I Didn’t Raise My Son to be a Soldier

Released in 1915, I Didn’t Raise My Son to be a Soldier, sung here by the Peerless Quartet, was the first commercially successful anti-war record and featured prominently in the American anti-war movement opposing US entry in the First World War.

Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,
Who may never return again.
Ten million mother’s hearts must break
For the ones who died in vain.
Head bowed down in sorrow
In her lonely years,
I heard a mother murmur thru’ her tears:

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

What victory can cheer a mother’s heart,
When she looks at her blighted home?
What victory can bring her back
All she cared to call her own?
Let each mother answer
In the years to be,
Remember that my boy belongs to me!

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

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