Academic journal article Military Review

The Great Call-Up: The Guard, the Border, and the Mexican Revolution

Academic journal article Military Review

The Great Call-Up: The Guard, the Border, and the Mexican Revolution

Article excerpt

THE GREAT CALL-UP: The Guard, the Border, and the Mexican Revolution

Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, 2015, 576 pages

Remembrance of the federal mobilization of the National Guard for service along the Mexican border in 1916 has largely been conflated with the concurrent Punitive Expedition into Mexico, and overshadowed by the entrance of the United States into the Great War. Charles Harris and Louis Sadler aim to correct this oversight with their detailed study of the National Guard's service on the border. The border crisis is often seen as a sideshow to the Punitive Expedition, even though around one hundred fifty thousand guardsmen served on the border, while around twelve thousand soldiers served in the Punitive Expedition. Therefore, Harris and Sadler question which was the main effort and which was the sideshow. They dismiss the common misperception that movement of National Guard units from every state to the border was an overreaction to a few bandit raids on Texas towns in the aftermath of the raid by Francisco "Pancho" Villa on Columbus, New Mexico.

Instead, they argue that the government of Mexican President Venustiano Carranza was sponsoring raids along the border, and that it was involved in the Plan of San Diego, a proposed uprising of Hispanics within the Border States. They show that the threat of war was very real. In that light, the mobilization was part of a successful American effort to demonstrate the ability to mass large numbers of troops on the border to deter the Carranza government.

Against that background, the volume tells the story of the mobilization of the Guard and its service along the border. The book is in two sections: the first section is an overview of the border crisis from early 1916 until the removal of most National Guard units by February 1917. The second section centers on the experience of National Guard units from specific states to specific sections of the border. …

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