Wendell Berge

Wendell Berge

Wendell Berge (1941 - 1943)

Early History: Wendell Berge was born in 1903 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mr. Berge earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and his law degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After a short time in private practice in New York, Mr. Berge joined the U.S. Department of Justice in 1930 as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General, assigned to the Antitrust Division. He served for a decade in various capacities in the Antitrust Division.

Tenure: In 1941, President Roosevelt appointed Mr. Berge to the position of Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. As leader of the Division, Mr. Berge implemented President Roosevelt’s wartime directives on federal crimes and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the United States in matters of federal criminal procedure.

In 1943, Attorney General Francis Biddle asked Mr. Berge to exchange positions with Tom Clark, then Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division, as part of a Department reorganization aimed at improving efficiency.

Later Career: Mr. Berge served as Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division from 1943 to 1947, leading the Department’s efforts to restore commercial competition and break up monopolies in the wake of World War II. While Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division, Mr. Berge published two books: Cartels: Challenge to a Free World (1944) and Economic Freedom for the West (1946). In 1947, Mr. Berge returned to private practice. Mr. Berge died in 1955 in Washington, D.C.

This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Criminal Division, please contact the Division.

Updated August 15, 2016

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