Bob La Follette cartoon, 1917

A Life magazine political cartoon from 1917 depicts U.S. Sen. Robert M. La Follette, Sr., R-Wisconsin, as pro-German with the Kaiser pinning medals on him. La Follette was one of just six U.S. senators and 50 members of the House to vote against America entering World War I.

This State Journal editorial ran on April 6, 1917, as America formally entered World War I:

Though we radically disagree with the peace-at-any-price propagandists, we can understand to some extend their attitude of mind. We believe justice is and should be dearer to the hearts of Americans than peace. We believe peace purchased at the price of justice is immoral and transitory. ...

Sen. La Follette’s speech at the opening of this Congress clearly defines him not as a peace-at-any-price advocate. It reveals his position to be decidedly pro-German (and) un-American. He must radically change that uncompromising pro-German attitude now that war is declared or he will be aiding and abetting the enemy of the United States.

It is nothing short of pathetic to witness a man like La Follette, whose many brave battles for democracy have endeared him to the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Americans, now lending himself to the encouragement of autocracy. And that is all it is.

Robert M. La Follette has in the past done more for the state of Wisconsin than any man who has ever lived in the state. ... But it is with profound regret that we find Sen. La Follette now seeming to encourage the Kaiser who is waging the greatest war for special privilege in the history of the world. It seems La Follette has allowed his aversion to munition makers to so warp his perspective and judgment that he has lost sight of the bigger battle — the world battle between autocracy and democracy. ...

It is nothing short of tragedy when a man of Sen. La Follette’s battles and abilities stands up in the Senate of the United States in this crucial hour to defend the Kaiser’s government and to declare that our only interest in war is a Wall Street interest. ... It is a lie. This is not Wall Street’s war. It is a war of HUMANITY AGAINST KINGS. ...

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