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Degrees of Allegiance

Petra DeWitt

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-7

During the early spring in 1918, Fritz Monat, a forty-two-year-old coal miner from Staunton, Illinois, was visiting family near St. Thomas in Cole County, Missouri. For several days, primarily during stops at taverns in Jefferson City, he boasted about having been born in Germany and expressed the hope that his birth country would win the Great War. A “Committee...

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Chapter 1: American yet German

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pp. 8-34

Carl Schurz, one of the most famous German immigrants who called Missouri his home for several years, said in a speech before the United States Senate that he and other German immigrants who came to America to begin a new life should not “entirely forget their old fatherland.” He was “proud to be an American,” but he did not believe he should be “ashamed of being a son...

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Chapter 2: Divided Opinions and Growing Suspicions

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pp. 35-54

On the eve of the Great War, Missourians did not yet perceive German- Americans as the enemy within. The American neutrality period from August 1914, the beginning of the conflict in Europe, to April 1917, American entry into the global war, began to transform that mind-set. British propaganda, popular support for the Allies, the presidential campaign in 1916, and the...

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Chapter 3: "No Time for Slackers”

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pp. 55-83

On April 5, 1917, one day before Congress declared war on Germany, Missouri Governor Frederick D. Gardner announced that “this is no time for slackers, copperheads, or soft pedalists. If there are any such among us, it is our duty to drive them out and brand them as traitors.” One year later, during a Third Liberty Loan campaign speech on April 8, 1918, he asserted...

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Chapter 4: From the “Most American City” to Seeing German Ghosts Everywhere

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pp. 84-110

Newspaper headlines such as “The Alien Enemy Problem,” “Plot to Invade U.S. Is Bared,” and “U.S. Discovers Spies Work in St. Louis Cafes” taught St. Louisans to fear the German enemy as early as March 1917. As a major metropolitan area in the Midwest, St. Louis possessed the necessary transportation and communication links to larger eastern centers and thus had ready access...

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Chapter 5: Resisting Interference in Daily Life

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pp. 111-132

Rose Sophia Rippstein was what the leaders of the Missouri Council of Defense defined as the embodiment of the patriotic spirit during the Great War. She tirelessly traveled throughout Gasconade County to teach women how to conserve food, assisted her husband in his function as county chairman of the Liberty Loan in 1917 by selling war bonds, volunteered for the...

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Chapter 6: Superpatriotism in Action

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pp. 133-152

During the late evening hours of July 7, 1918, several young men in Chamois, Osage County, forced Erwin Walz, the son of a German preacher, to salute and kiss the American flag because he had made derogatory remarks about the local Home Guard unit and stated “God damn the Flag, to hell with it!” The incident soon turned into a serious brawl as supporters for Walz...

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Conclusion: Becoming Americans of German Heritage on Their Own Terms

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pp. 153-168

This examination of the roots of aggression and the meaning of loyalty during the First World War in Missouri addresses three main themes. The first aims to understand the German-American experience during the war and whether it was uniform. The second takes the German-American perspective and evaluates the reaction of German-Americans to the calls for patriotism. The...


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pp. 169-230


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pp. 231-248


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pp. 249-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444191

Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • German Americans -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • German Americans -- Missouri -- History -- 20th century.
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Missouri.
  • Germans -- Missouri -- History -- 20th century.
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- German-Americans.
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