Das Buch der Deutschen in America: Pages 780 - 784

The National German-American Alliance
of the United States of America

The National German-American Alliance
of the United States of America

In the history of the German people the date April 16, 1899 holds a place of honor, for it is the day which brought about the establishment of a movement leading to the alliance of all Germans in the adopted fatherland without regard for social status, political affiliation or organizational membership. It is the day, which saw the founding of the German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Men, mostly from Pennsylvania, ascribed to certain fundamental principles of the alliance. They did not strive for political honor or worldly goods through use of the alliance's power and influence. The constitution was laid down as follows:

The alliance strives to awaken and promote a feeling of unity within people of German ancestry here in America and to turn it into a useful and wholesome entity, which once centralized, can draw upon its inherent force for a united and energetic guardianship of justified wishes and interests, which are not contrary to the common good of the country and the rights and duties of proper citizens. It strives to defend against nativistic encroachment, to foster and secure friendly relations between America and the old German fatherland. History demonstrates and teaches that German immigration has contributed to the advancement of intellectual and economic development in this country and it is called upon to further contribute, forever standing true to our country in joy and sorrow.

The Alliance advances the full and honorable recognition of these contributions and defends against any attempts to diminish them. Forever true to the adopted fatherland, ever ready to do its best for common good, honest and selfless in the exercise of the duties of citizenship, obedient to the law — these too are hallmarks of the Alliance! It endorses no special interests, no establishment of a state within a state, however it sees in the centralization of the population of German ancestry the shortest path and the best assurance for the realization of the goal clearly laid out in its constitution. It challenges all German associations - as the organized representatives of the German populace - to work together towards the Alliance's healthy and vigorous development and in turn it advocates the formation of associations for the preservation of German-American interests in all states of the Union and for the centralization of these associations into one German-American alliance. It charges all German associations with the duty of organizing into one unit in each state. The Alliance charges itself with the task of firmly and consistently employing all legal means at its disposal for the maintenance and dissemination of its principles, which it will stridently defend wherever and whenever threatened. The Alliance hereby sets forth the following platform:

1. The Alliance comprises a blending of party politics. As such it stands exempt from the rights and duties of defending its principles within the political arena, should it be assailed or harassed by political attacks or measures to regulate it. The Alliance will suggest and support law-producing measures for the common good, which have the unanimous approval of its membership.

2. Questions and matters of religion are strictly prohibited.

3. It recommends the introduction of instruction in the German language within the public schools for the following well-established reason: Along with English the German language is a world-language, spoken in the farthest corners of the world. Wherever the pioneers of civilization, trade and commerce are gathered, we find people of both tongues. Wherever such universal knowledge presides, it is easy for mutually beneficial, clear and unprejudiced understanding to develop, thus facilitating mutual and amicable relationships.

4. We live in an age of progress and discovery; the tempo of this age is swift and its demands upon the individual are relentless. The inherent physical exertion demands greater physical strength and a healthy mind must reside in a healthy body! For this reason the Alliance works for the introduction of systematic and goal-oriented gymnastics instruction in the public schools.

5. It further advocates for the liberation of schools from politics because only education free of political influences can offer the populace true institutes of learning.

6. It recommends that all Germans exercise their rights as citizens to the full extent of the law,to actively participate in public life and to fearlessly and judiciously fulfill their duties as citizens at the ballot box.

7. It recommends a liberal and timely handling or repealing of such laws, which needlessly hamper or substantially hinder the enactment of civil rights. — Good reputation, irreproachable and proper conduct and love for the law should be the determining factors, not the answering or lack of giving answers to favorite, isolated and often confusing political or historical questions.

8. It takes the position of being against the limitation of immigration of healthy people from Europe with the exception of transported criminals and anarchists.

9. It advocates the repeal of outdated laws, which no longer correspond to the spirit of the age, and which restrict free trade and limit the personal freedom of the citizen.

10. It recommends the establishment of continuing education associations as places fostering the German language and literature, providing broader edification of those thirsty for knowledge and providing venues for lectures on art, science and questions of general interest.

11. It recommends a systematic inquiry into German contributions to the development of the adopted fatherland in war and peace in all arenas of German-American interaction from the earliest times to the founding and continuation of a German-American history.

12. The Alliance advocates lawful, economically sound measures for the protection of the forests of this country.

13. It retains the right to broaden or supplement this platform whenever new events, which have an impact upon its existence and established goals, make it desirable or advisable to do so.

