German ancestry of U.S. combat personnel

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kacmarek
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German ancestry of U.S. combat personnel

Post by kacmarek » Fri May 04, 2007 7:43 am

Hi,
Always felt curious about this ... a large number of U.S. military personnel who fought in N.Africa/Europe would have had german ancestry - Eisenhower being the most well-known, but a perusal of the names itself is telling - Ziemke (56th FG CO) for example ..... at higher levels Nimitz/Spaatz and so on...

Did it cause any problems (e.g. morale/security/linkage with relatives still living in germany) etc ?
Have never seen it mentioned as a particular issue during WWII, though..


TIA,

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Post by Reb » Fri May 04, 2007 10:19 am

Wasn't a problem - except for some politicians and generals who occassionally complained that US soldiers did not "hate enough."

I prefer to take that as a compliment.

In a Napoleonic book by a Captain Blaze he talks about the German's remarkable ability to adapt and assimilate.

America as it was in those days combined a lot of Germans with a lot of Scotch / Irish and a potpouri of others. All pretty warlike despite Hitler's snide comments about us being a polyglot.

There had been a brief but ugly spate of anti-German feeling in America during the First World War which in fact caused my Lutheran Church some grief - many still held services in German. But it soon became apparent that the Germans in America considered themselves American and "Liberty Cabbage" went back to being saurkraut. (sort of reminds me of "freedom fries" - politicians - what a bunch of boneheads)

The same question was in fact raised about Italian American soldiers - the morale issue there was actually with the Italian troops, many of whom had cousins in Chicago or NY and didn't like fighting against them.

cheers
Reb

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Post by George Lepre » Fri May 04, 2007 7:37 pm

Hi All -

Reb is of course correct regarding Italian-Americans. My family is of Italian descent and our male family members fought against Italy without reservation during the Second World War.

Perhaps it would be fairest to say that while we maintain a cultural interest in Italy (and familial ties in some cases), our loyalty is bound to our adopted homeland, which has given us everything.

We're Americans now.

Best regards,

George

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sat May 05, 2007 10:52 am

There had been a brief but ugly spate of anti-German feeling in America during the First World War
....stirred up by none other than Woodrow Wilson operating through a couple of "deniable" fronts and organisations when trying to stir up public sentiment after the Lusitania.
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Post by Reb » Sat May 05, 2007 1:06 pm

Phylo

Wilson is the worst of American presidents in a field that includes Carter and Bush. His lie to the public about keeping us out of what was the First World War was disgraceful and immoral; his actions in getting us into the war were downright treasonous and set in motion a chain of events that led to an even worse war.

Wilson proves that one man really can make a difference. :(

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Reb

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Commissar D, the Evil
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Sat May 05, 2007 5:14 pm

Oddly--or perhaps, logically--I have to agree with Reb's post about Wilson.

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David
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Post by phylo_roadking » Sat May 05, 2007 5:51 pm

And yet - the rumours still persist of nefarious means in Wilson's death....once he started to use very "late-century" techniques in his politics - did someone pay him back in kind??? :wink:
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Post by Rajin Cajun » Sun May 06, 2007 12:51 pm

Just like JWB repaid Lincoln. :wink:
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US combat personnel og german heritage

Post by haen2 » Sun May 06, 2007 4:34 pm

And . . .Don't forget our illustrious General Eisenhower. I have his genealogy somewhere on my computer. He was of German / Jewish ancestry.
Why he was chosen over 30 better candidates as commander in chief is still a question.
He also was the one who chZnged the P.O.w. status of German army, to Defeated Enemy Forces, to withold the Geneva convention rights from them.HN
joined forum early spring of 2002 as Haen- posts: legio :-)

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think !

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun May 06, 2007 4:47 pm

Because he was a boring, personality-less [email protected] who could be guaranteed to fight the war on the battlefield and NOT in the newspapers??? :D :D :D
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Sun May 06, 2007 5:22 pm

Eisenhower was strictly a "political" general, not a "fighting" general. His job was to maintain a balance betweeen American, English and Russian interests! Which is why he stopped the Americans at the Elbe and supported Montgomery's "Bridge Too Far" campaign.

