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Anti war movement & the Espionage Act

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markus grass

on 5 October 2017

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Transcript of Anti war movement & the Espionage Act

Verfassungsstaat oder Polizeistaat?
Verfassungsmäßig garantierte Grundrechte wie z.B.

Meinungsfreiheit
Versammlungsfreiheit

stark eingeschränkt aufgrund der „Notwendigkeit“, Kriegshindernisse wie den Widerstand von KriegsgegnerInnen zu brechen
U.S. neutral?
The U.S. had been shipping great amounts of war materials to Germany's enemies

Britische Seeblockade = völkerrechtswidrig
Creation of national consesus for war vs.
spontaneous urge to fight
no spontaneous urge to fight:

1 million men needed - only 73.000 volunteered
a draft of young men (Verpflichtung zum Wehrdienst)
propaganda campaign
Conscription - involuntary servitude?
Does conscription (Wehrdienstpflicht) deprive citizens of their liberty and of their right to act as free men?

Is conscription involuntary servitude - forcing citizens to kill against their will?
Several thousand people were tried and around 900 went to prison under the Espionage Act in World War I
The Espionage Act -
a violation of the constitution?
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging (einschränken) the freedom of speech, or of the press."

Does the Espionage Act, by prosecuting free speech and writing, violate the First Amendment to the constitution?
Anti war movment & the Espionage Act
Economic necessities behind decision to enter the war?
J.P. Morgan bank lending money in great amounts:
makes great profits
ties American finance closely to the interest of a British victory in the war against Germany
Will the Entente win the war?
February 1917:
Revolution started in Russia

In the French armies: 68 divisions out of 112 had mutinies -
U.S.-American troops were badly needed on the Western front
Economic necessities behind decision to enter the war?
Penalties up to 20 years for:
causing insubordination (Ungehorsam), disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty in the military forces

obstruction of recruiting of soldiers
Socialists against the tide
Socialist Party made remarkable gains in municipal elections of 1917:
Party vote from
4% to 35 % in Chicago
The declaration of war in April 1917 -
A crime against the people of the United States in the interests of the financiers of Wall Street?
War according to Eugene Debs
Betrayal and treason?
Were socialists, by obstructing the recruitment of soldiers for the American army, striking the sword from the hand of the nation while she was engaged in defending herself against a foreign and brutal power?

1914: serious recession = industries working far
below capacity

1915: war orders for the
Allies (mostly GB) had stimulated the economy

April 1917: more than $2 billion worth of goods had
been sold to the Allies (“Entente-Mächte”).
Espionage Act - June 1917
Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder.
The master class (herrschende Klasse) has always declared the wars; the subject class (beherrschte Klasse) has always fought the battles.
The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.
"Victims" of the Espionage Act
When elected in 1912, President Woodrow Wilson promised:
The United States will stay neutral in the case of a European conflict

On April 6, 1917, the U.S. Congress declared war upon the German Empire

President Wilson:
"Making the world safe for democracy"
Making the world safe for democracy?
Easter Rising in Dublin in1916:
Against the War
For an independent Irish Republic
In 1915, the British liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine, causing the deaths of 1,198 people, including 124 American.
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