The young alliance did not exist merely on paper; it set its platform of principles in motion. In the same year the Alliance's Executive Committee, comprised of Dr. C. J. Hexamer, President and Mr. Adolph Timm, Secretary undertook a trip to Pittsburgh in order to provide assistance to the imprisoned first spokesman and chairman of the East Pittsburgh Gymnastics Association (Turnverein). Their efforts were so successful that the man was acquitted. With this opportunity the young alliance underwent a welcome growth in its numbers with the addition of the numerous German associations in Pittsburgh, with whom the alliance forged heartfelt and sincere fraternity. Soon after this first task was successfully concluded, a second task, no less important, followed. It may be attributed to the efforts of the Central Alliance that the State Legislature of Pittsburgh enacted a law by which gymnastics instruction will be made obligatory in the first and second grades in the schools of this city.

Having forged the path, the administrative headquarters was able to vigorously proceed, agitating and organizing beyond the Keystone State and on June 19, 1900 it establish the National Alliance. At the preliminary session, held on this date, representatives from the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Minnesota took part. The Constitutional Convention took place on Sunday, October 6, 1901 under the chairmanship of Dr. Hexamer in the halls of the German Association of Pennsylvania. At this session, where the above cited constitution of the Pennsylvania Central Alliance was adopted with a few minor changes, delegates represented the various associations as follows:

Central Association in the District of Columbia - Wm. Elterich, the Honorable Simon Wolf, Gustav Bender, Kurt Völckner.

The Independent Citizens Association of Maryland - John Tjarks, Karl A. M. Scholtz.

The Literary Association of New York - Rudolf Cronau, Carl A. Stern.

The German-American Central Alliance of Newark, New Jersey - Noah Guter, G. C. Linau, Krause.

The German Association of Wheeling, West Virginia - C. W. Bente.

The German-American Central Alliance of Idaho - Prof. Carl Fr. Brede.

The German-American Central Alliance of Cleveland, Ohio - Hermann Weder.

The German-Californian Central Alliance - Richard Strohm.

The German Warriors Alliance of Wisconsin - Robert Tarlo.

The German Association of Evansville - Fred. John G. Eisele.

The German-American Teachers Union - Prof. C. O. Schönrich, Dr. Marion D. Learned.

The Schiller Association of St. Louis - Mrs. Fernande Richter.

The Atlantic City Gymnastics Society - Jakob Hernig and Jakob Müller.

The Western Branch of the German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania - Conrad Hahn.

The German Association of Altoona - L. G. Lamade.

The Reading Branch of the German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania - Fred. Thun, Carl Rahn, J. Weiler, C. Remppis.

The Lancaster Branch of the German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania - Gustav Schmidt.

The German Military Association of Lancaster County - Adam Kopp.

The Philadelphia Headquarters of the German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania - Dr. C. J. Hexamer, Arno Leonhardt, John M. Schönig, Hans Weniger, John Weber, H. F. Harjes, Adolph Timm.

Along with the above, Mr. Fritz Künzel of Altoona was registered.

The voting ratio was set so that each state had two votes.

The assembly elected the following officers by voice vote: President, Dr. C. J. Hexamer, Philadephia; first Vice-President, Wm. L. Elterich, Washington; second Vice-President, H. C. Blödel, Pittsburgh; Secretary, Adolph Timm, Philadelphia.

The "National German-American Alliance" was chosen and approved as the English language name for the Bund two years later on the first Sunday in October [1901] at the national convention. Other resolutions passed include the following:

"As delegates assembled at this convention of the National German-American Alliance we express the sentiments of the entire German-American community when we declare our total indignation over such a shameful deed as the assassination of President McKinley and we condemn all teachings which incite assassination as contrary to the tenets of humanity. In profound mourning we lament the loss of a dutiful superior officer of the Republic, a fine fellow citizen and capable soldier. In expressing our deepest sympathy to the sorely tested widow, we declare that the memory of William McKinely will most assuredly remain in the hearts of all good German-Americans along with the memory of our other martyred presidents, Lincoln and Garfield.

"It is resolved that we draft this resolution and send a copy of it to Mrs. McKinley."

After this, Dr. Marion D. Learned discussed the Pennsylvania proposal concerning the establishment and continuation of systematic German-American historical research and Mr. Kurt Völckner from Washington and Mr. Rudolf Cronau from New York fervently supported the motion, which was unanimously adopted. The proposal states:

The German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania recommends the continuation of the quarterly journal Americana-Germanica, the maintenance of the "German Publication Fund of America" and also the incorporation of the fund under the name "German-American Historical Society."

The reasons, which move us to make this recommendation, are that the publication fund is already an established institution guided by capable and experienced men. Additionally that with the co-management of the fund the National German-American Alliance will not become its editors, however taking an active role in German-American historical research may prove a lasting and binding force for the National Alliance.

The German Publication Fund of America issued as its only condition that the site of publication for Americana-Germanica remain at the cradle of German civilization in America, Philadephia.

It was recommended at the national convention that steps be taken to consolidate the German theater under one united leadership and at the same time that it consider German-American

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Text provided by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo NY
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks