Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Committee Director

Elizabeth Zanoni

Committee Member

John Weber

Committee Member

Brett Bebber

Abstract

When the Great War broke out in the summer of 1914, many German Americans living in the United States expressed renewed support and loyalty for Germany in the German-language press. While scholars have thoroughly examined the collective experiences and sentiments of German Americans in the U.S. during World War I, particularly in their press, German-American women and their press have remained largely underrepresented. Notably, however, as evidenced by the largest nationally circulated monthly women’s journal of the time, Die Deutsche Hausfrau (The German Housewife), German-American women did indeed use their press as well to convey increasingly pro-German rhetoric in support of their “old homeland” through their letters to the editor. Readers’ letters reveal that they expressed their support for Germany in two distinct ways: by embracing and sharing in the politics of the war and by advocating for the importance of the multiple facets of their German heritage, such as language, homeland, relatives, and culture. Through this use of the press to express themselves, readers strengthened their role as active members of their local and international communities, merged their private and public spheres, and reinforced ties to their German cultural and political identity. Although the legislative restrictions placed on the press after the U.S. joined the war shifted the pro-German and transnational tone of the magazine to focus more on American interests in the war, Die Deutsche Hausfrau continued to emphasize the role of German-American women in society and their contributions to their communities.

ISBN

9780438022065

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