May 12, 2015
History of German Heritage My heritage comes from strong German roots and while I have different heritage slightly mixed in from both sides of my family, I am still predominately German. I have a little bit of Irish, Polish, English and Indian (Choctaw) mixed into my family lineage but for the most part I am 85% German lineage. When I think of German heritage there are a few things that come to my mind and probably come up in other’s minds that may not be German. I think of Oktoberfest and beer and sausage, I think of the sweebok that my grandma makes, and my uncles German Sausage recipe that he used for his business. There are some negative thoughts of German Heritage with World War I and the Holocaust, but there are a lot more to German culture and heritage than these few things. While thousands of people from Germany have migrated over to America in the past couple hundred years there is also documentation to show that they were some of the first to colonize here along with the English settlers. The history of German – American relations shows us that Germans began immigrating into the United States around the 17th Century and continued well into the 19th Century, but the part that I found interesting it that they stated the German American immigration was the highest rate of any other countries immigration to the U.S. at that time. While English settlers arrived in Jamestown in 1607, the first German settlers arrived in 1608. German’s were present from the beginning and established a permanent residence in 1683 with the town declared Germantown because of its predominant German population with was located near Philadelphia. As long as the English settlers have been here, so have the German Immigrants. When the word got back to Germany about these first few German immigrants who made it to this new land, the number of immigrants drastically increased. The appealing thing about this new land was that they would have religious freedom along with the freedom to build a life and perform their craft or trade how they wanted to in this new land. Many of the Germans at this time were protestant and the thought of religious freedom was very appealing as many German immigrants migrated to Pennsylvania. A little fun fact is that most of the beer brewers in the 1800’s migrated over to America because they were seeking better land for their crops and found that America had more variety and better soil to make beer. This is still a big influence of the type and variety of different beers that we still enjoy today. The largest Beer brewer in the world today Anheuser-Busch was started in St. Louis, Missouri by Adolphus Busch in 1860 who was a German immigrant. There is also a bit of a black eye on German heritage with World War I and World War II. There was much racism and discrimination against German Americans Living in the United States at that time. German Americans at that time who were accused of being “Pro – German” were beaten and German business owners had their businesses and homes vandalized. The German names of towns, food, music, literature were all changed during that time period, and much of German education was removed. Many Americans were assimilating German Americans to Adolph Hitler during that time and many German Americans were discriminated against because of this. Reading back about the German American immigrants made me think to current times and in my lifetime a tragic event was the terrorist attack on 9/11 and it made me think about how many Muslim Americans have been discriminated against because of those terrorist attacks and had no relation what so ever, but were still discriminated against none the less.
German Culture Germany is right in the heart of Europe and centrally located geographically. Germany also has Europe’s second largest population with more than 81 million people living in Germany. The German Economy ranks in at the largest within