Welcome to 'Lost in the Myths of History'

It often seems that many prominent people of the past are wronged by often-repeated descriptions, which in time are taken as truth. The same is also true of events, which are frequently presented in a particular way when there might be many alternative viewpoints. This blog is intended to present a different perspective on those who have often been lost in the myths of history.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

American Support for Germany

I just came across this interesting article about Kaiser Wilhelm sending a portrait to a convent in the United States in 1913.

Kaiser Wilhelm portrait

Many people believe that, from the start, the majority of Americans were opposed to the Germans in the First World War but that isn’t the case at all. Until early 1917, there was huge support for Germany and a lot of ill-feeling towards Britain particularly since many American cities were populated by German immigrants, who had contributed a great deal to society (by, for example, introducing kindergartens and other novel ideas). When the British blockade prevented arms or supplies from reaching the Central Powers, one German U-boat managed to reach America where it was received with great acclaim! People greeted the sailors as heroes and rushed to give them supplies to take back to Germany. Even the sinking of the Lusitania failed to dampen the Americans’ support for the Central Powers but suddenly, following Woodrow Wilson’s re-election in November 1916, the newspapers turned against Germany and began printing stories of atrocities in such a way as so persuade the American people to support America’s entry into the war ('he kept us out of the war'??). The entire episode seems very deliberately staged.

One of the most unpleasant aspects of this was the way in which all German patents taken out in America were seized. This included all the chemical and pharmaceutical patents, which were based on ideas which were far ahead of any other nation in the world. These ‘stolen’ patents were then sold off for next to nothing or given away freely to specific American companies the owners of which often had connections to members of the US government or bankers. This was basically theft of German intellectual property rights but it resulted in great success for many of the pharmaceutical companies which still operate internationally today.

I sincerely hope that the nuns of the St. Edith convent kept their portrait!


Val said...

Christina - The turn around in America's attitude (or rather - the attitude of the press) towards the Germans in WWI is definitely odd and has always made me wonder about what was behind it.

Thank you also for bringing the German patent issue to attention. Prior to your mention of it, I had no idea this had happened! There seems to be a lot of behind the scenes manipulation by several parties when it comes to WWI (to say the least).

Thank you for your thoughtful post, Christina.

ignorant redneck said...

Not to mention the fact, which came out decades after the war, that the Lusitania was carrying munitions in it's hold illegally, which made it a legitimate target, and constitutes Britain and France using civilians as human shields, much like Hama does toady.

Christina said...

Yes, indeed, 'ignorant redneck'...I had exactly the same thought: http://lostinthemythsofhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Lusitania
Thank you for commenting.

Thank you, too, Val :-)

Bob Alley said...

Let’s not forget the colossal amounts of money loaned to the Triple Entente. Has they lost, we would have lost all of it, notwithstanding the fact they the loans were never repaid anyway.