James W. Gerard,
speeches on German-American loyalty
(1917-1918 )

Modified from Original Electronic Text at NYTimes.com and Original Electronic Text at the Library of Congress

James W. Gerard was the American Ambassador to Germany in the four years before the United States entered World War I. Upon returning home in 1917, he engaged in an extensive public speaking campaign to raise funds for the war. In 1918, he made a short recording of one of those speeches, which was commercially distributed with a recording of Gen. John J. Pershing's description of the battlefield. (More information is available here.)

 

 

"Gerard Flays Traitors," New York Times, November 14, 1917.

{1} PITTSBURGH, Penn., Nov. 13. -- The time for repentance of disloyal Americans and pro-German sympathizers has passed and the day is at hand when every person must decide whether he is for or against America, declared James W. Gerard, former American Ambassador to Germany, in an address at a food conservation mass meeting here today.

{2} "Americans are to be congratulated on their efforts to induce Germans in this country to be loyal, but there are still many under the protection of the American flag who are snakes in the grass," said the former Ambassador. "The time has come, however, when they must say straightorwardly whether they are for or against America.

{3} "We should 'hog-tie' every disloyal German-American, feed every pacifist raw meat, and hang every traitor to a lamp post to insure success in this war. And our traitors are not all German-Americans. Some men high in public life are aiding the Prussian cause. There is no dirtier chapter in American politics than the crusade of these men, whose names you know."

 

 

James W. Gerard, "Loyalty" recording, 1918 (transcription)


{4} I know that it is hard for Americans to realize the magnitude of the war in which we are involved. We have problems in this war no other nations have. Fortunately, the great majority of American citizens of German descent have, in this great crisis of our history, shown themselves splendidly loyal to our flag.

{5} Everyone had a right to sympathize with any warring nation. But now that we are in the war there are only two sides, and the time has come when every citizen must declare himself American - or traitor!

{6} We must disappoint the Germans who have always believed that the German-Americans here would risk their property, their children's future, and their own neck, and take up arms for the Kaiser. The Foreign Minister of Germany once said to me "your country does not dare do anything against Germany, because we have in your country 500,000 German reservists who will rise in arms against your government if you dare to make a move against Germany."

{7} Well, I told him that that might be so, but that we had 500,001 lamp posts in this country, and that that was where the reservists would be hanging the day after they tried to rise. And if there are any German-Americans here who are so ungrateful for all the benefits they have received that they are still for the Kaiser, there is only one thing to do with them. And that is to hog-tie them, give them back the wooden shoes and the rags they landed in, and ship them back to the Fatherland.

{8} I have travelled this year over all the United States. Through the Alleghenies, the White Mountains, and the Catskills, the Rockies and the Bitterroot Mountains, the Cascades, the Coast Range, and the Sierras. And in all these mountains, there is no animal that bites and kicks and squeals and scratches, that would bite and squeal and scratch equal to a fat German-American, if you commenced to tie him up and told him that he was on his way back to the Kaiser.

To listen to the recording online, click here.


Return to the Hanover College History Department

Return to Hanover College Visitor's Page