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LIFE Virtual Lecture: Faithful to the Fatherland or Doughboys auf Deutsch? New Perspectives on the World War I Experience
Thursday, October 1 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required
email Antje Petty (email@example.com) to receive a link to the event
This lecture examines the experiences of German-Americans during the Great War, focusing on their treatment by the Anglo-American society as well as their own attitudes toward the war and the Fatherland. Both groups failed to distinguish between political loyalty on the one hand, and cultural loyalty and language preservation on the other. Whereas many civilian institutions in America were highly intolerant and discriminatory toward ethnic Germans, the U.S. Army was more accepting and practiced ethnic pluralism in its ranks. This is reflected in the many letters written home in the German language by U.S. soldiers, many of which were subsequently published in German-American newspapers. Some who paid the ultimate sacrifice are commemorated on gravestones with German inscriptions in American cemeteries.
Walter D. Kamphoefner is Professor of History at Texas A&M University, focusing on immigration history and the U.S. Civil War and publishing in the field of immigration and ethnicity. His forthcoming book, Germans in America: A Concise History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021), surveys the German-American experience over three centuries.