Date Awarded

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Studies


Charles McGovern

Committee Member

Hiroshi Kitamura

Committee Member

Bruce Campbell

Committee Member

Lynn Weiss


Historians consider the years between World War I and World War II to be a period of decline for German America. This dissertation complicates that argument by applying a transnational framework to the history of German immigration to the United States, particularly the period between 1919 and 1939. The author argues that contrary to previous accounts of that period, German migrants continued to be invested in the homeland through a variety of public and private relationships that changed the ways in which they thought about themselves as Germans and Americans. By looking at migration through a transnational lens, the author also moves beyond older conventions that merely saw Germanness in language and culture. Instead, the author suggests a framework that investigates race, class, consumerism, gender and citizenship and finds evidence that German migrants not only utilized their heritage to define their Americanness but that German immigrant values, views and norms did indeed fundamentally shape American national identity.



© The Author