The outbreak of war in 1914 split the socialist movement right across Europe and brought a bloody halt to the hopes and dreams of the previous years. Socialists like Robert Blatchford, the Clarion editor, and Harry Hyndman, founder of the Social Democratic Federation, stepped onto recruiting platforms for the British Army, while others, like Keir Hardy, remained opposed. The Bolton socialists were equally split. Close votes were recorded at Wood Street meetings, for and against the war.
The campaign for women's suffrage followed a similar pattern.
Even the Pankhurst family were split - Emmeline and Christobel strongly for, Sylvia just as strongly against.
Alice Foley remembered: " 'poor Belgium' was brandished like a flaming torch to laggards, and silly women proffered white feathers to embarrassed boys." (Alice Foley; A Bolton Childhood).
The club's minute books are strangely quiet in 1917 and make no mention of either the February or October revolutions in Russia.
We can only assume that members supported them, because when, in 1919, there was a British military intervention against the Bolshevik government, a meeting was organised on the Town Hall square, under the slogan 'Hands off Russia!'.
Also Jim Paulden, club secretary at this time, some years later wrote and published a hundred-page epic poem in praise of Lenin!