A dash to the top

The unrest and chaotic chain of events caused the public to try to get at the root of the problem. As the ultimate beneficiary of all this political strife, most felt they were entitled to know why it was happening.

The first of several failed attempts to restore congress to political power began with an independent group of vigilante investigators trying to find out who exactly Arthur Dash was and why he had been appointed in the first place.

The ensuing investigation yielded more heat than light by adding layer upon layer of confusing, conflicting and faux information.

One story had it as in 1952 he settled in Missoula, Montana, working in a laundry-dry cleaner. In 1955 he married Beulah Mae Busch. In 1956, he left his pregnant wife who filed for divorce the same year. He went Canada with the intention of enlisting in the RCAF. Stopping in North Dakota and with no money left to go or stay, he assumed a new identity as Arthur Dash the name of a former school friend from Ronan, Montana whom he knew had been reported missing in action since 1945.

According to another version, he had been imprisoned for ten years for bribery. After his release he had bought a second-hand uniform in a Goodwill store. He found a soldier’s passport in the name of Arthur Daschle in the pockets. He also claimed the had been captured in 1943 at the aborted Bulge in Belgium and that the Germans had imprisoned him for 5 years. After an escape attempt in 1946, he was accused of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in an East German prison in Leipzig and later transferred to the Gulag in the Russian Zone. He claimed to have been starved and tortured, but was eventually able to escape and was picked up by a Chinese ship after walking over 2,000 miles along the Trans-Siberian Railway and along the Manchurian coast to Vladivostok.

June 1956, Arthur Daschle’s parents in Roscoe, Montana received a letter from Hong Kong, in which Dash described his story and asked help. They turned the letter over to the Billings Gazette, and the story quickly spread in the US and international press.

At first, these accounts about Dash’s identity and history were ignored by the public and dismissed as lies and propaganda.

 

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