Counter-propaganda and spy fever: Germans in Washington, DC, during world war I

Stefan Manz, Mark Benbow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the First World War, the German immigrant community in Washington, DC, came under particular pressure due to its proximity to politically and strategically sensitive institutions. Accusations of sabotage and “hyphenated” loyalty led to an atmosphere of suspicion, suppression, internment, and expulsion. Ethnic leaders produced counter-propaganda to feed both their compatriots and the American public with alternative narratives of warfare. This work argues that these bellicose pro-German utterances aggravated tensions with the host society. Within a theoretical framework of diasporic connectedness, this article shows that reverberations of war affected civilians in places far removed from the frontlines. Studying the totality of war must include the study of diasporas and “enemy minorities.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-69
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of American Ethnic History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2020 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois


Dive into the research topics of 'Counter-propaganda and spy fever: Germans in Washington, DC, during world war I'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this