The IWW incurred the wrath of the government and public opinion because of its stance against the First World War. The IWW's anti-war stance was based on the view that the working class had no place in a war between greedy imperialist powers struggling for greater control over world markets. More importantly, however, the IWW opposed the war in the firm conviction that national patriotism needed to be replaced by international class solidarity. the IWW's continuous organizing activity in industries vital to the war effort earned them the hostility not only of the country's most powerful business interests, but also of the federal government. Business owners petitioned the government to put an end to the "Wobbly menace" charging that the IWW was actively engaging in a conspiracy to sabotage the war effort. At times wartime hysteria reached such a peak that Wobblies were the victims of some of the worst incidents of vigilante mob violence. After wartime persecution, the IWW, while still maintaining a presence in the labor movement, was never again quite as formidable as it had once been.

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