North Dakota Senators Active in the Post-War Era

NYE COMMITTEE BLAMES BANKERS, MUNITIONS MAKERS FOR GREAT WAR Washington, D.C. February 20, 1936 Senator Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota has just wrapped up three years of the investigation into the roles of bankers and munitions makers in forcing the United States into the Great War in 1917. Nye, the former editor of the Griggs County Sentinel Courier News and a U.S. senator since 1925, has gained a national reputation for his Senate hearings into these controversial matters. His committee has questioned 200 witnesses, compiled 13,750 pages of testimony, and issued seven major reports. Often the brunt of administrative and partisan criticism, the Nye Committee has delved deeply into business records and correspondence. It has not been an easy task. The committee at one point charged the internationally powerful House of Morgan with obstructing justice when it refused to cooperate. J. P. Morgan himself met face to face with Nye over the hearing table. The discussion was heated; Morgan backed down; Nye got the records.

Senator Nye speaking out against American involvement in another world war. Courtesy of D. Jerome Tweton.

With Japan at war with China and with Germany and Italy on the march, the American people are very interested in the Nye hearings. Perhaps, they think, there may be ways to avoid getting into another war. Nye and his committee are convinced that there are lessons to be learned from the Great War. He is certain that the selfish interests of financiers and munitions makers were responsible for American entry into the Great War in 1917. The Nye committee has proposed legislation that may keep us out of what looks like another war; government ownership of the munitions industry, high wartime profits taxes, stringent regulation of wartime industrial mobilization. Regardless of the outcome, North Dakota’s Nye has emerged as one of the nation’s most well known and popular political leaders.

A 1938 campaign folder carried this picture with the caption: “Senator Nye challenges J. P. Morgan.” Courtesy of D. Jerome Tweton.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LYNN J. FRAZIER? Washington, D.C. December 31, 1940 You remember Lynn J. Frazier, don’t you? He was the Nonpartisan League’s governor for almost three terms. Almost, because in 1921 the voters recalled him, threw him out of office. He has spent almost two decades in the United States Senate. In a strange twist of fate, the voters who tossed him out as governor in 1921 elected him to the Senate in 1922. He has been there ever since. In the Senate he has worked very hard on behalf of farmers, Indians, and peace. He has fought vigorously for a farm program that would provide farmers with the cost of production and has insisted upon fair settlements of Indian land claims. He may be best known for his efforts in the peace movement. In every session of Congress from 1926 to 1939, he has introduced a resolution for a constitutional amendment that would make American participation in war legally impossible. Short of this, he firmly believes that for the United States to go to war should take a majority vote of the American people. He is best known as a pacifist. His senate career has just come to an end. He lost his reelection bid to former Governor William Langer and will retire to his Hoople farm.

By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton


Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Grade Level

3-7, 9-12

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change

Related Media

  1. Dakota Datebook: Gerald P. Nye
    Audio: A brief look at North Dakota Senator Gerald P. Nye's views on war.
  2. Through the Lens: North Dakota Returns to Two-Party Politics
    Video: One of North Dakota's biggest changes in the 1950s was in its politics.
  3. Dakota Datebook: Lynn Joseph Frazier
    Audio: A brief look into the life of North Dakota politician Lynn J. Frazier.