Changing attitudes of the German-Americans in Texas toward Deutschtum and the fatherland



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The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how the attitudes and feelings of the German-Americans in Texas evolved in the interwar period. This was principally accomplished through a comparative study of all of the major Texas German-American newspapers of the period.The German-Americans have been asignificant part of the population of Texas since 1834 when the first German settlement was established on Texas soil. With the founding of more settlementsand the sponsorship of German colonization programs, there were even hopes of creating a German state within the United States. This was only part of a spirit known as Deutschtum, which had followed German immigrants wherever they went. Germans continued to maintain a love of the Fatherland, the German language,the German Church. The German song and dance, and the German press. This study reveals the conflict between two loyalties, for the German-Americans were forced to choose between their love of Deutschtum and the Fatherland on one hand, and their love for their nearly adopted homeland on the other. TheGerman-language press revealed the attitudes of the German-Americans of Texas to the Hitler regime and showed how those attitudes changed as the policies of the Third Reich became clear. This study revealed that there was indeed a Nazi presence in Texas during this period. The Nazis sought to unite the Germans of Texas but instead only added to the many differences which had already existed. The National Socialist threat was never as great as it might havebeen had the First World War not already diminished the power of Deutschtum. If Deutschtum had been stronger and more nationalistic, the National Socialists might have had more success with their plans to establish a fifth column in the Texas area, but ultimately they failed to win the support of theGerman-American community, which was vital to the Nazis goal of Weltdeutschtum.The conclusion of this study was that the German-American had always regarded Germany as his spiritual home but during the First World War had been forced to choose between his loyalty to the Fatherland and his loyalty to the United States. Deutschtum, however, still remained a significant force, and it was not until the Second World War that the German-American made his final decision. He disavowed any political connection with Germany and threw in his lot with that of his adopted home.



German language--Texas., German newspapers--Texas.