The article How German is American? introduces the history of the German-American identities and how the lifestyles of the German-speaking immigrants affected and been affected by the American groups.
Talking about the beginning of building communities in America, the author mentions that the Turner Movement had a great impact on the development of American gymnastics, as a sport and a formalized program at public schools. With the introduction of gymnastics, the Turner societies had created athletic, cultural, and social organizations throughout the country. This was the first step for Germans to bring in their own traditions and ideas into the American societies. Within the Turners, there were some Freethinkers, who promoted the idea of liberalism and supported lots of revolutionary thoughts such as improving working conditions and voting rights for women. It is obvious that the Turners have played an important role in creating and representing interesting, vibrant, and political culture in the United States, especially in Milwaukee which was once known as the city of “German Athens of America.” From the history of the Turners, I think it is interesting to understand how the immigrants started to bring out their own culture to the American society and how some of their liberal ideas had influenced the United States as a whole, not just their own “German communities.”
Regarding the language aspect, the author introduces an American language known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. At first, I, like the author has pointed out, thought the word “Dutch” was a mistranslation of what we call “Deutsch.” However, it was indicated that the word was used to describe people who had both German and Netherlandic origins. In addition, the speakers of Pennsylvania Dutch were actually either Lutheran or German Reformed instead of the Amish, which people usually incorrectly assumed.
I think overall it is very interesting to understand the background of German immigrants and how they have settled down in the United States. The article has provided new insights into the ideas of “Germanness” and “Americanness” that I never thought of before. The last thing I want to mention is that even though the German immigrants have moved to the United States, they do not totally submerge in the American culture. Instead, they influence the American society in a special but positive way, yet accept and combine both cultures into their own identities.