Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Ohio Bicentennial Moment

WWI brought out anti-German sentiment

By Feb. 4, 1918, all German males 14 and older in the United States who were not naturalized were required to register as alien enemies with local authorities. President Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation in November 1917 as the United States entered World War I against Germany and its allies.

The German Alien Registration Act required that each "alien enemy" be issued a registration card, which was to be carried at all times. At their registration, they were photographed, fingerprinted and questioned about their personal habits. The government ordered them to get permission to travel or change residences.

Ohio later passed a law prohibiting teaching the German language in public schools. In Cincinnati, where 58 percent of residents were of German heritage, an ordinance was passed changing German street names. German-language books were removed from library shelves, one-third of the city's German-language newspapers folded and German teachers were fired.

- Rebecca Goodman

Ohio Moments appears here daily in 2003. Have a suggestion? Contact Rebecca Goodman at rgoodman@enquirer.com or (513) 768-8361.

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Bicentennial Moment: WWI brought out anti-German sentiment

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