On October 2nd, 1987, President Ronald Reagan, in a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House signed the first proclamation into law which made October 6th, National German American Day. This day is celebrated every year and calls the attention of the American people to the many contributions German Americans have made to America in over 300 years in this country.
“Our citizens of German descent excel in every discipline and open our minds to the expanses of human possibility. When we drive across a suspension bridge, listen to music played on a Steinway piano or send a child to Kindergarten, their unique traditions and customs surround us. German Americans have influenced our Nation in myriad ways with their industry, culture, and engagement in public life. America is a stronger Nation because of those families who have established longstanding roots in our country, as well as by those who have recently emigrated from abroad. German immigrants, inhabiting every major city, have given much of themselves throughout our history, selflessly expanding the reach of the American Dream.”
Some fun facts.
Only five years after its founding, in 1683, Germantown became the birthplace of the anti-slavery movement in America.
German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller (1470-1520), who in 1507 drew the Universalis cosmographia was the first to use the name “America” after Amerigo Vespucci on a map. Hailing from Florence Vespucci worked for Lorenzo de’ Medici and was sent to Seville Spain branch of the Medici bank. From where he was invited by the king of Portugal to participate in several voyages. As a trader he was wanted to find a quicker way to Asia, however he was one of the first explorer suggesting that this might be a new world, that is not part of Asia. Upon the return of his travels, he published two accounts.
From those accounts Waldseemüller named the new world on his maps from the feminized Latin version of Amerigo Vespucci’s first name.
Today we live in the United States of America.
German-American architect John A. Roebling who designed the Brooklyn Bridge.
Journalistic standards set by publisher Joseph Pulitzer.
Authors Dr. Seuss, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck. L. Frank Baum or Sylvia Plath.
Movie Stars: Hillary Duff, Sandra Bullock, Sarah Chalke, Elijah Wood.
Presidential Proclamation — German-American Day, 2011 (The White House)
Thu, 06 Oct 2011 21:11:00 +0000
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As a Nation of immigrants, America has been shaped and strengthened by the millions who have come to our shores seeking a better future. German men and women were among the first to have made the perilous journey across the Atlantic to seize the promise of the American dream. The same spirit that guided intrepid settlers to help establish Jamestown, Virginia, and found Germantown, Pennsylvania, is reflected in the indelible contributions to our common culture that we celebrate today.
Today, nearly one quarter of all Americans trace their ancestry to Germany, and many familiar American traditions — from Christmas trees to kindergarten — have German origins. German descendants have fundamentally and positively shaped the course of American history. From the wheels of labor and the fields of sport, to the halls of power and throughout our society, generations of German Americans have helped make America what it is today.
The bonds of friendship and trust between the United States and Germany continue to enrich both our nations. Our partnership is more important than ever, and it remains indispensable to global security and prosperity. As we observe German-American Day, we celebrate how far we have come together and remember the lasting legacy that past pioneers have bestowed onto us.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 6, 2011, as German-American Day. I encourage all Americans to learn more about the history of German Americans and to commemorate the many contributions they have made to our Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
A German-American Chronology – combined by Max Kaade Institute
1608 Some Germans accompany Captain John Smith, founder of Jamestown, VA
1618 Thirty Years’ War devastates Germany; the country disintegrates into numerous independent principalities
1626 The Rhinelander Peter Minuit (Minnewit) — director of the Dutch colony-purchases Manhattan from the Indians and builds Ft. New Amsterdam
1633 First publication in Germany encouraging emigration to America
1638 Peter Minuit founds the New Sweden colony
1661 Georg Hack from Cologne settles in Maryland
1668 Researcher and explorer Johann Lederer from Hamburg arrives
1670 Hudson Bay Co. founded with Prince Ruprecht as governor
1676 Nikolaus de Meyer from Hamburg becomes Mayor of New York
1683 Mennonites and Quakers arrive on the “Concord”and found Germantown, PA with Francis Daniel Pastorius as their leader / Vienna defended against Turkish invasion
1688 Germantown’s Pastorius pens first protest against slavery
1689 French armies push toward Rhine and burn Heidelberg castle
1691 British execute Frankfurt-born Jacob Leisler, first elected governor of New York and champion of American independence
