Causes of German emigration to the New World
German American Day
2. German Names
3. German Influence on American Food
4. German Influence on American Drinks
5. German Influence on America’s Automobile Industry
6. Oktoberfest in America
7. America’s German VIPs
8. German Christmas Traditions in America
9. German-American Barbie doll
10. America’s most German-American town
There are multiple reasons why I’ve decided to approach this theme. It was definitely a topic that offered me freedom of choice and numerous directions of investigation, a topic that at the same time allowed me to make a good documented presentation, because of the plenty of information I was able to find, but above all the theme was of highly interest to me. I love German culture, civilization and language and this was a great opportunity to learn about things I didn’t know too much about.
Therefore I was very interested to find out about the great impact Germans had on a country like America, where it is quite hard for a civilization to stand out, considering the cultural diversity that exists there.
Cause of German emigration
We may well ask, why people abandoned such a glorious land and emigrated to far distant countries of which they knew nothing and where their future was uncertain?
In history we find the answer.
The reformation, initiated by Luther, resulted, unfortunately, in conflict among religious creeds and was followed by the most overwhelming calamity that ever befell any country. Beginning in 1618 and lasting till 1648, the so-called Thirty Years' War swept over Germany like a hurricane, ruining it beyond recognition. Hundreds of cities and villages were burned by Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch and Swedish soldiers, who made Germany their battleground. Of the 17 million inhabitants of Germany 13 millions were killed or swept away through starvation and the pest. It was during those dreadful years that Alsace and Lorraine, two of the richest countries of Germany, were stolen by France.
The terrors of all these calamities were not forgotten, when, at the end of the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries, the "most Christian king" Louis XIV. Of France ordered his generals to raid the countries along the Rhine and to make them one vast desert.
In obeying this cruel command the French armies destroyed everything that had survived the ravages of the Thirty Years' War. Dozens of cities were laid in ashes.
Besides such calamities, many German countries suffered from oppression by their own princes, who tried to ape the splendor of the court of Louis XIV., and indulged in brilliant festivals, the cost of which had to be borne by the people.
In 1756 the long suffering inhabitants of Germany were overrun again by the furies of war, when France, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Saxony and Austria sought to divide the kingdom of Frederick the Great.
The desperate struggle, then ensuing, is known as the Seven Years' War. Only 42 years later it was followed by the onslaught of that monstrous adventurer Napoleon I., by whom Germany was humiliated as never before. The whole country was subjected to systematic plundering. The imperial crown of Germany was trodden into the dust. The German states were torn apart and given by Napoleon as presents to his favorites, who made the German cities resound with gay life, at the burghers' expense.
Under the burden of all these sufferings many inhabitants of Germany despaired of a future in their native country and resolved to emigrate to America, hoping that there they would enjoy not only better material existence, but also freedom of worship.
The report, that William Penn had thrown open his grant of land, Pennsylvania, as a place of refuge to all who suffered persecution on account of their religious faith, served as a special inducement for many Germans, to emigrate to that part of the New World.
WALZ, JOHN A. German Influence in American Education and Culture
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