With the attention of the Bush administration focused on Iraq, the growing crisis in North Dakota has received little attention. Is America going to have a second war on the Dakotan peninsula? Will the Bush administration convince North Dakota to dismantle its nuclear arsenal? Will "sunshine" talks between North and South Dakota resume? Will the two Dakotas ever reunify?


1889- 23rd President Benjamin Harrison admits Dakota into the Union as the 39th state.

1936- William Langer is elected Governor of Dakota.

1945- Fred Aandahl seizes control of Dakota in a coup, naming himself governor-for-life.

1946- Civil war breaks out in Dakota. The northern half of the state secedes on August 23 with the secret support of the Communist Canadian government. Despite President Harry S. Truman's attempts to reunite the state, North and South Dakotas are created.

1947- "Great Leader" Fred Aandahl travels to Washington, D.C. to speak before Congress. He declares North Dakota a "sovereign state, beholden neither to South Dakota nor America as a whole." Congress officially condemns North Dakota, calling it a "Communist state" and "an overwhelming threat to national security." President Truman orders the United States Army to take up positions along the North Dakota/ South Dakota border.

1949- North Dakota officially aligns itself with Communist Canada and begins receiving aid.

1950- After three years of rising tensions, North Dakota, backed by Canada, invades South Dakota on June 25. President Truman appeals to the United Nations for a U.S.-led "police action." The U.N. agrees. The Dakotan War begins.

1951- Liberation of Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, on April 21, as a combined U.S. Army/South Dakotan Army pushes the North Dakotan Army back over the border.

1953- Armistice treaty is signed in Rapid City, South Dakota. Dakotan War officially ends, though North and South Dakota will remain separate states. Tensions remain between North and South Dakota, though fighting remains isolated.

1968- Hoping to reestablish relations with the world's superpowers, North Dakota signs the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) along with the United States, the Soviet Union, and 58 other countries.

1971- North Dakota secretly begins research into nuclear weaponry, in violation of the NPT.

1988- The Olympic Games are held in Pierre, South Dakota. North Dakota, after being denied the opportunity to cohost the games, refuses to participate. Cuba and Ethiopia also boycott in support of North Dakota.

1993- North Dakota announces its withdrawal from the NPT and bars inspections of nuclear facilities by U.N. weapons inspectors. President Clinton condemns North Dakota's actions.

1994- North Dakotan leader Fred Aandahl dies, after ruling for nearly 50 years. His son (by marriage), John Hoeven, holds on to power and dubs himself "Dear Leader." The Clinton Administration drafts the "Agreed Framework," which bars North Dakota from attempting to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Dear Leader Hoeven signs the agreement. For the time being, North Dakota's nuclear weapons program is put on hold.

1999- North Dakota fires a test missile over Minnesota. President Clinton condemns the action.

2001- Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, President Bush names North Dakota--along with Iran and Iraq--as part of an "Axis of Evil" that supports terrorism. Dear Leader Hoeven expresses outrage.

2002- Dear Leader Hoeven announces that North Dakota has tested and is mass-producing nuclear weapons. The announcement stuns the world. President Bush condemns North Dakota's actions. South Dakota and Minnesota shit pants.

2003- Thwarting diplomatic discussions, Dear Leader Hoeven declares that any sanctions brought against North Dakota would constitute a "declaration of war." A tense standoff begins.


John Hoeven, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of North Dakota and ruler-for-life of North Dakota, was born in southeast Bismarck in 1957. His father, Fred Aandahl, ruled North Dakota from 1945 until Aandahl's death in 1994.

Little is known about John Hoeven (or "Dear Leader," as he is known to North Dakotans). What is known is drawn largely from North Dakota's state-controlled media, which is often filled with flowery praise for the state's ruler. Hoeven is known to enjoy expensive cognac, American movies, and Looney Tunes cartoons. He has been married for over 20 years to wife Mikey L. Hoeven. Together, they have two children.


Although exact figures are unknown, the United States Department of Defense believes North Dakota has somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200 nuclear weapons hidden in missile silos around the state.


Positioned just 35 miles from the North Dakota/South Dakota demilitarized zone, South Dakota's capital, Pierre, is within striking distance from North Dakota's nuclear arsenal and its massive artillery. This situation has led to a lasting standoff between the two states, as North Dakota could easily destroy South Dakota's capital.


"The leaders of North Dakota have been a thorn in America's side for long enough. The United States will no longer tolerate their harboring of terrorists, just as we will no longer tolerate it from Iraq and Iran." --from his January 29, 2002 "Axis of Evil" speech before Congress

"I loathe [North Dakota Governor] John Hoeven. He's a twerp, a pygmy. I've got a visceral reaction to him." --from a speech at a Republican fundraiser in Rapid City, South Dakota

"We would be willing to offer up aid, a kind hand, if John Hoeven and his wife would cease nuclear proliberation [sic]." --from a January 13, 2003 speech in the White House press room

For more information about the North Dakotan crisis, visit our website at www.thestranger.com.