America and the Great War Essay

Pages: 3 (889 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Military

World War I

American Participation in World War I

When America declared war against Germany and Austria in 1917, the Armed Forces of the United States were rather unimpressive in the eyes of the Europeans. Europe had been at war for several years and the participants considered themselves to have the most experienced and most capable forces in the world. And the Americans' performance in recent military expeditions left much to be desired. While the Europeans fought hard, gritty battles, the American military was failing to capture a simple Mexican bandit named Pancho Villa. In spite of this, the Americans were an industrialized nation with huge population, and within a year of declaring war against Germany and her allies, the Americans would not only raise an army the strength of which equaled any in the world, but one that would play an invaluable role in the Allied victory.

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It was on April 6th 1917 that Congress acceded to President Woodrow Wilson's request and declared war against Germany, officially entering the conflict. But the United States was far from ready to immediately intervene on the side of the Allies. The performance of the American Army in 1916 expedition into Mexico after Pancho Villa led the Germans to believe that "the United States would be in no position to add significant military strength to the Allies." (Ziegler 38) and they had some right to think this as the United States Army consisted of "just 128,000 and 81,000 Reservists, and lacking almost all the equipment necessary for modern warfare…." (Henry 3)

Essay on America and the Great War Assignment

However, the Germans' were wrong and within two and a half months of the American declaration of war, "more than 500,000 men had volunteered in the American Army and Navy." (the World War 158) and these troops were desperately needed by the Allies. By the beginning of 1918, the Russian withdrawal from the war was imminent, the British had suffered catastrophic losses during their 1917 campaigns, the Italians had been soundly defeated at Caporetto, "and the demoralized state of the French army made an enormous infusion of American troops imperative." (Ziegler 61) but when the new Communist government in Russia made peace with Germany, freeing up hundreds of thousands of German troops, they decided to make one last all out offensive against the Allies in the West.

It was in March of 1918 that the Germans sent 65 divisions against the Western Front in their last chance gamble to win the war before the arrival of the Americans in large numbers. And their gamble almost worked, the Germans drove a wedge between the British and French armies and pushed their way close enough to Paris to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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