In 1918, William Zittell was accused of sedition by coworkers and upper management from the Bitter Root Stock Farm. According to the testimonies of these acquaintances, Zittell engaged in derogatory speech denouncing the American military and was questioned about his loyalties to the United States. In his testimony, Zittell defended himself by denying all accusations regarding his behavior and reiterated that he was an American citizen and loyal to his country. During this time, cases like Zittell’s were tried under the jurisdiction of the Council of Defense, which was responsible for trying and convicting acts based on public opinion. A witness against Zittell stated, “If [Zittell] is not for us, he is against us”. This statement exemplifies the nationalistic views many citizens of Montanans held at the beginning of World War I. Zittell is yet another case of how of the German-American population was scrutinized and how the public attached negative connotations to the ethnic background of these citizens.
Source: Council of Defense Records - Hearing Transcript, 10/07/1918, R5 19 (17:6-6), Montana Historical Society
Cartoon drawn by James Montgomery Flagg, posted on History on the Net, "The WWI Home Front: War Hysteria & the Persecution of German-Americans," http://www.historyonthenet.com/authentichistory/1914-1920/2-homefront/4-hysteria/index.html