German Americans' Contributions to Our Nation

With an estimated size of approximately 44 million in 2016, German Americans are the largest of the ancestry groups reported by the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey. The group accounts for about one-third of the total ethnic German population in the world.

There is a "German belt" that extends all the way across the United States, from eastern Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast. Pennsylvania has the largest population of German-Americans in the U.S. and is home to one of the group's original settlements, Germantown (Philadelphia), founded in 1683 and the birthplace of the American antislavery movement in 1688, as well as the revolutionary Battle of Germantown. The state of Pennsylvania has 3.5 million people of German ancestry.

German Americans established the first kindergartens in the United States and the Christmas tree tradition. They also introduced popular foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels, strudel, sauerkraut and lager beer to America.  All in all, German Americans have been influential in almost every field in American society, including science, architecture, business, sports, entertainment, theology, politics, and the military.

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Language
State
Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Admiral Chester William Nimitz Sr. [Texas State Historical Association] (February 24, 1885 - February 20, 1966) Fleet Admiral, United States Navy /node/564942

Chester William Nimitz, who guided Allied forces to victory in the Pacific in World War II, was born in Fredericksburg, Texas, on February 24, 1885, the son of Chester Bernard and Anna (Henke) Nimitz. His father died before he was born. During his early years his grandfather Charles H. Nimitz, a German immigrant, former seaman and owner of the Nimitz Hotel, served as the father figure whom Nimitz credited with shaping his character and values.