Removing the Hyphen
After the outbreak of war, German-Americans were forced to declare their loyalty as “100 percent Americans.” Use of the German language, adherence to German cultural traditions, membership in German churches and clubs, and various other activities were regarded as incompatible with true “Americanness.” After the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915, the situation only became worse. As this political cartoon makes clear, many believed that German-Americans had to be either German or American, but could not be both. Hyphenated Americans also became an issue during the 1916 presidential campaign, when candidates Woodrow Wilson and Charles Evan Hughes both declared them potentially disloyal. The political cartoon featured above was published in the magazine section of the New York Times on May 16, 1915.