Brennpunkt Online Archive

All archived articles written and/or edited by Mike Haas, Retired CPD,
B.A. Sociology, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, 1977;
M.A. History, DePaul University, Chicago, 1998;
GAPA Chicago's Secretary Editor and Webmeister.

Adobe Acrobat files are password protected. Please use gapa1975 to access.

The Sauerkraut Question

The huge influx of German immigrants (some of our grandparents and great  grandparents) into the United States duringthe last half of the 19th and early 20th centuries presented a "German Problem" to the Anglo-American staus quo: Just who were these Germans and their "Kultur" and what threat were they to Anglo-American hegemony in America, and what would it take to "Americanize" them in a manner suitable to Anglo-American sensibilities?!

Al Sieber, Intrepid Scout

This German immigrant, Civil War veteran and US Cavalry Scout fought in more Indian campaigns (the Apache wars of the Southwest) than Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, Jim Bridger all together! Charlton Heston played him in Arrowhead and Robert Duvall in The Legend of Geronimo!

Boots & Saddles

Of the 428 Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to the United States Army during the Indian campaigns from 1865 to 1898, 30 went to these US cavalrymen who were born in Germany!

Me Tarzan, you Jane! German Chicago's own Johnny Weissmuller, America's first Olympic Swimming Hero

From the cold chilly waters off the “rocks  of Lake Michigan at Fullerton Ave. beach to the Olympic swimming pools of 1924 Paris and 1928 Amsterdam, Weissmuller set the American, if not international standards, for energy, daring, endurance and athletic ability as a swimmer who was selected in 1950 as “the greatest swimmer of the half century" by the Associated Press. An extraordinary honor when considering that Babe Ruth was chosen for the same honor in Baseball, Jesse Owens in Track, Jack Dempsey in Boxing and Jim Thorpe in Football! Although a charter member of the US Olympic Swimming Hall of Fame, Weissmuller is probably better known to those of us who grew up in the post World War II era from Sunday Matinee TV movie fare for his  film portrayal as “Tarzan, the Ape Man.  But, he literally swam his way into these roles and into American consciousness after winning 3 gold medals in Paris and adding 2 more in Amsterdam

The Patrolman's Christmas

Surely a time of mixed emotions for those police officers working the streets on this most cherished of holidays, and a tinge of sadness for our familes as well. For while most families will be sharing Christmas with each other, many of Chicago's patrol officers will be sharing it with those for whom the spirit of Christmas seems to have forsaken!

Free Speech On Trial!

The case of Johann Peter Zenger in Colonial New YorkThe legacy of the 1735 Zenger trial resides in the constitutionalized principle that every American's right to free speech rests upon the individual's right to crtiticize his government. American ideals of free speech and a free press were forged out of the grievances the colonists had with the Crown's magistrates in the years preceding the War of Independence.

Martin Waldseemuller,The German geographer who christened the New World, "America!"

In 1507 this German priest/geographer created the most detailed map of the world that was known at the time which included a previously uncharted land mass lying between Europe and Asia though separated by huge ocean expanses. Waldseemuller named this land mass America on behalf of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian navigator from whose nautical surveys his map was drawn. Just about all of the original copies of Waldseemuller's 12 panel wall map of the world were considered lost until one resurfaced in a castle in southwestern Germany in 1901. In 2001 this copy was purchased by the US Library of Congress for $10 million dollars!

The Black Death, 1347 - 1351!

Our ancestors, their blood running through our veins, survived an unprecedented, devastating epidemic which wiped out 1/4 to 1/3 of Europe's entire population in only 4 short years during the mid 14th century!

The Teutonic Knights

A chivalric order of warrior/monks incepted in 1198 during the Third Crusade via the spiritual authority of Pope Celestine in order to protect and provide for German pilgrims and Christendom's holdings in the Holy Land. It was from their crusades in the pagan lands they conquered along the Baltic coast in present day Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and northwest Poland during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, however, that the Teutonic Knights' renown (and notoriety) would be heralded. It was from the Order's holdings in the Baltics that the Kingdom of Prussia would come into existence. It is also from the Teutonic Knights' battle standard, a black cross against a white background, that the famed military decoration known as the Iron Cross originated and still survives today as the emblem of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr).

Of Karl the Great, Europe & the West

Aka Charlemagne, the Father of Europe, Karl was, in fact, a German and as King of the Franks, a West German tribe, took control of the former Western Roman Empire and reinstituted it as the Holy Roman Empire in 800 A.D.!

Germania, 2000 Years Ago!

Who are the Germans, where did they (we) come from and how did our ancient ancestors come to settle in western central Europe?