Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-rpbls Total loading time: 0.361 Render date: 2022-06-27T22:17:38.645Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Book contents

5 - Different, But Not Out of This World: German Images of the United States Between Two Wars, 1871-1914

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2013

David E. Barclay
Affiliation:
Kalamazoo College, Michigan
Get access

Summary

In 1858 a young man in the Saarbrücken area wrote to his brother who worked in Pennsylvania as a coal miner:

Dear Peter, I must let you know that we were firmly decided to join you, but then there was very bad news from America everywhere, that everything had stopped and there was no work, me and my wife still want to go to America but you must write telling me exactly if we are to join you, and how it is now.

This quotation from a letter to a German emigrant in the United States and many similar ones reveal two points in our context. Whereas it is plausible to assume that a fair number of Germans had no image of America at all, since they either had no chance to learn about it or simply did not care, the letter writer quoted must have had such an image. But he and many others like him apparently felt that it was so vague or incomplete or contradictory that a truly vital decision could not be based on it. The missing keystone was the personal opinion of a relative who lived in America.

One may also infer that an image had an entirely different weight and quality for people seriously considering emigration from that of their contemporaries who did not. For the former, it was an existential proposition and the basis for a crucial decision; for the latter, it may have held some intellectual attraction, or entertainment value, or at most some enticement to social, political, or commercial action, but constituted neither a powerful magnet nor a potential threat to their previous and future existence. Whereas emigrants’ images of the United States is addressed here, more attention is paid to the less existential images of people who did not intend to emigrate.

Type
Chapter
Information
Transatlantic Images and Perceptions
Germany and America since 1776
, pp. 109 - 130
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1997

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
1
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×