WWII question

I recently read that Congress voted wih only one vote in opposition to declare war on Japan. My question is: who was the one person that voted in opposition and why did he vote that way?

It was Jeanette Rankin , a Congresswoman from Montana. IIRC, she was strongly pacifist, so much so that she thought that no declaration of war should be unanimous. Perhaps she was holding out until the continental U.S. was invaded…but she argued in 1941 that FDR had baited the US into attacking Pearl Harbour.

Interestingly, she’d been a Republican Congresswoman during World War One as well, and voted against the US entering WWI.

A sympathetic potted biography, one of several on the 'net is at:


Not he, she. IIRC from the Ken Burns documentary on the Congress, it was a woman rep from Montana who was firmly committed to non-violence. What made it so remarkable was that she had voted against declaring war in WWI too. I’m sure you’ll find something about it on the web – it was something of a legendary vote.

Damn you scribe.


It was Jeanette Rankin, a Montana Congresswoman. She justified her vote by arguing that FDR had baited the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbour.

You may be interested to know that she had been a Republican Congresswoman from 1916 to 1918. She was also part of the group who voted against the US entering the First World War.

A few potted bios on the 'net are available, if you’re still curious.

It was, of course, the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbour.

(D’oh! Previewing the post is a good thing!)

As for Ms. Rankin, I believe her career in Congress was over shortly after, and primarily due to, that vote.

Reference to Animal House, can’t remember the other gems. Ironically it was by a frat brother who was to become a US Senator (in the movie).

I believe tomndebb is quoting the film “Animal House” (IIRC John Belushi’s character). Clever remark - probably much too clever for most of the audience :wink:


If I’m not mistaken, I believe waterj2 is quoting the next line in the film. I think, perhaps, the reference was duly noted.

Yes, I believe the correct reponse to waterj2’s post would have been:

For those too young to remember:

D-Day: War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.
Bluto: And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough… [thinks hard] the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go! [runs out, alone; then returns]