American Socialism's Time of Troubles: 1913-1920
I am opposed to every war but one; I am for that war heart and soul, and that is the world-wide revolution.
Eugene V. Debs, 1915
If any American socialists cheered Woodrow Wilson's inauguration in March, 1913, they had bitter recollections of it in a few short years, for this man possessed of such dynamic plans and motivated by such exalted visions became in time a scourge of socialist dreams. The New Freedom which he implemented robbed the socialists of much of their inspiration and program and drew followers from their ranks with each passing month. His every success was a debit in the socialist ledger. The World War and the repressive controls against free speech and the free press of his second administration shattered what socialist visions of success remained. In the ranks of socialist opponents, none cut a larger figure than he who would make the world safe for democracy.
Wilson's administration and the world situation were not alone responsible for the decline and fragmentation of socialist influence in the decade after the success of 1912. All was far from well within the party itself, and in all