During World War I, the United States fought against Germany and its allies. As a result, there was a significant amount of anti-German sentiment across the United States, including in Ohio. Many Americans of German ancestry felt that they had to do all that they could to support the United States war effort and prove that they were loyal, patriotic Americans. One way that they attempted to accomplish this goal was through the German-American Alliance. John Schwab was the head of Ohio's German-American Alliance. He argued that "We have selected this country as our home and we should be willing to defend it." Many German-Americans in Ohio agreed with Schwab and chose to actively contribute to the war effort.
Before the United States had joined the war in 1917, the German-American Alliance had taken a different stance. World War I had begun in Europe in 1914. Like a number of other German-American organizations at that time, the alliance had supported the German war effort. Its members also raised money to provide relief for German civilians suffering in the war. Once the United States joined the war effort, the German-American Alliance ended its support of Germany and promoted an American victory instead.