American contribution to WWI

  • Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 20-09-17 14:33

America entered World War One on April 6th, 1917 and their contributions the Allied effort were decisive.

America’s entry into World War One was well received by the Allies as her military power was desperately needed on the Western Front after the loss of men at the Somme and Verdun. The turmoil in Russia meant that Germany could move men based on the Eastern Front to the Western, so a nation of such power as America was seen, by the Allies, as a welcome addition to the cause. The seemingly infinite supply of fresh American soldiers countered the potential advantage of Germany and was demoralizing to the Germans.

In early June 1917, General John Pershing, commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), arrived in Britain for a four-day visit before moving to France where he began to organise his command. On arrival in Britain, Pershing was greeted by the king and the ‘London Graphic’ published a photo of Pershing and his fellow officers with the caption “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious by this sun of (New) York.”  Many did see Pershing and his troops as military saviours. By Spring 1917, the campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare was biting – in February 1917, 470,000 tons of ships had been sunk. By April it had risen to 837,000 tons. At the same time the chaos in Russia was set to release tens of thousands of German troops for the Western Front. To cap this, the failure of the Nivelle offensive in 1917, led to widespread mutinies in the French Army. With so many negatives going on for the Allies, it is no wonder that the entry into the war of the world’s most powerful nation was so well received.

America’s population of 90 million gave the military the potential to have a very large army. America’s industrial might was unparalled in the world. In steel production alone, America produced three times as much as Germany and Austria did. However, America did not have an economy that had been put on a war footing and such a transformation would take time – and the Allies did not have time on their side.

America had been the provider of many war parts for the French and British armies while…


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