Date of Award
Master of Science
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
It was a time when sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage" and hamburger became "liberty steak." Berlin, Iowa, started calling itself Lincoln, Iowa, and scores of people filled court houses across the country to have their German surnames changed to "more patriotic and American" names. All aspects of German culture were frowned upon by loyal patriots of the red, white and blue: things that were once a great source of pride for German-Americans suddenly became a source of shame. America's participation in World War I sparked a period of national paranoia, hysteria and violence--the likes of which America would not see again until the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. For America's German population, the war caused them to endure years of divided loyalties, misunderstandings and persecution. Hyphenism became a buzz word that emphasized the hyphen between "German-Americans," and it implied a divided loyalty that was frowned upon by those fortunate enough to be "100 per cent" American. President Woodrow Wilson explained it by saying that "some Americans need hyphens in their names because only part of them came over" when they left the Fatherland for America. Shortly afler the United States entered the conflict, German-Americans found themselves the objects of intense scrutiny.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu
Lucinda Lee Stephenson
Stephenson, Lucinda Lee, "Scapegoats, slackers and spies: the portrayal of Germany, Germans and German-Americans by three eastern Iowa newspapers during World War I " (1985). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 298.