1709 First mass emigration from the Palatinate (Pfalz)
1710 650 Palatines and Swiss settle at New Bern, NC
1720 Augsburg and Marienthal founded in Louisiana
1728 Seventh-Day Adventists under Conrad Beissel build Ephrata Cloisters in Pennsylvania
1732 The “Philadelphische Zeitung” (newspaper) appears
1733 Schwenkfelders from Silesia arrive in Pennsylvania
1734 Salzburg Protestants come to Georgia
1735 Printer John Peter Zenger’s acquittal — landmark victory for freedom of the press / Moravians (Herrnhuters) under Count Zinzendorf settle in Georgia
1736 Moravians found Bethlehem,Nazareth, and Lititz, PA
1739 “Germantauner Zeitung” publ. by Christopher Saur / Conrad Beissel at Ephrata publ. first hymnal in America
1741 President Eisenhower’s ancestor-Hans N. Eisenhauer-arrives
1743 First Bible printed in America by Christopher Saur-in German
1764 German Society for the Protection of Immigrants in Philadelphia
1768 Barbara Heck, German-lrish, founds first Methodist church in New York
1772 Pennsylvania Germans (“Dutchmen”) form their own militias / Moravians found Schoenbrunn mission in Ohio
1776 The Great American Revolution / Braunschweiger and Hessian troops land in Quebec (and introduce the decorated Christmas tree to North America); more than 10,000 remained in America
1777 Gen. von Steuben trains American army / Molly Pitcher (Maria Ludwig) fights in several battles / Christopher Ludwig is the army’s director of baking / Major F. von Heer commands Gen. Washington’s German body-guards / Gen. Nicholas Herkimer and the Germans of the Mohawk Valley defeat the British at Oriskan
1779 Gen. von Steuben writes first handbook for U.S. Army
1783 First German brass band founded in Philadelphia
1784 Johann Jacob Astor arrives and becomes richest American / German Society for the Protection of Immigrants founded in New York
1786 Prussia’s Frederick the Great recognizes the independent USA
1804 The Harmonists under George Rapp arrive in Pennsylvania. Their Indiana settlement, Neu Harmonie (1814- 824), becomes the economic “Wonder of the West”
1806 Defeated by Napoleon, The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation ceases to exist 1807 Martin Baum, riverboat pioneer on the Ohio and Mississippi, becomes mayor of Cincinnati
1815 Boston’s Germans found Handel and Haydn Society / Napoleon defeated by British and Prussian forces
1817 Joseph Baumeler and his German separatists found the Zoar commune in Ohio
1819 The Passenger Act by Congress ends redemptioner trade
1820 Joseph Heister becomes Governor of Pennsylvania
1823 First all-German singing society founded in Cincinnati
1825 German introduced at Harvard University / Harmonists build their third town, Old Economy, now part of Ambridge, PA
1827 Francis Lieber from Berlin begins editing the Encyclopaedia Americana in Boston
1829 Gomried Duden’s published travel report encourages thousands of Germans to America, esp. Missouri
1835 The Giessen-Society aims at a “New German Fatherland” in America; this and similar attempts failed / Philadelphia Maennerchor founded
1836 Hermann, MO founded; its wines gain national recognition
1837 Pennsylvania publishes laws and governors’ messages also in German
1840 German Lutherans found Concordia College, Ft. Wayne, IN / First “Volksfest” celebrated in Richmond, VA
1842 William Bouck (Bauk) becomes Governor of New York
1843 German Inspirationists settle near Buffalo and later move to Amana, IA
1844 German aristocrats found the “Mainzer Adelsverein”for settlement in Texas. They build New Braunfels and Fredericksburg
1845 First German Workers Organization founded in New York City
1847 Lutheran Missouri Synod organized, C.F.W. Walther, president
1848 The German Revolution for “unity, justice and freedom” / J.J. Astor donates $400,000 for the Astor Public Library in New York City / New York’s Germania Orchestra founded / Cincinnati Turnverein founded
1849 Arrival of “Forty-Eighters” after the failed democratic revolution in Germany / First national “Saengerfest” of the North American Singers Union in Cincinnati / J.A. Sutter loses his land and fortune in the California gold rush
1850 Wilhelm Weitling and Hermann Kriege found the “Bund der Arbeiter” (Workers’ League) / Levi Strauss produces first jeans
1853 Heinrich Steinweg creates the Steinway piano in New York
1854 221,253 German immigrants arrive in this peak year
1856 Mrs. Carl Schurz establishes first American Kindergarten in Watertown, Wl
1859 Abraham Lincoln acquires the “Illinois Staatsanzeiger” paper and struggles through German grammar
1861 The Civil War (1861-65) / German-American militia safeguard Missouri for the Union / Julius Sturges brings first pretzel on the market in Lititz, PA
1862 Homestead Act / Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. Attack on the German Turner town of New Ulm, MN
1865 Union army volunteers born in Germany numbered 5,000; 41 reached the rank of Major General / Young Count Zeppelin spent some time as a balloon observer
1866 After Prussia’ victory over its archrival, Austria is no longer a member state of the German Federation / Adolf Pfannenschmidt from Rinteln founds Pfannenschmidtstadt-better known today as Hollywood!
