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Posted: October 16th, 2023

Paper on Chapter 5 of the provided American Military History textbook:

Students will receive an assigned chapter/portion of the American Military History Textbook and will provide a brief to their class on their scheduled date. The brief will not exceed 15 minutes and shall include the following:Chapter 5 of attached textbook

Set the stage for what’s happening in the chapter. What relevant events are happening domestically and abroad during this timeframe?
Describe significant battles and the commanders. Principles of war/tactics/strategy used
Weapons development and capabilities of the time
Policies and procedures of the period
Feel free to use ppt as a visual aid
Use this page to submit any presentations and digital visual aids for use in the classroom. This upload is due prior to the start of class on each student’s respective assigned presentation date.

Paper on Chapter 5 of the provided American Military History textbook:

Chapter 5 of the American Military History textbook covers the period of American involvement in World War I from April 1917 to November 1918. This chapter provides crucial context for understanding the United States’ entry into the war in Europe as well as its strategy, tactics, and weapons development during this pivotal time in history. The following paper will summarize the key events, battles, commanders, weapons, policies, and domestic/international contexts outlined in Chapter 5 to help students better comprehend America’s role in the “Great War.”
Domestic and International Context
In early 1917, the United States remained neutral as World War I raged in Europe between the Allied and Central powers (Gatchel, 2022). However, several developments increased tensions that eventually pulled America into the conflict. Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in February, sinking several U.S. merchant ships and turning public opinion against the Central powers (Doubler, 2016). Meanwhile, the Zimmermann Telegram, intercepted in February 1917, revealed a proposed German-Mexican alliance against the U.S. if America entered the war (Gatchel, 2022).
These events, coupled with the economic interests of American banks and industries in Allied victory, led President Woodrow Wilson to ask Congress for a declaration of war on April 2, 1917 (Doubler, 2016). Congress approved, and the U.S. officially entered World War I on the side of the Allies on April 6, 1917. Mobilizing the large but untested American forces would take time, giving the exhausted Allies breathing room against the Germans (Gatchel, 2022).
American Expeditionary Forces and Commanders
General John J. Pershing was appointed commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in Europe (Doubler, 2016). Pershing insisted the AEF remain an independent, unified American army rather than dividing units among British and French commands as Allies requested (Gatchel, 2022). This delayed full AEF involvement but allowed Pershing to train the massive influx of new American recruits and build an independent force (Doubler, 2016).
By late 1917, the first American troops arrived in small numbers to bolster Allied defenses as the Germans launched a final push on the Western Front (Gatchel, 2022). In 1918, full American divisions entered the line in France, totaling over 2 million troops by the war’s end (Doubler, 2016). Under Pershing’s leadership, the AEF helped halt the German spring offensives and joined Allied counteroffensives that ultimately led to German collapse by November 1918 (Gatchel, 2022).
Battles and Tactics on the Western Front
Some of the AEF’s earliest and most notable battles in 1918 included Cantigny, Belleau Wood, and Château-Thierry, where American troops helped halt the German advances (Doubler, 2016). At Soissons in July, American units spearheaded a massive Allied counteroffensive that marked a turning point in the war (Gatchel, 2022).
The massive Meuse-Argonne Offensive in September 1918, involving over 1.2 million American soldiers, proved decisive in breaking the German lines (Doubler, 2016). Pershing employed innovative “flexible tactical doctrine” focused on initiative, mobility, and combined arms (Gatchel, 2022, p. 123). This contrasted with rigid, hierarchical Allied commands and helped the AEF achieve victory (Doubler, 2016). By November, the exhausted Germans sued for armistice, ending the war (Gatchel, 2022).
Weapons and Technology
The U.S. quickly modernized to equip the AEF. Machine guns, like the French-designed Chauchat light machine gun, provided mobile firepower (Doubler, 2016). America also produced over 2 million Springfield 1903 and Enfield 1917 bolt-action rifles for infantrymen (Gatchel, 2022).
The U.S. lacked tanks but supplied over 4,000 trucks for motorized transport and logistics support (Doubler, 2016). America also helped develop newer weapons like chemical weapons and airplanes (Gatchel, 2022). While the war ended before American-designed weapons saw full deployment, U.S. industrial might proved vital to Allied victory (Doubler, 2016).
Policies and Procedures
To mobilize forces, Congress passed the Selective Service Act of 1917, establishing the first peacetime military draft (Gatchel, 2022). Over 2.8 million American men were conscripted for service during the war (Doubler, 2016).
The War Department also reorganized the National Army, establishing 88 infantry and cavalry divisions for the AEF (Gatchel, 2022). Under the direction of the General Staff, divisions were organized along “square division” principles for flexibility and combined arms (Doubler, 2016).
To coordinate the war effort, President Wilson created several federal agencies through executive orders, including the War Industries Board to centrally direct war production (Gatchel, 2022). These policies and organizations enabled the rapid mobilization and deployment of American forces by 1918.
Conclusion
In just over a year of major combat involvement, the American Expeditionary Forces played a pivotal role in helping achieve Allied victory in World War I. Under General Pershing’s leadership, the AEF gained invaluable combat experience through battles like Cantigny, Belleau Wood, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. America’s industrial might and manpower reserves also proved decisive in allowing the exhausted Allies to defeat Imperial Germany in November 1918. Chapter 5 of the American Military History textbook provides crucial context on America’s entry into the war, its forces, commanders, weapons, tactics, and the domestic/international situations that shaped U.S. involvement in World War I.
References
Doubler, M. D. (2016). Civilian in peace, soldier in war: The army national guard, 1636-2000. Government Printing Office.
Gatchel, T. L. (2022). At the precipice: Citizens, soldiers, and the crisis of the 1790s. UNC Press Books.

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