In 1917, during the St. Louis Convention, members of the Socialist Party gathered together, condemning the United States involvement in World War I.
The party's leader Eugene V. Debs thought that the capitalist and imperialist nations were consumed with greed and only wanted war to gain power and domination of the world markets, therefore they stated that the United States was making a mistake by entering into the war.
The Socialist Party felt that "wars bring wealth and power to the ruling classes, and suffering, death and demoralization to the workers".
During the convention speakers painted a picture about the ugliness of war and plead to the masses, the workers of all countries, to refuse to support the war in Europe. The speaker wanted the working masses to realize that the government and "national groups of capitalists" had no concern for the working people. The speaker goes on to say that the masses are being misled to believe that the United States was entering the war to defend democracy, when in fact the United States is turning into the imperialist and militarist government just like the Europeans. Within the speech, the speaker explains many reasons why the war would not accomplish anything.
The speaker also points out that even thought the German's U-Boat attack was ruthless, "it was not an invasion of the rights of the American people", and attempts to validate the argument against United States involvement in the war by stating the following:
"...Militarism can never be abolished by militarism", "...Democracy can never be imposed upon any country by a foreign power by force of arms", and "...if we send an armed force into the battlefields of Europe, its cannons will mow down the masses of the German people and not the Imperial German Government".The Socialist Party of the United States felt that entering the war was going to senselessly kill the masses of innocent working classes in order for the capitalists to profit. The speaker said that if we were fighting to end the struggle for freedom of the working class, then they would fight with all their will, however the Socialist's refused to let one working class member die to support the greed of capitalism or militarism.