Tarred and Feathered, Lynched in the Street, and Locked up in Internment Camps

A fascinating collection of photos have resurfaced showing the hardships faced by German-Americans at the brutal height of the First World War.

As Europe was ravaged by fighting, German immigrants in the US suffered harassment, internment, lynchings – and even the humiliation of being tarred and feathered.

Although a little-remembered part of history today, America was wracked by the fear and paranoia that swept from coast to coast during the Great War.

The United States declared war on Germany in April 1917 and helped lead the Allies to victory. But before that, many Americans were terrified of the German threat growing on the other side of the world.

This collection of pictures reveals the full extent of war hysteria and open hostility towards all things German that erupted across the nation.

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Before the war broke out, America had welcomed German immigrants and regarded them highly. German was the second most widely spoken language in the country and there were over 100 million first and second-generation German-Americans living in the United States, with many of them involved in the thousands of German organizations across the country.

The United States embraced them and the German language became an established part of the high school curriculum.

But when the war broke out and Germany became the enemy of the Allies abroad, the American government began calling on its people to reject their German-American neighbors.

President Woodrow Wilson declared that German-Americans were to be treated as ‘alien-enemies’ and that they should reject their German identity if they were to be accepted in US society.

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