Echo

From Ohio History Central

The Echo: Wochenblatt der Vereinigten Deutschen Socialisten Clevelands (“Weekly of the United German Socialists of Cleveland”) was established in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 29, 1911. Published every Saturday by the United German Branches of the Local Cleveland Socialist Party and later by the German Agitation Committee of the Socialist Party of Ohio, the Echo was primarily written in German. It advocated for Marxist reforms, and for the first several months of publication, included an English section titled “Our Political Programme” which outlined the municipal, state, and national issues important to the paper and its readers. These included workers’ rights, such as the eight-hour workday; the abolition of capital punishment; and government ownership and maintenance of utilities.

Wilhelm Ludwig Rosenberg, a German immigrant who had served as the head of the Socialist Labor Party during the 1880s and editor of the Socialist Cincinnati Tageblatt, was its first editor. Following him were Joseph Jodlbauer, Joseph Mosler, Fritz Frebe, and Herman G. Haupt. The Echo printed information about local businesses, people, and events, including labor union meetings, as well as covering state, national, and international news. Readers could also find political editorials, biographical sketches, poems, short fiction, and even the occasional recipe.

The Echo documented the continued growth of Socialism in Cleveland and Ohio; Cleveland Socialist leader Charles Ruthenberg’s switch to the Communist Party; the May Day Riots of 1919; and World War I. Unlike most of Ohio’s German-language newspapers, the Echo was antiwar, although it did not support Germany either. It criticized German Socialists who supported the Kaiser and the Junkers, powerful members of landed nobility whose pro-monarchy interests did not align with Socialist principles and were considered damaging to the German people.

Like many German-American newspapers, the Echo ceased publication shortly after World War I. In its final issue, published on April 17, 1920, Herman G. Haupt’s editorial explained that the Echo ruthlessly and fearlessly represented the interests of German workers and the Socialist Party during its nine-year run. Rising production costs, as well as increasing discrimination against Socialists, Communists, and the German workforce, however, led to the administration’s decision to discontinue the newspaper.

Part of this newspaper has been digitized and is available for research via Chronicling America: Echo, 1911-1920.

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