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Mar 11 17 tweets 11 min read
Thread on how German culture was destroyed in America during WW1

German dogs were shot, German books were burnt, German composers were banned, and much more

Excerpts from "Burning Beethoven: The Eradication of German Culture in the United States during WW1" by Erik Kirschbaum
At the outbreak of WW1, German-born men and women were required to register their address and employment at local post office.

2,000 Germans would be sent to internment camps for the rest of the war. Most were released by June 1919 on parole.
There was great paranoia about German saboteurs and plots in America. Fires were commonly blamed on German agents. "Glass" in people's food was blamed on Germans.

Most of the "glass" seems to have come by accident, if it was even glass to begin with.
American newspapers urged private citizens to stop German media.

This led to one Naval officer harassing a young woman for reading a German book on the subway.
Life magazine published a cartoon endorsing the lynching of German-Americans.

The lynched German is portrayed as a "pacifist."

Life also had another cartoon showing the hanging of German newspaper editors.
There were nearly 500 German newspapers in America before WW1. By 1930, there were only 10. This number would dwindle to 4 German newspapers by 1960 with a total circulation of 74,000.
Private citizens did their part to sabotage German newspapers.

Railworkers and newspapers misdelivered German newspapers

Boy Scouts had public German newspaper burnings.
German was the most popular foreign language to learn in America before WW1.

Many cities and towns were preemptive in banning German from elementary schools before their states would eventually do the same thing.
Dauschauds were renamed as Liberty Hounds.

German Shepherds and Dachshunds were targeted and killed in large numbers.
Many other German institutions and toponyms in American were completely renamed as well of course with groups existing whose goal was to make German a "dead language."

There was even a proposal to eliminate the Fahrenheit temperature scale in America.
Frederick the Great's statue in Washington DC was removed on President Wilson's orders. It wasn't displayed again until 1927 before being taken down again bc of WW2 and only being put up once again in 1954.
Iowa banned German in public spaces.

Some private citizens zealously supported this act and reported women speaking on the phone in German.

This act effectively ended all German public life and destroyed the unity of these communities. Church services in German were abandoned.
German & Austrian composers like Beethoven, Bach, Schumann, Mozart were suppressed if not outright banned.

Many German conductors were fired at beginning of war and some were sent to internment camps.
German music was characterized as extremely dangerous - "the music of conquest, the music of the storm, of disorder and devastation."

The Met halted production of all German works.
German books were removed from circulation in public libraries in major American cities.
Public German book burnings enjoyed official government support in America. Some book burnings were organized by governmental bodies.
There are at least 35 Germans who died at the hands of the mob. Some suffered public hanging.

Other Germans were met with tarring and feathering. Even a German women dealt with this once after the mob "bound and gagged" her husband.

/end thread

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