Gerald Nye was an American politician who represented North Dakota in the U.S. Senate from 1925 to 1945. Photo: Harris & Ewing / U.S. Library of Congress

James Giago Davies: Is there another war around the corner?

Another Pearl Harbor may be coming
Native Sun News Today Contributing Editor

There is Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and he’s a pretty good guy, but the Nye I want to talk about is Gerald Nye, the Isolationist Guy, a North Dakota senator, who wanted to keep the US out of WWII.

Dr. Seuss, who was in those days drawing political cartoons, drew a famous cartoon of a seriously bummed out pair, Nye and his fellow isolationist Wheeler, on a dying isolationist ostrich in the desert, the tide of history having turned dramatically against them.

On the face of it, you think, Nye was against war and war profiteering, what’s wrong with that?

James Giago Davies. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

But like so many seemingly positive things, there are hidden agendas that speak to an Un-American fanaticism. You don’t get elected to the senate by being a bleeding heart progressive, not even in the North Dakota of the 1920’s, where the electorate is mostly of German stock. Nye deemed himself a progressive Republican but his main focus was isolationism, keeping the US out of any global conflict. To protect Germany and German interests.

During the 1930’s he headed up the Nye Committee, which explored the dark history of war profiteering by American companies during WWI. This dead horse was dug up and re-beaten to cover up Nye’s real goal, which was to bury the negative perception of the Kaiser’s Imperial Germany under a mountain of progressive outrage over war profiteering.

Why? To gin up isolationist resistance to any US entry into any upcoming war, and people certainly saw the war in Europe coming.

Nye can claim he was progressive, but all of his friends were friends of Nazi Germany, and many spewed fascist rhetoric excusing and denying aggressive German ambitions and intentions.

The hard working German folks in North Dakota certainly didn’t want yet another world war with Germany as the Dr Evil bad guy, and so Nye had plenty of support back home, which by connecting up with people like Robert Rice Reynolds, Gerald L.K. Smith, Robert LaFollette, and Burton K Wheeler, he was able to help build isolationism into a nationwide hue and cry. The general public would have identified most of these men as left of center, but the isolationist policy they pursued was well right of center. Later years would reveal an agenda of supporting causes and ideas, like anti-Semitism, that would end their post war political careers.


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James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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