Whatever happened to German America? German Americans are the largest ethnic group in the United States, and at the turn of the last century, Germans were the predominant ethnic group in the United States — some eight million people, out of a population of 76 million. German was spoken in many homes, in churches, in newspapers. So, what happened? Erik Kirschbaum is asking—and answering—this question in today's New York Times. Here is the story:
When the United States did enter the war, German-Americans came under intense, and often violent, scrutiny, especially after the revelation of an ill-conceived German plan for Mexico to invade the United States. There had long been doubts about the loyalty of German-Americans, especially in the myriad pockets of the Midwest where they were particularly dominant. Many had hoped to stave off assimilation by clinging to their language and dual loyalties — but that commitment to their culture suddenly became a vulnerability.
If you want to read the whole story, here is the link. And here is the book: Burning Beethoven. The Eradication of German Culture in the United States, published by Berlinica in 2015.
Erik Kirschbaum is a Reuters correspondent living in Berlin. The preface has been written by Herb Stupp, Trustee of the German-American Hall of Fame, an Executive Committee member of the German-American Steuben Parade, and a member of the American Council on Germany. Burning Beethoven, a 176-page softcover book, is now for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at independent bookstores; also the ebook. The price is $13.95 (or less, depending on the retailer).
Your publisher, Eva C. Schweitzer