In the second half of the 1800s, Germany suffered massive urban overcrowding due to its shift from an agrarian society to an industrialized nation. As it changed, Germany found itself in the throes of a concomitant population boom and rampant poverty. Low-priced American grain only exacerbated Germany’s economic woes. Germans in large numbers were sleeping on city streets. The social upheaval ignited the so-called “Flight from the East.” In the 1850s, as Beethoven’s Ninth played on for the secure classes, a million desperate Germans boarded steamers with their luggage and their memories, immigrating to American shores. Some 215,000 came in 1854 alone.