After three years of neutrality, the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917. That neutrality and President Woodrow Wilson’s policy that—in the words of retired Brig. Gen. Robert Doughty in his foreword to Pershing’s Lieutenants—prevented “US Army officers from making even limited preparations for such a war” would see the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) enter the war dangerously unprepared. With a force, in 1917, of just over three hundred thousand, the AEF was essentially grown overnight, reaching just over 3,700,000 personnel by the end of 1918, over half of which were in Europe.
Given that context, what was the value of American military leadership during the First World War? Can anything be learned from the actions and decisions of AEF leaders? Those questions are at the heart of the new book edited by David Zabecki and Douglas Mastriano.