The United States during the World War One through rare photographs, 1917-1918


Segregation was a long American tradition. From the days of George Washington, Americans struggled to stay protected by the mighty oceans on their border. When European conflicts erupted, as they often did, many in the United States claimed exceptionalism. America was different. Why join Europe's self-destruction?

When the Archduke of Austria-Hungary was executed in cold blood, igniting the most devastating war in human history, the initial reaction in the United States was the expected desire for neutrality.

As a nation of immigrants, the United States will have a hard time choosing a side. Despite clear ties with Britain based on history and language, there were many United States citizens who claimed Germany and Austria-Hungary as their native lands. Support from the Allies or the Central Powers could prove divisive.

Early in the war, as Britain and France struggled against Germany, American leaders decided that it was in the national interest to continue trade with all sides as before. A neutral nation cannot impose sanctions on one side and continue to trade with the other and maintain its neutral position.

In addition, traders and manufacturers in the United States feared that the boycott would cripple the American economy. Great Britain with its powerful navy had a different view.

A major part of the British strategy was the blockade on Germany. American trade with the Central Powers could not be allowed. The results of the blockade were astonishing.

Trade with England and France more than tripled between 1914 and 1916, while trade with Germany was cut by more than ninety percent. It was this situation that prompted submarine warfare by the Germans against the Americans at sea.

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson cited Germany's violation of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as its efforts to lure Mexico into an alliance against the United States as its reasons for declaring war. cited.

On April 4, 1917, the US Senate voted in favor of the measure to declare war on Germany. The House agreed two days later. The United States later declared war on German ally Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917.

The first and foremost decision of mobilization was the size of the army. When the United States entered the war, the army was 200,000, hardly enough to make a decisive impact in Europe. However, a draft was implemented on May 18, 1917 and the numbers were rapidly increased.

Initially, it was expected that the United States would mobilize an army of one million. However, this number will be much more than this. Altogether some 4,791,172 Americans would serve in World War I. Some 2,084,000 would reach France, and 1,390,000 would see active warfare.

The first military measures adopted by the United States were at sea. Joint Anglo-American operations were extremely successful in intercepting the dangerous submarine.

The US and Britain developed an elaborate convoy system to protect vulnerable ships, following the thinking that numbers were more powerful.

In addition, mines were placed in many areas formerly dominated by German U-boats. The campaign was so effective that not a single American soldier was lost on the high seas while moving to the Western Front.

American expeditionary forces began arriving in France in June 1917, but the original numbers were far less. The time was necessary to raise the ranks of the United States Army and to provide at least a primary training program. Timing was important.

When the Bolsheviks took over Russia in a domestic revolution in 1917, Germany signed a peace treaty with the new government. The Germans could now afford to transfer many of their troops fighting in the east to the stalemate Western Front. If it weren't for the fresh supplies of incoming American troops, the war might have taken a very different path.

In early 1918 new troops began to arrive in large numbers. "Dofboys", as it was labeled by the French, were actually green. Many are caught in the trap of Paris nightlife while awaiting transfer at the front.

An estimated fifteen percent of American soldiers in France contracted venereal disease from Parisian prostitutes, the treatment of which cost millions of dollars.

African American soldiers noted that their treatment by French soldiers was better than their treatment by their white counterparts in the US military. Although the German military dropped tempting pamphlets on African American soldiers and promised a less-racist society if the Germans would win, no one took the proposal seriously.

By the spring of 1918, the doughboys were seeing fast and furious action. A German invasion came within fifty miles of Paris, and American troops were instrumental in turning the tide at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood.

In September 1918, efforts were concentrated to remove German troops from the Meuse River. Succeeding, the Allies drove the Germans into the ditch-laden Argonne Forest, where the US suffered heavy losses.

But the will and resources of the German resistance were shattered. The army withdrew and on November 11, 1918, the German government agreed to an armistice. The war was over. More than 14 million soldiers and civilians died in the so-called Great War.

For the United States, the human and economic cost of the war was substantial. The death rate was high: 48,909 members of the armed forces died in combat, and 63,523 died of disease.

Many, perhaps 40,000, died of pneumonia during the influenza–pneumonia pandemic that struck at the end of the war. Some 230,074 members of the armed forces suffered non-life wounds.

John Maurice Clark provided the most detailed and thoughtful estimate of the cost of the war; A total amount of about $32 billion. Clark tried to estimate what an economist would call the resource cost of war.

For this reason, they included the actual federal government spending on the military and navy, the number of foreign obligations, and the difference between the earnings of government employees in the private sector and what they actually earned.

He excluded interest on the national debt and part of the subsidies given to the railway administration as he thought they were transfers. His $32 billion estimate was about 46 percent of GDP in 1918.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.