sniffer alerted in bad faith

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Response to Agent_86 (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2018, 11:30 PM

3. It is all politics, all the time for shit eaters.

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