Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Americans in the German Army


Ralph J. Whitehead

Recommended Posts

Ralph J. Whitehead

While completing some research into the fighting on the Somme I was reviewing the casualty lists for the 99th Reserve. There had been some discussion in the past of Americans serving in foreign armies such as the Canadian, German, etc. While part of the list requires further study due to the poor copy quality of the microfilm I did come across an interesting bit of information.

Among the casualties listed for the 1st Machine Gun Company, 99th Reserve Regiment, for the period of 1 July 1916 was Schützen Roman Kirzenkowski, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was slightly wounded on 1 July 1916. I also found a listing for Schützen Georg Berger, 2nd Machine Gun Company, 99th Reserve Regiment, born in Providence, Rhode Island. He was killed in action on 1 July 1916.

I have received the German casualty lists for most of 1916 and I will check the remainder for any similar findings.

Ralph

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Ralph,

I have encountered lots more American-born German war casualties during my research. It is nothing special if you keep in mind the large emigration from Europe shortly before WW1.

Regards,

Jan

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

Considering that the subject of U.S. citizens fighting for another army is virtually ignored in the U.S. other than the French Foreign Legion and just recently with the Canadian Army I was surprised by the number of men I have been finding lately.

I have been reviewing the 1916 Verlustlisten and within a few minutes I came across two other men, one from Cleveland, Ohio and the other from Chicago, Illinois.

I have always wondered just how many Americans did serve with the Germans and what happened to them afterward, especially those who decided to return to the U.S.

Ralph

Link to post
Share on other sites
christine liava'a

Have you come across any Americans who are obviously not germanic or European by origin ie americans who were fighting on the German side because of their ideals rather than their roots?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
Have you come across any Americans who are obviously not germanic or European by origin ie americans who were fighting on the German side because of their ideals rather than their roots?

Have you found any Americans who deserted to the Germans once they arrived in France?

IIRC, in WW2, there was an American officer who stole a plane and went over to the Germans.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

Hello Chris,

The problem we are faced with is the lack of solid evidence of any of these issues. While the blockade did stop foreign nationals from traveling into neutral countries that could have eventually gone into Germany the question I have is when the blockade was instituted and how effective it was in the beginning. There is also the method of traveling through France into Switzerland and Italy, then neutral (1914/part of 1915) into Switzerland as well. There are no records that I can discover and I have never seen any accounts by these men.

If they went by sea in British controlled waters it was more than likely upon neutral shipping vessels, not subject to such strict inspection and controls, as far as I know. This opinion could be incorrect and if any members do know an answer please let us know.

I cannot comment on dual nationaltiy issues, I am not sure if it was allowed in that period. Memory of school days, far, far ago, leads me to believe that this was not allowed. It was a case of one or the other, not both. This is a vague memory at best, again anyone with more knowledge please let me know.

I did find a piece on the net that applies to this thread: Statutory provisions substantially comparable with those of current section 327 have existed since the Act of October 5, 1917, and have afforded a means by which persons who lost United States citizenship through foreign oaths of allegiance administered incident to entering allied military forces during wartime might resume their former status by a simple form of naturalization.

It would seem that the laws as they existed when the U.S. entered the war could easily be corrected and this could answer one of my questions about what happened when the men returned to the U.S. (if they did).

This is an interesting thread (I know, I started it) and I hope to uncover more about it over time. Any comments, corrections, additions are gratefuly appreciated.

Ralph

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello Chris,

The problem we are faced with is the lack of solid evidence of any of these issues. While the blockade did stop foreign nationals from traveling into neutral countries that could have eventually gone into Germany the question I have is when the blockade was instituted and how effective it was in the beginning. There is also the method of traveling through France into Switzerland and Italy, then neutral (1914/part of 1915) into Switzerland as well. There are no records that I can discover and I have never seen any accounts by these men.

If they went by sea in British controlled waters it was more than likely upon neutral shipping vessels, not subject to such strict inspection and controls, as far as I know. This opinion could be incorrect and if any members do know an answer please let us know.

I cannot comment on dual nationaltiy issues, I am not sure if it was allowed in that period. Memory of school days, far, far ago, leads me to believe that this was not allowed. It was a case of one or the other, not both. This is a vague memory at best, again anyone with more knowledge please let me know.

I did find a piece on the net that applies to this thread: Statutory provisions substantially comparable with those of current section 327 have existed since the Act of October 5, 1917, and have afforded a means by which persons who lost United States citizenship through foreign oaths of allegiance administered incident to entering allied military forces during wartime might resume their former status by a simple form of naturalization.

It would seem that the laws as they existed when the U.S. entered the war could easily be corrected and this could answer one of my questions about what happened when the men returned to the U.S. (if they did).

This is an interesting thread (I know, I started it) and I hope to uncover more about it over time. Any comments, corrections, additions are gratefuly appreciated.

Ralph

Ralph

The RN were already mobilised & at their war stations on the outbreak of war - so the institution of the blockade was a relatively simple matter that was covered by the "War Book".

Neutral vessels were subject to some very stringent regulations & inspections which caused quite some protests against the violation of neutrals right & interference with free trade

All The Best

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
Ralph J. Whitehead

Unfortunately I have not been able to make any headway with this subject. It appears as if all records or mention of this subject has been erased or never existed in the first place. Every inquiry comes up against a stone wall so I doubt we will ever really know.

Ralph

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...