Over Here: The First World War and American Society

By David M. Kennedy | Go to book overview

2

The Political Economy of War:
The Home Front

When America at last entered the stalemated war, the beleaguered Allies quickly dispatched missions of supplication across the Atlantic. Before the end of April 1917, high-level French and British delegations had arrived in Washington, seeking manpower, matériel, and, above all, money. The money was at first easily forthcoming, as Congress opened wide the doors to the United States Treasury. And the booming American economy was already supplying much of the Allied demand for munitions and foodstuffs. But manpower was another matter. Washington instantly recoiled from the request of the Europeans that American soldiers be amalgamated into the Allied armies. Instead, the War Department mounted preparations to field a force of one million Americans in France by the spring of 1918. They would not be commingled with foreign units, but would fight as an independent army. That army, officially called the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), was to be assigned its own sector of the front and supported by a distinctly American supply operation.

This plan stunned many Americans. When a prominent Senator declared in mid-April that "Congress will not permit American soldiers to be sent to Europe," no member of the administration troubled to refute him. 1. At the War Department, no plans existed for training a

____________________
1.
Edward M. Coffman, The War To End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), 8.

-93-

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Over Here: The First World War and American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Over Here - The First World War and American Society *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Prologue: - Spring, 1917 3
  • 1 - The War for the American Mind 45
  • 2 - The Political Economy of War: the Home Front 93
  • 3 - "You'Re in the Army Now" 144
  • 4 - Over There - and Back 191
  • 5 - Armistice and Aftermath 231
  • 6 - The Political Economy of War: the International Dimension 296
  • Epilogue: - Promises of Glory 348
  • Bibliography 371
  • Index 389
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