Erik Kirschbaum asks whatever happened to German culture in America:
Indeed, aside from Oktoberfest, German culture has largely disappeared from the American landscape. What happened?
At the turn of the last century, Germans were the predominant ethnic group in the United States — some eight million people, out of a population of 76 million. New York City had one of the world’s largest German-speaking populations, trailing only Berlin and Vienna, with about a quarter of its 3.4 million people conversing auf Deutsch. Entire communities, spreading from northern Wisconsin to rural Texas, consisted almost exclusively of German immigrants and their children.
As they spread through the country, they founded church denominations, singing societies, even whole industries — pre-Prohibition brewing was dominated by Germans, whose names live on in brands like Pabst, Busch and Miller. Their numbers shaped the media — there were 488 German-language daily and weekly newspapers around 1900 keeping the language and culture alive — and politics: Midwestern German-Americans were a backbone of the early Republican Party.
Read the whole thing — it’s a fascinating piece.
My short answer to the question though is just one word: Assimilation.
We used to be quite good at it.