American Opposition to WWI Matthew Duncan Amy Willim Sarah Gibson Robbie Engler Kyle Walker Shawn O’Connor
Outline Slides 1, 3, 4, 5 (Title, Introduction, Vocabulary, Prelude, How the Great War Began) – Amy Willim Slides 6- 8 (Emma Goldman)- Sarah Gibson Slides 9-11 (John Reed)- Kyle Walker Slides 12-14 ( Robert Lafollette)- Shawn O’ Connor Slides 15-17 (Eugene Debs) – Robbie Engler Slides 18-20 (Victor Berger)- Sarah Gibson Slides 21-23 (Haywood) –Matthew Duncan Conclusion, Significance, and Bibliography- Matthew Duncan Video Presentation! Power Point Presentation- 20 Minutes Video- 10 Minutes
Vocabulary • IWW- Industrial Workers of the World. Believe there should not be a wage system and that all of the unions should unite as one. • Propaganda-the spreading of ideas or beliefs that help a particular cause and hurt an opposing cause by using half truths using famous people. • Fourteen points-Woodrow Wilson’s plan for peace in Europe after WWI. Required the surrender of the central powers and moral ideals set by the Allies. • League of nations- founded during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919-1920. It attempted to secure peace after WWI. • Espionage-spying or gaining information through intelligence work. • Pacifist-opposition to war or violence through peaceful means of settling disputes. • Socialism- point of view that the middle working class is most important. • Capitalism- point of view where private funds and pricing of goods and services are determined through the market. . • Espionage Act- 1917- crime for a person to give information to the enemies of the war. Those convicted of esipionage would pay 10,000 and 20 years in prison. • Sedition Act of 1918- amendment to the espionage act. “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the u.s. or armed forces was forbidden. • Radicals- a group of people holding political views from either the far left or far right. Extreme. • Bolshevik regime- fraction of Russia who seized power during the Russian Revolution fo 1917 and later formed the Soviet Union
In the midst of WWI activist movies, posters, and legislations, there was a faint underbelly known as opposition. In the uphill battle to have their views be heard, several anti WWI activists took a stand for what they believed in – peace. The following presentation will display the views of those who did not remain silent.
How the Great War Began The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, by a Serbian nationalist was the culmination of tensions already existing in Europe due to imperialism, militarism, extensive treaties, and nationalism. Because of Austria-Hungary's close relationship with Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm took the opportunity presented by the assassination to begin his strike for empire. An unforeseen consequence, however, came when the Serbians invoked their ties with the Russian Empire. This brought cousins Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas to odds. Soon afterward, the treaties tying the Russians, British, and French led to the tumultuous European free-for-all now known as "The Great War". The opposition to American entry into this war viewed it as a squabble amongst the higher classes of nations at the cost of lower class blood. When it was revealed that such tycoons as Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan, Jr. had heavy investment in the Entente cause versus the Central Powers, the isolationist and pacifist argument was strengthened.
Emma Goldman June 27, 1869- May 14, 1940 Origin: Kaunas, Lithuania American Employment: Anti WWI activist Felony: Organized the No- Conscription League Day of Arrest: June 15, 1917 Deportation: December 21, 1919
Emma Goldman Beliefs • Not a pacifist • Most modern wars were capitalist • Felt that the war was at the expense of the working class • The draft was a form of illegitimate coercion. • Opposed the government’s military preparations • Antiwar effort was the product of a broad coalition of liberals, socialists, anarchists, and progressive unionists. Caption: “The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society” – Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman Contd. Anti WWI movements • Goldman started the No-Conscription League which encouraged war objectors to speak against the draft. • In response Goldman was arrested on June 15, 1917. • Convicted to two years in prison and possible deportation. • Goldman served term at the Missouri State Penitentiary In Jefferson City. • Released on September 27,1919. • J. Edgar Hoover arrested her soon after she was released. • Hoover swayed the court to deny Goldman’s citizenship and deport her. • On December 21, 1919, Goldman and other foreign born antiwar radicals were shipped off to the Soviet Union. • For the next twenty one years (1919-1940) Emma lived in a variety of different places outside of the U.S. • She soon found a home in Russia where she defended a revolution against the Bolshevik regime.
John Reed October 27, 1887- October 19, 1920 Origin: Portland, Oregon American Employment: Journalist Felony: criminal anarchy in Chicago Date of Arrest: November 1919 Deportation: N/A
John Reed Contd. • Beliefs • leftist sympathies • pro communism • pro labor unions • expressed anti WWI views through poetry. • Wrote several novels from the anti WWI prospective • Covered stories for anti WWI newspapers as well as communist newspapers.
John Reed Contd. Anti WWI Movements • Revolutionary writer and activist • Began Writing for The Masses, a Socialist newspaper, in 1913. • In 1914 Reed covered revolutionary fighting in Mexico. • Frequently arrested for organizing and defending fights • Helped form the Communist Party of the United States • Covered World War I for Metropolitan magazine • Wrote an anti WWI novel The War in Eastern Europe in 1916 • Personally knew Lenin • Became the leader of the Communist Labor Part in 1919. • Tried for treason and escaped to the Soviet Union • Reed died of typhus and was buried next to Bolshevik heroes beside the Kremlin wall.
Robert Marion La Follette- Fighting Bob Lafollette June 14, 1855- June 18, 1925 Origin: Primrose, Wisconsin American Employment: U.S. Congressman Governor of Wisconsin Senator from Wisconsin Presidential Candidate "In times of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war. As soon as prepared for, it insists on making war."
