Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Tobias Frazier helped break Hindenberg Line
BISHINIK March 2000

According to an interview with The Antlers American in 1966, Tobias Frazier was a crucial player in the Allied Forces’ success during World War I. The credit for who was first to come up with the idea of speaking in the Choctaw language to transmit messages across the field telephone lines and also by runners has been given to several different men. Frazier is one of those Choctaws who is said to have had the brainstorm of carrying on the conversations in Choctaw, using Choctaws serving in units further back from the front.

According to Frazier in the 1966 interview, the ability to speak Choctaw helped break the Hindenberg line. In October 1918, the American Forces were trying to break the strong defensive line of the Germans with no success. Every time they prepared to go “over the top” to assault the line, the Germans were prepared for them. It was apparent the enemy had tapped and decoded the American communications lines.

The Germans were not able to decode the American messages given in Choctaw and the result is a glorious part of history.

Frazier was wounded and sent to the hospital but was called out to make use of his linguistic talent again when the Americans were to assault another German stronghold at Metz. Thankfully, the Armistice was signed before this became necessary.

According to his granddaughter, Alicia Frazier Standefer, Tobias Frazier received the Purple Heart. He was raised near Rattan in McCurtain County. Frazier had three children, Evelyn White, Ruth McMillan and T.W. “Bill” Frazier, Jr.