I have been searching for the number of German born American soldiers in WWII that are still alive (in 2015). I was quite shocked to not even be able to find how many German born American Citizens who fought for the the U.S in World War II, period.

Is anyone aware of a source that covers emigrants from Axis countries fighting in American or other Allied militaries. Given the discrimination many of these immigrant populations faced during and even after the war it would be interesting to find hard numbers regarding their contributions and service during the war.

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    I think it'd be better to put those personal musings that's not quite necessary for the question into another paragraph. – Semaphore Feb 28 '15 at 6:16
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because rants aren't a question. – Pieter Geerkens Feb 28 '15 at 16:18
  • Semaphore, you are right of course. My 93 year old father, a WWII veteran, found this website and asked me to submit his question and his reasons for asking. Thanks for your respectful response. – MGB Feb 28 '15 at 17:52
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    The question as stated could be revised to remove the opinion sections and fit with the nature of this site. I understand and respect why you are asking the question, though in an academic sense the answer won't change if the reasoning is removed and it distracts from getting the data you want. – Odysseus Feb 28 '15 at 18:58
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    Odysseus, We thank-you most sincerely for your comment,perfect edit & excellent answer. You recognized his inability to remove the reason from the question (and why). Your edit was fantastic and we are grateful. He does not disavow his German heritage (but understands those who have). Rather he taught several generations of his family that "pride" is exemplified by what a person does, not by where he/she are born. We honor him for his service and his wisdom. Per his advice we will "never forget". – MGB Mar 2 '15 at 2:21

I've done some basic looking around and found, as you did, that numbers on this are not easy to come by. I suspect you will never find an accurate version of the numbers you want for two reasons:

  1. German-Americans often did not advertise their Germanness during the world wars, for reasons that are easy to understand. Thus any official records probably extensively underestimate the number of German-heritage/German-born American soldiers simply because they didn't admit to that when they signed up, up to and including lying about their place of birth. This is anecdotal, but my great grandfather was born in Germany and fought for the US in WWI. During that period he refused to speak German or teach it to his children, and outside of keeping a German surname, the family effectively ceased being German in any cultural sense. I suspect that kind of experience is common. As for how they would get away with lying about that:

  2. The American military had shrunk enormously between WWI and WWII, and was faced with the prospect of recruiting hundreds of thousands of men to fill the ranks. The German-American population is huge and the War Department had good reasons for ignoring ancestry if it meant gaining tens of thousands of recruits.

After the war much of that population considered themselves American more than anything else, so there was never much of a push for recognition. For that reason and the ones I listed above, the numbers you're talking about either never existed, or were highly inaccurate. I do think it's unfortunate, because there are few examples of the American melting pot more poignant than someone fighting against their former countrymen, but in this case there are also very logical reasons as to why it's so hard to find information on them. I hope this helps, and tell your father thank you for his service.

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