Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Americans Join War

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s entry into World War One.  It suffered 110,000 deaths, including 43,000 due to the Spanish flu pandemic.  The German Foreign minister, Arthur Zimmermann invited  Mexico to join the war as Germany's ally against the United States in the Zimmermann Telegram. In return, the Germans would send Mexico money and help it recover the territories of TexasNew Mexico and Arizona that Mexico lost during the Mexican–American War 70 years earlier. British intelligence intercepted the telegram and passed the information on to Washington. Wilson released the Zimmerman note to the public and Americans saw it as a casus belli—a cause for war.

Around 300,000 American men evaded or refused conscription in World War I. Aliens such as Emma Goldman were deported, while naturalized or even native-born citizens, including Eugene Debs, lost their citizenship for their activities.

" We are neither pro-German nor pro-Ally. We are Socialists, international Socialists, and we have no use, not one bit, for capitalist wars. We have no enemies among the workers of other countries; and no friends among the capitalists of any country; the workers of all countries are our friends and the capitalists of all countries are our enemies.The class war is our war and our only war. We have no interest in national wars for ruling class conquest and plunder. In all these wars the workers are slaughtered while their masters wax fat in the spoils of conquest.The time has come for the workers to cease fighting the battle of their masters and to fight their own; to cease being slaughtered like cattle for the profit of the ruling class and to line up in the class struggle regardless of race or nationality for the overthrow of class rule and for the emancipation of their class and humanity. These are our principles and convictions as international revolutionary Socialists, and if this be treason we plead guilty and stand ready to take the consequences." Debs

 Debs' speeches against the Wilson administration and the war earned the enmity of President Woodrow Wilson, who later called Debs a "traitor to his country." On June 16, 1918, Debs made a speech in Canton, Ohio, urging resistance to the military draft of World War I. He was arrested and charged with ten counts of sedition, found guilty and sentenced to 10 years prison.

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