Among communities conflicted by the Great War, those whose families included relatively recent German immigrants were particularly affected.  Anti-German sentiment weighed heavily against them at times, even if they were steadfastly loyal to their new country.

Consider Paul C. Knoblauch, who was born at or near Colwich on March 15, 1892.  His parents had immigrated from Germany nearly twenty years before his birth, but because they were surrounded  by other immigrants, they kept speaking and observing the German language and customs.  Paul himself could speak German fluently.

Paul married in August 1917, though he would be drafted into the United States Army later that year.  He would be killed on a battlefield less than 150 miles from his parents’ birthplace on October 28, 1918.  Buried in France initially, his body was returned to Kansas.

His memorial card speaks volumes about the conflict of culture.  It is printed in German.

Check out the Kansapedia for more information and to see the card.


Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.