James W. Gerard, U.S. Ambassador to Germany

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James Watson Gerard

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of James Watson Gerard, Jr. and Jennie Jones Angel
Husband of Mary Gerard

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About James W. Gerard, U.S. Ambassador to Germany


James Watson Gerard (August 25, 1867 - September 6, 1951) was a U.S. lawyer and diplomat.


Gerard was born in Geneseo, N. Y. He graduated from Columbia in 1890 and from New York Law School. He was chairman of the Democratic campaign committee of New York County for four years, and served as major of the National Guard of the State of New York for four years. He was appointed to the New York Supreme Court in 1908, where he served as a justice until 1911. Under President Woodrow Wilson, he served as the American Ambassador to Germany from 1913 to 1917. The German government asked him to leave in January 1917. He left Germany in February, and retired from diplomatic service entirely in July of that year.

In 1914, he was the Democratic - Tammany Hall candidate for U.S. Senator from New York. He defeated Anti-Tammany candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Democratic primary, but lost the election to James W. Wadsworth, Jr. On the declaration of war by the United States, he was recalled from his post of ambassador at Berlin and took up the practice of law in New York City. The George H. Doran Company of New York City published two books Gerard wrote on his experiences titled My Four Years in Germany released in 1917 and the following year, Face to Face with Kaiserism. My Four Years in Germany was filmed in 1918.

Gerard once said in a speech: "The Foreign Minister of Germany once said to me 'your country does not dare do anything against Germany, because we have in your country five hundred thousand Germans reservists [emigrants] who will rise in arms against your government if you dare to make a move against Germany.' Well, I told him that that might be so, but that we had five hundred thousand -and one- lamp posts in this country, and that that was where the reservists would be hanging the day after they tried to rise."

Ambassador Gerard was of major incidental importance in the rise of Warner Brothers movie producers as his book My Four Years in Germany was the source of the Warner's first nationally syndicated film of the same name.

Gerard's wife, Mary, was the daughter of copper magnate Marcus Daly, head of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company that developed the mines of Butte, Montana. Because of his wife's connections to Montana, he held a ranch north of Hamilton, Montana during his lifetime. He died September 6, 1951, in New York City.

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