Martin Dies, Jr.

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Martin Dies, Jr.

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1931 – January 3, 1945
Preceded by John Calvin Box
Succeeded by Jesse Martin Combs

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1959
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by District abolished

In office
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Edward J. Hart (1945)

Born November 5, 1900
Colorado City, Texas
Died November 14, 1972 (aged 72)
Lufkin, Texas
Political party Democratic
Actor Fredric March, his wife Florence and Martin Dies at House Un-American Activities Committee hearings in Los Angeles, 1940

Martin Dies, Jr. (November 5, 1900November 14, 1972) was a Texas politician and a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. His father, Martin Dies, was also a member of the United States House of Representatives.[1][2]



Dies was born in Colorado City, Texas. Dies was elected to Texas's 2nd District in the House of Representatives in 1930. Originally, Dies supported the New Deal, but he turned against it by 1937.

House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities

Dies along with Samuel Dickstein created the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities which became HUAC in 1946. Dies was its first chairman, serving from 1937 to 1944. Samuel Dickstein would later be revealed as a Soviet agent in the Venona papers.

In pre-war years and during World War II, HUAC became known as the Dies Committee. The original intent of the committee was to investigate nationalist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the German American Bund. However under Dies the committee began his focus almost exclusively on communist subversion in America.

As to investigations into the activities of the "Klan,", the Committee did little. When HUAC's chief counsel Ernest Adamson announced that: "The committee has decided that it lacks sufficient data on which to base a probe," committee member John E. Rankin added: "After all, the KKK is an old American institution."

Later political life

Dies was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in a special election held in late June, 1941 to fill the seat vacated by the death of Senator Morris Sheppard. Dies finished a distant fourth, losing to the sitting Governor, Pappy O'Daniel who narrowly beat Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson in Johnson's first run for the Senate.

Dies was a critic of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, having found 280 salaried CIO organizers within its ranks funded by the Soviet-backed Communist Party of the USA. Dies retired from the House in 1944 after the CIO began a voter registration drive in his district and found a candidate to oppose him. Dies supported the anti-Roosevelt Texas Regulars in the 1944 presidential election.


Dies was reelected to the House in 1952 in an at-large seat when Texas received another seat through reapportionment. Dies ran for the Senate again in 1957, finishing second to Ralph Yarborough. Dies retired again from the House in 1958. He died on November 14, 1972.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Calvin Box
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2 congressional district

Succeeded by
Jesse Martin Combs
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's At-large congressional district

Succeeded by
District abolished
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Ottis E. Lock
Texas Senate, District 3
Succeeded by
Charles Wilson


  1. "Ex-Rep. Martin Dies, 71, Is Dead. Led Un-American Activities Unit.". New York Times. November 15, 1972. Retrieved 2008-03-20. "Former Representative Martin Dies, first chairman of the controversial House Committee on Un-American Activities, died tonight, apparently of a heart attack. He was 71 years old. engaging in "un-American activities."" 
  2. Martin Dies, Jr.. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2011-04-19. “Dies, Martin, Jr., (son of Martin Dies), a Representative from Texas; born in Colorado, Mitchell County, Tex., November 5, 1900; moved with his parents to Beaumont, Tex., in 1902; ...”

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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