F.V. Riethdorf was a professor of German at Woodstock College. He was born in Germany, and he served in the German army before moving to Canada. During the war he was famous for his position as a native German with strong loyalty to the British Empire and deep opposition to the Kaiser. Articles published from Toronto to Kelowna, B.C. reported on Riethdorf’s defense of the German people and hatred of Prussian militarism which he blamed for the war.
Rev. C.R. Tappert, also a native German, was the new pastor at the new St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Berlin, and had just moved up from the United States. Tappert challenged Riethdorf’s claims, and defended the German system of government.
Responses to their disagreements, even from Toronto, were sympathetic to Riethdorf and suggest that many Canadians did not fault a German for his love of his native country, but were outraged by the pro-German sentiment of men like Tappert.
(“War Over in Few Months,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 22 March 1915.; “Traiters to the New World,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 26 April 1915.; “Remarkable German Denunciation of Present War, Kelowna Record, 3 September 1914.; “Mr. Tappert’s First Love,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 26 March 1915.; “As Others See Us,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 30 March 1915.; “Prof. F.V. Riethdorf, Woodstock, Replies to Rev. C.R. Tappert,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 30 March 1915.