Don't mistake Eisenhower for anything but FDR's political tool...., I mean, he wasn't a Manstein or a Zhukov or a Patton, was he? :D :D :D

Best,
David
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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun May 06, 2007 5:25 pm

.....and the best tools have a dull, blunt edge so that they can be more easily controlled.... :D :D :D

Emphasis here on "Dull" and "Blunt". Eisenhower was certainly both. One wonders at his total lack of intellect--a perfect soldier, willing to enforce any order!!!

Certainly the German's had the same, but fewer. Imagine an Eisenhower on the Ostfront!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D

Best,
~D, the EviL
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Post by Reb » Mon May 07, 2007 5:14 am

Guys I have to say that over the last ten years I've modified my opinion of both Ike and Monty. (I'll save Monty for later - suffice to say I respect him a lot more than I ever did before)

Ike was given a job to do and he did it. Napoleon could have learned from him about how to keep a coalition together. He was politically naive but it was his job to soldier and yes, he was a tool of FDR (no complement in my opinion but its called chain of command). And no less a person than George Marshal considered him the best man for the job.

I've wargamed his broad front strategy and I'll say that Patton and Monty are full of crap. Broad front was the best way to stretch the meagre forces available to the Germans and utilize our superiority.

Yes - I regret his ability to keep Bradly from slaughter tens of thousands of our troops and I regret that he rarely had us concentrate massive force at the tactical level. But he was the one who kept his head during the battle of the Bulge.

And before someone dings me for the piss poor counter offensive in the Ardennes remember that Ike, like Monty, was a soldier who was all too aware that he was leading a non professional citizen army. he was not blind to the tactical opportunities - but his job was not only to win, but to not lose. And as his memoirs indicate he was well aware of the tactical dexterity of the German ground forces.

And now I shall don my flame proof underwear and pour a little cognac into my coffee! :D

cheers
Reb

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Post by Reb » Mon May 07, 2007 5:19 am

RC

John w. Booth caused the south great harm. As you know I consider Lincoln a tyrannical swine - but, and its a big one - he had a streak of kindness and decency. Had he been shot in '61 through '64 I'd stand up and cheer - for he was the guiding presence behind the aggression against the south.

But to kill him when there was nothing to gain from it? That was just murder. And it cost us much for it propelled the extremist radicals into power and led ultimately to a military occupation, carpet bagging and finally to Jim Crow. None of which really had to happen.

If you doubt my comment about Lincoln's essential decency (and I could understand it - given his fire and sword approach to war) look at his record of pardoning deserters. He asked his band to play Dixie when the yankees marched into Richmond. He would in my opinion, have put the country back together a whole let quicker than what in fact, transpired.

And now, I better take a trank - defending Lincoln makes me wonder if I've lost my mind! :wink:

cheers
Reb

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Post by panzermahn » Tue May 08, 2007 3:22 am

Commissar D, the Evil wrote:Eisenhower was strictly a "political" general, not a "fighting" general. His job was to maintain a balance betweeen American, English and Russian interests! Which is why he stopped the Americans at the Elbe and supported Montgomery's "Bridge Too Far" campaign.

Don't mistake Eisenhower for anything but FDR's political tool...., I mean, he wasn't a Manstein or a Zhukov or a Patton, was he? :D :D :D

Best,
David
Well, Eisenhower had the patronage of General Marshall and probably this patronage resulted in the meteorite rise of Eisenhower from a mere Lieutenant Colonel at the beginning of the war (1939) to a Supreme Allied Commander.

Eisenhower doesn't not really have the military talents like Patton, Bradley. The only talent Eisenhower had in his management skills of the Allies and managing primadonnas like Patton and Monty.

Well, Eisenhower himself never commands a field army and it would be interesting to see how he would manage a field army against the likes of von Manstein, Model, Kesselring, Heinrici.

Panzermahn

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