Dale Martin from the History Department at Montana State University describes a portentous time in Montana during the First World War. After an introductory overview, he first examines the common belief that more men from Montana served in the military during the war, proportional to population, than from any other state. Difficulties in knowing the population of Montana in 1917-1918, a time when a decade of rapid growth quickly changed to several years of major decline, make it difficult to either prove or disprove the claim. Next he examines the wartime suppression of free speech–especially speech critical of the federal government and the war effort–first through state legislation against sedition, which months later was adapted to become part of a federal law. The presentation ends with a story from Zurich on the Hi-Line of wartime fears proved harmless.
Recorded at Museum of the Rockies, May 3, 2017.