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John J. Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, 1917-1919 (Hardback)

January 1-March 20, 1918

By John T Greenwood
Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Series: American Warriors Series
Pages: 580
Illustrations: 4 maps, 3 charts, 31 tables, 20 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9780813196633
Published: 20th March 2024
Casemate UK Academic

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General of the Armies John J. Pershing (1860–1948) had a long and decorated military career but is most famous for leading the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He published a memoir, My Experiences in the World War, and has been the subject of numerous biographies, but the literature regarding this towering figure and his enormous role in the First World War deserves to be expanded to include a collection of his wartime correspondence.

Carefully edited by John T. Greenwood, volume 3 of John J. Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, 1917–1919 covers the period of January 1 through March 20, 1918, as General Pershing encounters logistical and organizational challenges that originated in the last months of 1917. With the collapse of the Eastern Front and Allied defeats in Italy, British and French commanders were preparing for a renewed German offensive and proposed that American troops be put under their control for training and frontline combat in order to replenish losses. Pershing's diary entries indicate that he rejected these proposals and yet offered four segregated African American regiments to be placed under French control. The conclusion of the AEF autonomy debate allowed Pershing to focus on reorganizing the General Headquarters of the AEF, establishing effective communication lines, and contracting Allied European governments to produce armaments for the AEF with American raw materials. In March 1918, Maj. Gen. Peyton C. March replaced Gen. Tasker H. Bliss as chief of staff. The sources included in this edition show the origin of Pershing and March's personal feud, which persisted well after the war.

Pershing's letters during this time period convey a long and arduous struggle to build an American army at the front. Together, these volumes of wartime correspondence provide new insight into the work of a legendary soldier and the historic events in which he participated.

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