People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. German Americans Part 3

About the German Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous German-Americans and more.


Interestingly, the prejudice subsided shortly after the war, and no lasting effects of the episode are now discernible. During W.W. II, German Americans suffered none of the discrimination that was directed at Japanese Americans. German Americans are generally very well off economically and have assimilated to a point of their own choosing.

German Americans are perhaps most often noted for their contribution to American science and technology, beginning with the participation of a number of immigrants in the development of such advances as the air brake, commercial use of electricity, and rocket propulsion and space exploration. However, their contribution to American culture has also been substantial. Germans brought with them a great love of singing and symphony music and organized a number of glee clubs and orchestras during the mid-1800s. At first these played to audiences made up primarily of other immigrants, but interest and appreciation increased over the years, particularly in symphony music. Indeed, what was originally organized as the Germania Orchestra is now known as the New York Philharmonic.

Germans were pioneers in a number of areas in the field of education, including the establishment of specialized physical education classes, the "children's garden," or kindergarten, and state support of schools. Germans also brought with them most of the customs America has adapted for the celebration of Christmas, including attending church, singing songs (such as "Stille Nacht," or "Silent Night"), and decorating an evergreen tree with festive ornaments.

Famous German Americans: Rocket expert Wernher von Braun; inventor George Westing-house; engineer John A. Roebling, the "father" of the Brooklyn Bridge; treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr.; playwright Bertolt Brecht; painter Max Ernst; architects Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; conductor Otto Klemperer; writer Thomas Mann; theologian Paul Tillich; and former presidential aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, who served during the Nixon administration.

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