"Born German, Made American" by Nicholas Kumanoff in The Atlantic Times, reveals how "to prove their patriotism, immigrants abandoned their old identities." Following "a virulent anti-German sentiment" that spread to several states, German language classes in school were banned, German books burned in the streets, frankfurters became hot dogs and sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage."
Anyone with a German name was suspect and subject to harassment. The American Defense Society announced that a German-American, "unless known by years of association to be absolutely loyal, should be treated as a potential spy."
This reminds me of how when I was 18 I told my Grandma Vivian Hoover I was going to the German-American Festival. I was visiting Grandpa and Grandma (Arthur and Vivian Hoover) on our farm in Risingsun, Ohio. She said, "Why are you going? You're not German." I said our name was German (even though it's been Anglicized). She snapped, "You're English. Your grandfather has a parent of pure English heritage" and something to the effect that her family also had such English ties (and we're clearly traced to England and Ireland, as well as Scotland on my mother's side). I replied that you didn't have to be German to attend the German-American Festival anyway.
My Grandfather Arthur Hoover's mother, Hattie Mervin, was born in England. My great-great grandfather, John Mervin, came to the United States a year before his wife and children rejoined him (after being shipwrecked three times en route).
I brought this incident up to my great Aunt, Neva Scoviac, Grandma Hoover's sister, during a visit to her home in Hudson, Michigan several years ago (Grandma died in 1980) and she said we're German. Grandma and Aunt Neva's maiden name is Ort - Pennsylvania Dutch - German. (I vaguely remember Grandma saying something about the Pennsylvania Dutch a long time ago, but then I thought it just meant Dutch - not Deutsche).
Aunt Neva served as a nurse during WWII and her brothers, my great uncles, served in the Philippines. Aunt Neva said after the war, especially when "we heard all the horrible stories" about what went on during the war, the Holocaust, you didn't want to be known as German or associated with Germany. She feels that's why Grandma was so adamant that we are English.
As one who believes in the Israelite origins of the West, the Hebrew roots of the Anglo-Saxons and white peoples of Northwestern Europe, I can see the hand of God in this disassociation from Gentile Germany. I can perceive Divine Providence playing its prophetic part in having sifted the Israelite tribes, specifically Manasseh the son of Joseph, through Germany and separating us from those who truly are Assyrian-Germans, literally distancing us from those Germans who remained behind, bringing us into this Promised Land of the United States, taking on a new identity, an American one, actually restoring our identity as Manasseh with our brethren - the "Lost Ten Tribes" - who emigrated from other countries where they had sojourned, through great works as The United States and Britain in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong.
May God bless the United States of America, the biblical inheritance of the Tribe of Manasseh. And may God bless Germany to work with us (not against us) as they lead the European Union.
David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out the Beyond Babylon blog.