This Day in History

June 16, 1918: Eugene V. Debs Speech Against WWI

Time Periods: World War I: 1910 - 1919
Themes: Labor, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements

Eugene Debs speaking to a crowd in Canton, Ohio.

In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords . . .concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war  — Eugene V. Debs in Canton, Ohio on June 16, 1918.

Eugene Debs made his famous anti-war speech protesting World War I which was raging in Europe.

For this speech he was arrested and convicted in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio under the war-time espionage law.

Listen to a reading of excerpts by Mark Ruffalo from this classic speech by Eugene Debs via Voices of a People’s History of the United States.