Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Frequently one hears reference to North Dakota the "isolationist state." Indeed, North Dakota's vociferous opposition to World Wars I and II and its Senator Gerald P. Nye's investigations of the munitions industry all warrant the description of North Dakota as an isolationist state. But what of the cold war period when the enemy was Asiatic rather than European? This study of the first year of the Korean War is an attempt to determine what North Dakotans thought about fighting a war in Asia.
The press which had been divided over the involvement of the United States in earlier wars now uniformly supported America's involvement. It is not surprising that a majority of the individual citizens writing letters opposed the war. Support for the war among individuals came mainly from large cities, especially Fargo and Grand Forks. Opposition to the war was voiced by small town citizens and farmers writing poorly constructed letters.
Although North Dakotans again proved to be isolationist in the first year of the Korean War they opposed the war not so much because they thought it was fostered by eastern financiers and industrialists to make a profit as was the case prior to World War I--but because "subversion" in the State Department due to "ineptitude" and "bungling" had committed American soldiers to an Asian land war which North Dakotans felt they could not win and one in which they did not belong.
Sponberg, Michael R., "North Dakota and the Korean War, 1950-1951: A Study in Public Opinion" (1969). Theses and Dissertations. 3681.