Page 3734

3734 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

the end slightly. But too much emphasis

cannot be laid upon the fact that the

war ended when the German army was

beaten in the field. When the armistice

was signed, the Germans were facing

absolute military disaster. Allied soldiers

and not makers of clever phrases were

the men who forced Germany to sign the

armistice.

The entrance of the United States into

the war caused a split in the Socialist

party. The more sensible leaders, like

John Spargo and Charles Edward Russell,

realized that the war must be won, and

energetically supported it. Certain radicals, however, did all that they could

to weaken their country and secure German

victory. This was due in part to the fact

that the Socialist party in America was

largely German in origin, and many of its

leaders were of German birth or descent.

At a meeting held in St. Louis on April 14,

1917, Socialist delegates addressed an open

letter to the Socialists of belligerent

countries declaring "that the people of

the United States have been forced by

their ruling class into this world cataclysm,

as you have been heretofore by your

own rulers." They pledged themselves

to make any sacrifices which might be

necessary "to force our masters to conclude a speedy peace."

Such disloyal outpourings naturally

aroused much resentment. Many Socialists energetically disavowed the statement.

Some leaders, however, persisted in their

unpatriotic course, and a few were ultimately convicted and sentenced to the

penitentiary for seditious utterances. Most

prominent among these offenders were

Eugene V. Debs, several times candidate

for President on the Socialist ticket, and

Victor Berger, former Congressman from

Milwaukee, who was re-elected to Congress

in the fall of 1918, shortly before his

conviction.

Another set of men who caused the

United States much trouble in this crisis

were the Industrial Workers, of the World.

The ideas of these men were to the last

degree anarchical. In Europe they were

usually known as Syndicalists. They

advocated the idea that workers should

compel the owners of factories to turn

their possessions over to the workers.

As a means to this end, they advocated

strikes and all manner of damage to

property-in other words, what is known

as sabotage. The origin of this word

is in dispute, but one explanation is that

it is derived from the custom of French

Syndicalists of throwing their wooden

shoes (sabots) into machinery in order

to destroy it. A favorite form of sabotage

in recent times is the putting of emery

dust or carborundum into the bearings

of machinery.

Many of the I. W. W.'s were really

in German pay and did everything they

could to hamper American war efforts.