Friday, September 17, 2010

Old World Wisconsin: Deutschtum Über Allis-(Chalmers)

Blatz-Milwaukee's Finest Beer

Many German "Forty-Eighters" settled in Milwaukee, helping establish that city's progressive politics and decades-long flirtation with Sewer Socialism. Milwaukee's tradition is distinct from Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette, Sr.'s Wisconsin Idea, which for the most part was a wholly Madison-based idea.

Holmes observed:
Meantime, among the German immigrants, leaders arose to found new industries that were to make Wisconsin known through the nation. Every German community had its Braumeister. The names of Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Rahr became synonymous for malt beverages; Kohler for plumbing fixtures; Vollrath for porcelain enamel ware; Vits for aluminum products; Pritzlaff for wholesale hardware; Heil for oil burners; Reiss for Great Lakes coal shipments; Pfister, Vogel and Rueping for leather; Harnischfeger for heavy machinery; Lauson for tractor engines; Stoppenbach for sausage. The list might be extended indefinitely. Perhaps it is the German example of thrift that has resulted in Wisconsin attaining the second highest percentage of homeownership in the United States.
-Fred L. Holmes, "Freiheit ist meine" Old World Wisconsin (1944)

The President chose to speak from Milwaukee last Labor Day and I suppose he was hoping to resonate with the crowds there. I was secretly hoping that he would run into Ron Weisflog of Pewaukee or Michael_Haz (from an undisclosed location) when he was there.  You remember Ron Weisflog:

I salute Ron Weisflog and Michael_Haz and hope that their legacy is not fading anytime soon.
The title is a pun on Deutschland Über Alles. Allis-Chalmers is a huge manufacturing firm in Milwaukee. The word Deutschtum literally translates as "Germandom" but the word is more germane to "German-ness" and is typically applied outside of Germany to designate a region with predominantly German culture.

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