Americans All!: Foreign-born Soldiers in World War I by Nancy Gentile Ford

By Nancy Gentile Ford

During the 1st international warfare, approximately part one million immigrant draftees from forty-six diversified countries served within the U.S. military. This surge of outdated global squaddies challenged the yankee military's cultural, linguistic, and spiritual traditions and required army leaders to re-evaluate their education tools for the foreign-born troops. How did the U.S. battle division combine this different team right into a united scuffling with strength? The warfare division drew at the reviews of revolutionary social welfare reformers, who labored with immigrants in city payment homes, they usually listened to business potency specialists, who hooked up strive against functionality to morale and body of workers administration. probably most importantly, the army enlisted the aid of ethnic neighborhood leaders, who assisted in education, socializing, and Americanizing immigrant troops and who stressed the army to acknowledge and meet the real cultural and spiritual wishes of the ethnic squaddies. those neighborhood leaders negotiated the Americanization procedure via selling patriotism and loyalty to the U.S. whereas protecting key ethnic cultural traditions. delivering a thrilling examine an unexplored quarter of army historical past, americans All! Foreign-born infantrymen in global battle I constitutes a piece of particular curiosity to students within the fields of army historical past, sociology, and ethnic reports. Ford's study illuminates what it intended for the U.S. army to reexamine early twentieth-century nativism; rather than forcing infantrymen right into a melting pot, conflict division regulations created an environment that made either American and ethnic delight applicable. throughout the warfare, a German officer commented at the ethnic range of the yank military and famous, with a few amazement, that those ''semi-Americans'' thought of themselves to be ''true-born sons in their followed country.'' The officer used to be fallacious on one count number. The immigrant squaddies weren't ''semi-Americans''; they have been ''Americans all!''

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The German and Irish communities in particular joined forces to try and keep the United States out of the war and attempted to use ethnic political power to force the nation into abiding by international laws of neutrality. For immigrants from southern and eastern Europe (Czechs, Slovaks, Jews, Poles, and others), the American entrance into the war offered the hope of independence for their homelands. ” But many times these expressions entwined symbols and rhetoric of American patriotism with ethnic cultural pride and homelandliberation agendas.

Wilson responded with “heartfelt appreciation” and encouraged nationwide “Independence Day” celebrations designed to show unity, loyalty, and patriotism, and many cities responded by hosting “Americanization Day” events. The New York Herald reported that all over the nation, foreign-born Americans planned Fourth of July celebrations with parades, mass meetings, pageants, and speeches. ”25 Another Fourth of July broadside, printed in Philadelphia and designed to copy the Declaration of Independence, expressed the loyalty of twenty- 26 AMERICANS ALL!

Czech and Slovak women gathered together to knit sweaters and other warm clothing for soldiers fighting in Europe. These ethnic sewing “bees” later joined the American Red Cross efforts as auxiliary groups. As early as April , , the Bohemian National Alliance addressed members through some fifty ethnic newspapers: “We want to impress upon all members of the Bohemian National Alliance the duties which war lays upon all citizens of the country. ”36 Czech and Slovak leaders mixed the symbols and rhetoric of American patriotism with cultural pride in their efforts to recruit immigrant soldiers for the American Army.

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