Looking back on the lives of our ancestors, we get a better understanding as to why we are here in the United States today. It's not everyday people are thinking about their ancestors and taking into consideration that they are the reason we are here in our lives. It's hard to think that we have had ancestors that lived or live in different countries other than the one country we are familiar with. Our ancestors can be traced back farther than we think. We can look back two hundred years or more and see why they made a transition to the United States. Both my mother and father's ancestors came from Germany. This simply means that I can consider myself to be German-American.
In the process of tracing back my ancestors, I couldn't come to the conclusion on the exact name or time that they left the country of Germany. But, as I progressed through figuring it out, I researched the time in which seemed reasonable to their departure and came up with the mid 1800's. I may not be exact as to why they left Germany, but I found a few good reasons as to why a majority of people did. In the mid 1800's, Germany was struggling in their political system, economic system, and religion. When soldiers from German armies were released, many planned on returning to work on the farms. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough work or land to go around. Wages weren't the best and prices on products were rising. When Germany became more industrialized around the year 1871, many farmers had no other choice but to emigrate. Farming was a huge part of life in Germany and when it took a fall, migrating to another country is what a lot of people decided to do. The majority of German emigrants were small farmers and rural laborers because of the high concern for crops and soil (Emigrate). Another reason as to why Germans were leaving Europe is because of the mandatory military services. This was their way of trying to avoid the system and get away from being forced into the military. Because of these hard times in Germany, many people were migrating to the United States in search for a better life.
Germany is located in Central Europe. Germany's neighboring countries include Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Germany also borders around the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Due to the bordering of the seas, a natural hazard in Germany is flooding. Germany's climate is said to be cool and cloudy with wet summers and winters. Germany also has occasional warm mountain winds (World Fact Book). Because of the winds from the North Sea, the Northwestern part of Germany tends to have a maritime climate. When traveling farther inland, the weather becomes more consistent according to the four seasons.
Germany is affiliated with a few different subsistence strategies. One subsistence strategy is Agriculture. Germany produces a lot of organic foods and has the longest tradition in organic farming and marketing (Germany). They produce foods such as potatoes, beets, fruit, wheat, onions, rye, cabbage, and milk. Some of the tools that are used in agriculture are chemical fertilizers, tractors, and trucks to transport different needed farming equipment. In order for Agriculture to take place in Germany, farmers are needed. They are the biggest part of why Germany is known for the great farming industry that is provided. These farmers do a lot of physical labor, whether they are working on a small or large farm. Farming is a big part of Germany and several people rely on it for work and employment.
Another important subsistence strategy in Germany is Industrialism. A majority of people are involved in the industry and almost 40 percent of the German workforce was involved in manufacturing. Manufacturing is not the only area of the industry that is profound, but mining and food processing are two major areas as well. Some of the tools that are used in industrialism are automotive manufacturing, machine tools, electrical engineering, iron, steel, and chemicals (Industry). Some important industries in Germany include mechanical engineering, automotive manufacturing, electrical engineering, as well as steel and coal mining (Industry). The division of labor for industrialism is very important. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the industry and in order for that to happen there needs to be businesses. Considering automotive manufacturing is so successful in Germany, they need car companies. Work is also divided up into machine operators. There needs to be people who know how to operate machinery in order for the industry to go anywhere.
Last but not least, Electronic Information Computer Technology is an important subsistence strategy in Germany. The eastern part of Germany is becoming more and more advanced in technology. Germany is second to the United States in internet use and estimates that there are around 5.6 million users (Internet Activity). Germany also has one of the world's most advanced telecommunication systems. Germany's use of technology includes internet, telephone, telebanking, radio and much more. It is the people that make this happen. The results in education and thinking strategies bring about the different technology opportunities used in Germany. Electronic information computer technology is the most common subsistence strategy in Germany. It has progressed so much up to today and still continues to advance.
Germany has been governed by a Federal Republic ever since they were unified in 1871. The person with the supreme power in Germany and the head of the republics government is the Federal Chancellor. The Chancellor is responsible for all government policies and is the head of the executive branch who is elected every four years by the president of Germany. Essentially, the Chancellor is also the only member of the government to be elected into office. The president is the head of state and responsible for signing treaties, and representing Germany outside of the country. Meanwhile, the Chancellor appoints federal judges, decides the number of cabinet members, signs legislation into the law, and much more.
The Germans label themselves as being a “social market economy (Germany).” The main goal in their economy is to be free of state interference and domination, as well as protecting all workers and having a structured economy. The German economy is also labeled as a bank economy. German's like to save their money and put it into the banks rather than a savings bond or into the stock market providing the banks with the country's investment capital. Germany is known for the exports of vehicles. In fact, the automotive industry is the best known industry in the country. Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, and the BMW are all well known vehicle models exported out of Germany in exchange for goods and services. All in all, the automotive industry helps the country's economy tremendously. Social welfare gave workers an advantage in their employment and for a while, helped Germany become one of the world's wealthiest nations.
Christianity makes up the majority of Germany's religion with about 54 million Christian believers. Two different religions that also make up Germany's population are Roman Catholic and Protestant. There are approximately 28.2 million Roman Catholic's, and 30 million Protestant's (Religion in Germany). About 5 percent of Protestants, mainly performed in East Germany, attend weekly services. On the other hand, about 23 percent of Roman Catholics in West Germany attend church weekly. There are also traces of Jewish, Buddhists, and Hindu believers spread throughout the country. Some people in Germany pay a voluntary church tax donation to help churches and their work. A faltering economy and increase on taxes cause many people to withdraw from church for financial reasons (Germany).
After World War II, there was an increase in divorce and a decrease in marriages. The social life had changed dramatically. People started marrying at a younger age, which resulted in an early age of divorce. Soon there were more single housed homes rather than a typical family sized home. When Germany recognized the marriage status of the country, the legislative put together a child care system in hopes that children would be better off because prior they weren't getting the care that they needed. In Germany, there are no arranged marriages, they married who they liked and fell in love with. The women in Germany would most likely not marry another German, but instead marry Americans, Italians, Turks, and Yugoslavs. On the other hand, men would marry Yugoslavs, Poles, Filipinos, and Austrians. Of the 15 million married couples in West Germany, about 57 percent had children; 47 percent had only child, thirty eight percent had two children and thirteen percent had three or more children (Germany-Marriage and Family).
After learning more about Germany, I came across many interesting things that I wasn't aware of previously. I talked to a couple of my friends that went to Germany last summer and they informed of a few things I didn't know. First of all, gasoline is measured in liters as oppose to gallons like we have here in the United States. Another thing that they noticed while visiting, was that the roads are thinner, the cars are smaller, and most people take the bus as their main source of transportation. She told me that people would talk about American's and how we are all supposedly fat. She also informed me that kids seem a lot more independent and start drinking at a young age. Something else that I found interesting was the fact that it isn't a routine for women to shave. I watched a video on Germany and found that the sights and entertainment is nothing like the United States. Everything seemed more music, theater, and art oriented. The video also informed me that between 1851 and 1914, people were leaving Europe in search for a better life. This makes me think that my ancestors were in this group of people searching for better life on earth. These are the things that stuck out to me that I found to be amusing. After researching and learning more about where my ancestors came from, it makes me curious as to whether they enjoyed their time in Germany or if they were more happy with the way their life was in the United States.