The United States in the Supreme War Council: American War Aims and Inter-Allied Strategy, 1917-1918

By David F. Trask | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Utilization of American Manpower

THE need for American manpower to bolster the Entente armies became manifest as the Allied military position deteriorated during the latter months of 1917. When the Allied missions had visited Washington, their members had urged amalgamation of American troops into the Entente armies, but the United States government had decided to equip, train, and employ an independent force. The Entente Powers had advocated amalgamation because they feared the United States could not field an independent army quickly enough to influence the outcome of the war. During the period of urgency which followed upon the Allied disasters of 1917, the practice of amalgamation seemed peculiarly logical to harassed statesmen and soldiers in France and Britain.

Paradoxically, the decline in the military fortunes of the Western coalition strengthened not only the Allied demand for amalgamation but also the American determination to field an independent army. The United States was just as aware as the Allies that many American soldiers would have to be sent to Europe. The bone of contention was the manner in which reinforcements would be utilized in France. Fearful of a great German effort against their

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