An important history installment in the U.S. Army Campaigns of World War I series, this book chronicles the first year of the American involvement in World War I. It briefly summarizes the prewar U.S. Army, the initial American reaction to the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, and the factors that led to the U.S. declaration of war in April 1917. The narrative then examines how the U.S. Army transformed itself from a small constabulary force into a mass, industrialized army capable of engaging in modern warfare. The author covers stateside mobilization and training, the formation of the American Expeditionary Forces, and the slow buildup of American forces in France and concludes with U.S. soldiers helping to blunt the first phase of the 1918 German Spring
Offensive. This commemorative history examines the U.S. Army's involvement in the Great War from the declaration of war on 6 April 1917 through the initial phase of the German Spring
Offensive in March-April 1918. On the home front, the War Department struggled to create the mechanisms to raise, train, and equip millions of new soldiers. American leaders faced a series of obstacles including a lack of facilities and materiel, poorly coordinated rail and shippingnet
works, and institutional bureaucracies that were not designed to wage war on such a large scale thousands of miles from the nation's shores. In meeting these challenges, U.S. civilian and military leaders fundamentally altered how the United States went to war, implementing a system of national conscription and linking the economy and society to the military to a degree far surpassing that of the Civil War. Never before or since have the U.S. armed forces experienced a comparable period of massive expansion coupled with unprecedented organizational transformation in such a brief period as during 1917-1918. In Europe, the United States joined a military coalition well-versed in the methods of modern warfare but lacking in consistent battlefield success. The American commander, General John J. Pershing, had to coordinate with foreign countries for training, logistical support, and operational planning. Nevertheless, he maintained total authority over American military operations in Europe, and his decisions ensured the development of a distinctive American military identity. This arrangement produced considerable friction and animosity as he rejected strenuous efforts to amalgamate American manpower into European armies, but he maintained the independence and integrity of what would be known as the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). As in the United States, the U.S. Army had to overcome considerable obstacles in building up its forces in Europe, and American soldiers would face a steep learning curve once they entered combat. As a bonus, we've included the first five chapters of another fascinating first-hand account of the First World War: Over There with the AEF (American Expeditionary Force): The World War I Memoirs of Captain Henry C. Evans.