[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Attitudes to German society ca WWI

Jan Hemmings janhemmings at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 13 19:55:33 PDT 2013

Similar attitudes in Canada led cities to change their names. One such city
was Berlin, Ontario, which became Kitchener. I have taken the liberty to
quote the article from Wikipedia about this name change, as it is public
information, though we all know we should not use Wikipedia as a single

Jan Hemmings

> From: Helen Gillespie <hgillespie at rogers.com>
> Reply-To: Helen Gillespie <hgillespie at rogers.com>
> Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 19:41:10 -0700 (PDT)
> To: "Ger-Poland-Volhynia at sggee.org" <Ger-Poland-Volhynia at sggee.org>
> Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Attitudes to German society ca WWI
> I had the occasion to be searching in a local Ontario newspaper, the St.
> Thomas Times-Journal for July 16, 1919 and found this curious little item that
> I thought I would share.  I extracted it and had to research the person after.
> (note that this is just after World War I  - although I haven't figured out
> why it was in a small town Canadian newspaper, although this and other issues
> of the paper were full of post war politics and military matters in Europe and
> elsewhere)
> "Extracted from the St. Thomas Times-Journal, Wed. July 16, 1919, p. 6, col. 5
> Wants Ban on German Language in the United States
> Senator Myers wants to stamp out the German language in the United States.  He
> believes that a long step in that direction can be done by prohibiting
> admission to the mails of any German printed matter.  As a result, he has
> introduced a bill in the Senate making it unlawful to deliver by mail any book
> or other printed matter which is printed in the German language.  He makes it
> the duty of the Postmaster General and all other officials and employees of
> the Post Office Department to enforce the provisions of this Bill.  Any
> official or employed failing to do so shall be liable to a fine of not less
> than $100 or imprisonment for not less than one year or both.  The same bill
> makes it unlawful for any person to mail any literature printed in German.  A
> violation of one section calls for a punishment of not less than $500 or
> imprisonment for not less than 5 years or both."
> I guess the Bill didn't pass.  This senator - according to Wikipedia and the
> U.S. Senate history - was a lawyer and a judge from Montana named Fred L.
> Myers who served  as a Democrat in both the Montana Senate (1899-1903) and the
> U.S. Senate (1911-1923) then an assoc. judge of the Supreme Court of Montana.
> Another tidbit I found that it was only days before that President Woodrow
> Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles (from the end of WWI) in the U.S.
> Senate. 
>  Senator Myers must have been a tough judge, based on this Bill, but then
> there were many such attitudes during both world wars. And so many a German
> immigrant family buried their past, their language in order to blend into the
> American melting pot.
> I know there were similar attitudes in Canada.
> Helen
> ---------------------------------
> The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a
> parent of the future.
> --Herbert Spencer
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