1867 America’s first Socialist party formed in New York City
1870 San Antonio, TX is 50% German / The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71); Chancellor Otto von Bismarck unites German states in the “Second Reich” (1871-1918)
1872 Brewers Philip Best, Valentin Blatz, Franz Falk,Frederick Miller, Jacob Obermann, Frederick Pabst, Joseph Schlitz and others make Milwaukee the leading beer exporter
1873 Bismarck’s 14-year “Kulturkampf”-power struggle with Catholicism over control of education, civil marriage, and church appointments-motivates Catholic emigration
1877 Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior (187781)
1878 Bismarck’s Socialist Law leads to wave of Social Democrat emigration / “New Yorker Volkszeitung” becomes organ of Socialist-Labor party
1880 Wisconsin has more German-Americans than any other state / 25 breweries in Cincinnati
1882 250,630 German immigrants-more than in any other year
1883 15,000 German Mennonites from Russia settle in Kansas / Brooklyn Bridge opens — built by the Roeblings
1884 Ottmar Mergenthaler revolutionizes type-setting
1886 The Haymarket Riots in Chicago lead to arrest and execution of radical socialist editor August Spies of the “Arbeiter Zeitung”
1888 Some 800 German-language publications represent more than 50% of America’s foreign language press
1893 Hesse-born John PeterAltgeld becomes Governor of Illinois
1901 The National German-American Alliance founded
1904 St. Louis Germans bring the “hamburger” on the market
1910 German-Americans developed 672,000 farms on a total area of 100,000,000 acres (an estimate)
1914 WW I begins in Europe. Pres.Wilson issues proclamations of neutrality / Frederick Weyerhaeuser, German-born lumber king, dies. His fortune: $300,000,000
1915 A German-American, Irish-American Alliance formed to keep the US out of the war
1917 The US enters the conflict. Anti-German hysteria throughout the country; German-language instruction ends in most states; hundreds of German-language publications cease to exist; many a Schmidt changes to Smith
1918 End of WW l; the imperial “Second Reich” ends / National German-American Alliance dissolved
1919 Germany’s “Weimar Republic” founded / German instruction banned in Indiana and Nebraska / Steuben Society founded
1920 Prohibition until 1933
1921 First Quota Law Limits immigration
1923 Supreme Court rules prohibiting German in schools unconstitutional / Charles P Steinmetz, GE’s wizrd of electricity, dies / Inflation rocks young German republic / Hitler arrested after failing to seize power in Munich
1928 Herbert Hoover (Huber) elected — first president of German ancestry
1929 “Black Friday” on New York Stock Exchange leads to worldwide depression / baseball stars Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Frank Frisch. . . of German descent
1933 Hitler appointed “Reichskanzler.” Beginning of mass exodus of Jewish and non-Jewish intellectuals and artists from Nazi Germany, including Bauhaus members
1934 The Steuben Society and most German-Americans oppose Nazi movement in the USA / the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation (National Carl Schurz Association) publishes the “American-German Review” and assists refugees from Germany
1936 The German-American Bund (Deutsch-Amerikanischer Volksbund) with Fritz Kuhn as “Fuehrer,” a Nazi organization
1937 The American Nazi Party claims 200,000 members
1939 Fritz Kuhn jailed for misappropriation of Bund funds / Hitler starts WW II with his Blitzkrieg against Poland
1940 Most of the 114,058 Germans coming to the USA between 1931 and 1940 are opposed to, or escape from, Nazi tyranny
1941 Following Pearl Harbor, Hitler declares war on the USA
1942 Gen. Eisenhower commands US Forces in the European theater. Like “Ike,” Adm. Nimitz, Gen. Spaatz and others are also of German descent
1945 May 8, WW II in Europe ends with Germany’s unconditional surrender / CARE packages and other American assistance during post war hunger period in West Germany-a big help
1948 The Marshall Plan, in conjunction with currency reform, jump starts the German economy into the “economic miracle” of postwar recovery
1949 The Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic founded; Germany divided until 1990
1950 128,600 Germans immigrate
1952 Gen. Eisenhower elected President
1968 Society for German-American Studies established
1969 Wernher von Braun and other German-American scientists provide leadership for US space program and moon landing
1973 Fuerth-born Henry A. Kissinger becomes Secretary of State and receives Nobel Peace Prize
1976 US Bicentennial also marks beginning of “roots” awareness
1983 Tricentennial of German Immigration (landing of the “Concord” with 13 Krefeld families and founding of Germantown in 1683). German-American Day, Oct. 6, reinstated
1990 US Census: German-Americans are largest ethnic group / October 3, Germany reunited