teut The German-American to His Adopted Country
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THE great guns crashing angrily

Sound, distant echoes, in our ear.

We pray for those beyond the sea

Whose lives to us are very dear.

We catch a mother’s smile.   We seize

In thought a father’s hand again.

We see the house and, through the trees,

A girl’s face in the window pane.

May God above them stretch His hand,

For men are mowed as fields of rye.

Destruction rides on sea and land

Or drops, like thunder, from the sky.

Columbia, though thou shed no tear,

Must thou fan hate with evil breath

Through ghouls in easy-chairs who sneer

While these our brothers go to death?

Upon their page with hellish glee

They prance their joy in black and red,

While Teutons strike for liberty,

And Teuton mothers count their dead.

While Death and warring Cherubim

O’er blood-red fields of battle flit.

Upon the shining mail of him

Who leads God’s hosts, they puke their wit.

Shall these that are thy children fling

Their gibes upon our brothers’ scars?

We taught our hearts thy songs to sing,

Aye, with our blood we waged thy wars.

We fought thy fight when Britain’s paw

Upon thy country’s heart was laid,

When the French eagle’s iron claw

Perturbed great Montezuma’s shade.

The dry bones of our kinsmen rot

In Gettysburg.   Was it for this?

Are Schurz and Steuben both forgot?

Nay, thine is not a traitor’s kiss.

Let not thy words belie the right,

Turn not from them that are thy kin!

Thy starry crown will shine less bright

If freeman lose, if Cossacks win.

The Red Czar’s blight shall never fall

Upon the earth, nor freedom pale,

While the white blade of Parzival

Still guards the Teuton’s Holy Grail.

Viereck, George Sylvester. “The German-American to His Adopted Country.” The Fatherland 1, no. 2 (August 17, 1914): 10.

Viereck, George Sylvester. “The German-American to His Adopted Country.” The Fatherland 1, no. 2 (August 17, 1914): 10.



Female personification of the United States.



Teutons is usually applied to ancient Germanic peoples who in 113–101 BC devasted Gaul and threatened the Roman republic. In a more general ethnic sense, a person speaking a Germanic language.

“Teuton, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, 2021. Accessed June 28, 2021. https://www.oed.com/start?authRejection=true&url=%2Fview%2FEntry%2F199961



Cherubim, a plural Hebrew word denoting the second of nine orders of angels.

“Cherubim.” In The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by E.A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press, 2013. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199659623.001.0001/acref-9780199659623-e-1143.


Britain’s paw

Reference to the lion, the national animal of Great Britain, and to the American Revolution, fought by the colonists from 1775 to 1783 to achieve independence from British rule.


French eagle’s iron claw

The French Imperial Eagle appeared on standards carried into battle during the Napoleonic Wars. French Emperor Napoleon III established a French client state in Mexico in 1862, with Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, as Emperor of Mexico. Napoleon III withdrew troops in 1867. The U.S. remained neutral during the French intervention, not wanting conflict with France. Montezuma II (1466–1520) was the last ruler of the Aztec empire in Mexico.

“French Intervention in Mexico and the American Civil War, 1862&11;#8267.” Office of the Historian, Milestones 1861-1865. Accessed June 7, 2921. https://history.state.gov/milestones/1861-1865/french-intervention.



The Battle of Gettysburg, fought in Pennsylvania July 1–3, 1863 was a decisive Union victory and a turning point in the American Civil War. More than 400,000 German immigrants and their descendants fought for the Union.



German Carl Schurz (1826–1906) fled to England after the failed Revolution of 1848 and migrated to the United States in 1852. An active member of the Republican Army, he raised troops of German immigrants at the start of the Civil War and served as brigadier general starting in 1862. He later served in the U.S. Senate and in 1876 became Secretary of the Interior.

“Schurz, Carl.” In The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military. Oxford University Press, 2001. https://www.oxfordreference.com/10.1093/acref/9780199891580.001.0001/acref-9780199891580-e-7087.



Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730–94) was a Prussian military officer who helped train the Continental Army at Valley Forge in 1778, during the American Revolution. He adapted European military drills to conditions in the colonies and is credited with professionalizing the Continental Army.

Thompson, J. Mark. “Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Von [Baron].“ In The Oxford Companion to American Military History. Oxford University Press, 2000. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195071986.001.0001/acref-9780195071986-e-0879.



Cossacks, from Ukraine and southern Russia, were known for their horsemanship and military skill. The term is used here as a reference to Russia, a member of the Triple Entente, with the British Empire and the French Republic. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914. With the largest standing army in Europe, Russia hoped for a quick victory against German forces in East Prussia. Fighting at Stallupönen on August 17, the opening battle on the Eastern Front, left the Germans in retreat; the battle at Gumbinnen on August 20 had the same result. The Battle of Tannenberg (August 26–30), however, was a major victory for the Germans: the Russian Second Army had not been forced to retreat, “it had been annihilated.”1 During the first Russian invasions of East Prussia, 1,491 East Prussians died: they were executed, victims of plunder-related killings, or killed in massacres. The scale of violence was “no different than that of the more famous contemporaneous atrocities in Belgium and France.”2

1Stone, David R. The Russian Army in the Great War: The Eastern Front, 1914–1917. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2015, 75.

2Watson, Alexander. Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria–Hungary in World War I: The People’s War. United Kingdom: Basic Books, 2014, 171.

Dowling, Timothy C. “Eastern Front.” In 1914–1918–online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson. Freie Universität Berlin, 2014–. Article published October 8, 2014. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/eastern_front.



A Middle–High German epic poem by Wolfram von Eschenbach in which the Arthurian knight Parzival undertakes a quest to find the Holy Grail.

“Parzival.” In The Oxford Companion to German Literature, edited by Henry Garland and Mary Garland. Oxford University Press, 1997. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198158967.001.0001/acref-9780198158967-e-4058.


Red Czar

Nicholas II (1868–1918), Czar of Russia 1894–1917.

Peeling, Siobhan. “Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia. ” In 1914–1918–online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson. Freie Universität Berlin, 2014–. Article published October 8, 2014. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/nicholas_ii_emperor_of_russia.