German America

I hate three-on-ones. Especially because I’m so often “the one” side.

I was trying to explain on this most American of holidays, while American politics has a clear historical affinity with the British, American culture has a historical affinity with the Germans. Of course, I was shouted down as being an absurdist—the main argument being apparently American’s are the most anti-authoritarians in the world but the Germans are a bunch of goose-steppers.

The fact that we’ve just finished eating frankfurters and hamburgers (not to mention nearly every American major beer marque) being completly trumped by by lazy idea of putting it between two pieces of bread.

I exaggerate.

But not by much.

I got so ticked off that I began to exaggerate for realsies: “Germans are a much larger ethnic group than the English.” (When you are outnumbered you begin to form a siege mentality and start bullshitting.) This turned out to be a fact that only one of them, the only American of the three, conceded might be true.

“But.” that one said, “you’ll have to admit that most of that occured after World War 2.”

“I’ll admit no such thing.”

“What??? Most of the ethnic growth in the big cities from the East occurred later in the century…”

“Like Pittsburgh where I’m from? Not true. Cities like Pittsburgh are more German and Polish than English and they shrunk. Most of the post-war growth occurred in areas like Los Angeles. Did you know before World War 2, San Francisco was a bigger city than L.A.?”

“Yeah, that’s because of Hollywood.”

“No, because of the military and the creation of suburbs.”

“Okay, I’ll give you that. Will you at least give me that the immigration occurred after World War One?”

“No, I won’t.”

He then walks away incredulous at my stupidity to grab another beer—joining the two others who had already decided I was nuts.

Note to Wikipedia: Fix your shit!

Between 1850 and 1930, about 5 million Germans emigrated to the United States with a peak in the years between 1881 and 1885, when a million Germans left Germany and settled mostly in the Midwest.

They need to change this because apparently three serious drunks should outweigh one bullshitting sober guy.

(Trust me, since it involved numbers, I’m as shocked as you the facts fell on my side.)

2 thoughts on “German America

  1. Yes, this is why Wilson had such a hard time selling the US on World War I. The main reason for the so-called special relationship between the US and UK is that UK investors bankrolled most of the US’ economic expansion in the 19th century, from railroads to factories to buildings.

    Another interesting factoid – in his youth Benjamin Franklin published a number of overtly racist anti-German screeds. He thought the Germans who had just started pouring into Pennsylvania would not assimilate because good English girls would not want to marry “swarthy” Germans…

    Another reason why SF was larger than LA is that LA was originally a white bread city, SF was the city that embraced immigration, most of it driven by the Gold Rush.

  2. @Fazal: I got the impression that Wilson wanted the U.S. to enter the war in order to have a place at the table when peace came—visions of America as a world leader via the League of Nations. The choice of Britain seems obvious: with the British fleet clogging shipping lanes, and British heavily in war debt to the United States, it would have be logistically impossible to wage war allied with the Central powers.

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