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Will Bergfeld: Anti-War is Not Unpatriotic

Will Bergfeld was proud of his German heritage and his American citizenship, but when World War I broke out his loyalties and political activities suddenly became suspect. All that Janice Windle, Bergfeld's granddaughter, knew was that he'd been a hard-working rural mail carrier and union organizer in Texas. While working on a book about her family, she was shocked to discover the extent of the wartime persecution her grandfather and other German-Americans had undergone. Windle was more surprised to learn that her mother remembered seeing Will Bergfeld's arrest. Windle also found transcripts of her grandfather's federal court case for protesting conscription.

My Story

Socialists and Communists. Will Bergfeld got a job as a rural ranch mail carrier ... (1:10)
Protesting the Draft. World War I was approaching. There was a lot of talk about ... (0:59)
Arrested for Political Dissent. My mother says that she spent a lot of time looking at ... (1:14)


Anti-war. Protesting against any of the foreign policies of a U.S. administration, especially a President's decision to go to war, has often been viewed as a threat by that administration. The experiences of Will Bergfeld, Gren Whitman, Peggy Hutchison, Bridget Colvin, George Main and Eric Shaw connect and contrast this situation across time.