In numbers, Sunday night's meeting at Library Street was the greatest held on that pitch this summer. James Connolly spoke on the war and its effects industrially. Like all other parties his own was divided in opinion. For that reason he made it clear that his opinions were personal and did not necessarily bind others who spoke from that platform. The war was the greatest crime of modern times. The nations and peoples involved in it were plunged into it by a dozen men about whose doings and intrigues nobody was allowed to know anything. All the misery, murder and suffering were brought about by those few men in spite of the wishes and desires of the people. The workers of all countries were the sufferers, and it was they who were paying for the war in both blood and money. Already its evil effects were felt in the prevailing unemployment and the rapid rise in the cost of living, and they were only at the beginning of it.
Thousands upon thousands of workers in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Britain and Russia were being sent straight to death in a war in which they had no interest, fighting for a cause they neither knew nor understood. Homes were broken up, wives and children left behind to starve and suffer, and blood spilt like water to satisfy rulers and exploiters who never as much as consulted their peoples before going to war. He had worked with men from all these countries. He knew the German workers to be a kindly people and he could never forget or fail to admire the sacrifices and fights made by the French for liberty and freedom all over Europe. But Britain's was a criminally disgraceful part in the war. Everybody knew that her pretence of defending Belgian independence and integrity was a sham and hypocrisy. Even the English people were not consulted about the war, and with none of the peoples had Ireland any quarrel. Every soldier or sailor killed in that war was in reality murdered. Even should he stand alone he would always protest against wars of aggression. One thing he would not sacrifice at any cost and that was honour and principle. [...]
Republished in James Connolly: Lost Writings, (ed. Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh), Pluto Press 1997.