Robert Lafollette Cont. Beliefs • Opposed to WWI and the League of Nations • his views of evils were corporate monopoly at home and imperialism abroad. • Americans wanted radical solutions, not moderation on popular topics. • wanted the government takeover of railroads, no private utilities, easy credit for farmers, no child labor, womens unions rights, civil liberities, and no more U.S. imperialism in Latin America. Without these, he did not see how a president could justify joining the war. • described the war as a scheme to line the pockets of the corporations.
Robert Lafollette Contd. • Platform Opposed to WWI and the League of Nations • “I would not change my record on the war for that of any man, living or dead” • condemned in Washington as well as in his home state of Wisconsin as a traitor. • Tried to be reelected as a Senator but his war cries denounced him. • When told to give a speech that did not mention war in order to gain back lost voters, La Follette rebelled and in his speech he boomed, “I am going to be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate. I do not want the vote of a single citizen under any misapprehension of where I stand: I would not change my record on the war for that of any man, living or dead” • repeatedly risked political death rather than abandon his oppositional beliefs to WWI. • Owner of Lafollette’s Weekly which would turn into The Progressive • Held up the declaration of war for twenty four hours by refusing unanimous consent. • Many believed he would never win re-election to senate, but he proved them wrong. He was nominated for the Presidential Candidacy of the Progressive party in 1924. One Sixth of the vote went to Lafollette.
Eugene Debs November 5, 1855- October 12, 1926 Origin: Noblesville, Indiana Employment: Socialist Party Presidential Candidate Founder of the International Labor Union Founder of the International Workers of the World (IWW) Railroad Industry involvement Felony: not adhering to the Espionage Act Date Arrested: April 13, 1919
Eugene Debs Beliefs • WWI was in the interest of capitalism • The war benefited upper classes • Racism was an aspect of capitalism • Gained many socialist ideas from Karl Marx’s works. • Upheld the working class above all other classes and saw WWI as a threat to the common man
Eugene Debs Contd. • Elected to Indiana state legislature as a Democrat but only served one term. • Arrested under the Espionage Act of 1917 concerning several anti WWI statements he had made during multiple speeches. • Sentenced to serve ten years in prison and disenfranchised for life. • Debs v. United States-Supreme Court decision that upheld the Espionage Act of 1917. This case declared that Debs should go to prison. • When he was imprisoned, the May Riots of 1919 resulted when Charles Ruthenberg lead a protest march in Debs’ name. • While he wa sin prison, Debs ran for president in the 1920 election and received 3.4% of the vote. • December 25, 1921 President Warren G. Harding released him. • In 1924 Debs was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Victor Berger Feb 28,1860-August 7, 1929 Origin: Austria-Hungary American Employment: First Socialist in U.S. Congress Felony: violated the Espionage Act Date of Arrest: December 1919
Victor Berger Contd. Beliefs Four main points in anti WWI stance • War was a result of European imperialism • War was a result of capitalist profiteering • American involvement in the war would hurt the socialist cause • War was purely of European concern
Victor Berger Contd. • Socialist party branded the war a “crime against the people of the United States” • Berger publically attacked newspaper editors like Lucius Nieman from the Milwaukee Journal for his support of the war. • Chicago court trial December 9, 1918 for his ethnicity and political views. • sentenced to twenty years of work in Leavenworth prison. • Supreme court overturned the conviction in 1923. • After WWI Berger’s political career flourished. • United States Representative in the 1920’s. • opposed the League of Nations. “alliance of more or less plutocratic governments.”
William D. Haywood-Big Bill Haywood Feburary 4, 1869- May 18, 1928 Origin: Salt Lake City, Utah American Employment: Figure in the American Labor movement & IWW Felony: violationg the Espionage Act with the IWW Date Arrested: April 1918 Deportation: Haywood voluntarily fled the U.S. for Russia in 1921
Big Bill Haywood Contd. Beliefs • Industrial unionism • Direct action over political tactics • Respected working people • Saw WWI as an invention of Capitalists to make business rich. • WWI sacrificed young men for the elite.
Big Bill Haywood Contd. • He was in a series of IWW labor conflicts before WWI • Encouraged labor strikes and viewed the IWW as a group that could change any system. • Urged workers to resist joining the army and slow down wok in defense industries • IWW was raided by the Department of Justice when WWI began • President Wilson arrested 165 IWW members for “conspiring to hinder the draft, encourage desertion, and intimidate others in connection with labor disputes. • A five month long trial later, Haywood was arrested. • 1918- convicted of espionage and sedition laws on the grounds for calling a wartime strike • I921- Haywood fled the country while out on appeal and went to Russia • Became an advisor of the Soviet Labor Movement
WWI Opposition Significance • Many of the anti WWI radicals set examples for future wartime opposition events. • Wartime opposition had a huge effect on how citizens viewed the Espionage and Sedition Acts. • Heightened WWI opposition lead many Americans to believe that anti-patriotic meant pro-communist. This would slowly progress into the Red Scare. • Most, if not all prominent WWI opposition figures went on to rally for other important world causes. (ex. Haywood- Russian Labor movement, Goldman-Bolshevik revolution)
Conclusion • American Opposition to WWI was critical in how citizens viewed the war during such a time of crisis. With the involvement of anti WWI radicals both sides of the war could be clearly seen. These figures included: Emma Goldman, John Reed, Robert Lafollette, Eugene Debs, Victor Berger, and Big Bill Haywood • Also, the involvement of corporations like the Socialist Party and the IWW were key to portraying opposition to WWI. • Perhaps the most important aspect of American opposition to WWI was the Socialist point of view which called for giving back to the worker instead of the elite. The lasting effects of the opposition to WWI are still present in today’s society where it is now more acceptable to present one’s views on his country.
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