Anglo American German-phobia?

The US Census of 1990 showed, that 56,7 Million Americans claimed German Ethnicity – but in the Census 2000 this number decreased to 42 Million.

Obviously the US Census Bureau re-grouped German ethnicity from heritage to borders. What I want to say: The American descendants of a German, who lived 300 years ago in an area which now is Russia or France is not considered German anymore. This person  is now classified either French or Russian. When one examines the ethnic composition of a country, you can experience surprises. In France there are only Frenchmen and foreigners. You are a naturalized – you are a Frenchman! You are offset from one to the other Category.

In America it’s different. Here exists an ethnic ranking. A 4-class system, with in the first place, the Anglo-Americans, followed by the Americans, Latinos and African Americans.

White Americans, sometimes affectionately known as WASP’s, occupying the first two categories mentioned. If you now put the first two in their historical context of immigration there are amazing results and disagreements.

Samuel P. Huntington, Anglo Saxon, states in his book “Who we are[1]“, on page 38:”America is a founded society created by seventeenth- and eighteenth century settlers almost all of whom came from the British Isles”. That is correct, but for the wrong reasons, because immigration ships from Europe  in most cases stopped before the Atlantic crossing at a British harbor to cash with the customs declaration an “obolus” for the King.

A country man of him came 80 years earlier to a complete different result. A Mr. Emil Mannhardt[2], secretary of the German- American Historical Society of Chicago and a historian researched the population of the United States according to the Census of 1900 and concluded as follows: “ The claim that the American people is preeminently an English or Anglo-Saxon people is without foundation in fact”.

Another source, Geschichte und Zustände der Deutschen in Amerika[3] claimed for the time before 1847: ” Most of them came from Germany, which had a threefold population than England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland combined and the German immigration exceeded by far the immigration from England alone“. The author obviously cited this statement from Graham, History of the US, I, page 556.

Certain is that Huntington’s statement does not reflect historic truth  and possibly Mannhardt and Graham exaggerated the German-ness of the early settlers – but  the fact remains- that Germans played an important role in the founding phase of the U.S.

Early notes, like the Colonial records, or Eshleman and Rau books reported  hostilities and crimes committed against Germans by the British. So the Anglo-American relation towards their German countrymen was strained from the beginning.

This anti-German attitude had a first culmination shortly after WW1, when legislature recommended that all books favorable to Germany or Germans were destroyed and the study of the language was dropped in school. There was a brief, but rather nasty, persecution of families with Germanic names, some of which were fifth-generation Americans. Reasons for this disgust have been allegedly committed war crimes of the German Army at the beginning of WWI in Belgium and France. This war propaganda of the British was needed to brighten up the fighting spirit of their own population; to distract from the ongoing Irish problem  and convince the Anglo brother Nation in the West to enter the war. And no colonial war crimes in India, South Africa and the Philippines – but around 6000  unjust slaughtered European civilian victims created the beginning of  an awful history of the catastrophic 20th century.

The Great War, in which nobody wanted to give in, was fought to the bitter end. Both, Britain and Germany knew,  loosing this war could and had enormous consequences for both empires. The Americans, since 3 decades building up their influence and empire in the west – the Pacific Ocean – had been in a win –win situation. The Monroe-Doctrine orientated politicians wanted to Partner up at the beginning of the 20th century with the owner of the second major waterway – the Canal of Suez. The Atlantic Ocean as neutral domain, the world was split to east for the Brits and to west for the Americans. And any new contender of this arrangement, like the German Empire with its ridiculous Kaiser was a serious thread for these plans and had to be eliminated. By all means.

That situation let, that  “ In many situations and at various times in the history of immigration to the United States, German immigrants and there descendants found it desirable to hide the connections to their German homeland by having their names officially changed”  states the Dictionary of American Family Names on page Iv and follows suit.  [5] . Please note the multitude of “situations and times” Which somehow indirectly put Germans in their now known role: as diabolic inhuman monsters without Empathy, Trust and Honor.

So, as put it a friend of mine, a proud German-American, prejudice against Germans is a consequence  of the Nazi regime is finally only a part of the story. The Anglo-American prejudice against Germans has existed since the founding days of that Nation.

But what is the most surprising fact of this story: That the ethnic majority of the American Nation accepts its assigned role and trying to be more American than the Americans.

by the way: Mathew 7, 3 – 5: What do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, and will not be aware of the beam in thine own eye?


[1] Samuel P. Huntington, Who we are, Simon & Schuster, 2004


[3] Franz von Löher Geschichte und Zustände der Deutschen in Amerika, page75

[4] Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, 2003

[5] will be referred in a following post