Uneasy Coalition: The Entente Experience in World War I

By Jehuda L. Wallach | Go to book overview

British had given military assistance to the Italian front without reservation, the Italian military representative in Versailles told General Bliss that the Italians disliked the French very much, and the French reciprocated this feeling. 95 In an official letter, Bliss later tried to explain the reasons why the Italians wanted a large force of Americans in their country: The first reason was fear. They were mortally afraid of the Germans, even though their reports of large numbers of Germans massing against them were unverified. The second reason was money. The Italians had heard of the large sums the Americans were spending in France, and Italian politicians were blamed for not getting their share. The third reason was ambition. The Italians wanted to strike a major blow for territorial gains and future power. Bliss added a more substantial reason: "There is a general undercurrent of belief here that the Allies will not even give Italy that which they specifically promised. Italy knows this. Therefore she would like to have the decisive blow struck from Italy rather than France, with her army as the predominant factor." 96


UNITED STATES

The United States only entered the war on the side of the Entente toward he fourth year. Its war aims were not completely identical with those of the other Entente partners, as was already obvious from the instructions given to General Pershing. The United States was not immediately prepared to play an active role in the fighting. Even in mid-October 1918, Field Marshal Haig rated the American army as "not yet organised: it is ill-equipped, half-trained, with insufficient supply services. Experienced officers and NCOs are lacking." 97 But there was no doubt that without the Americans, the latecomers and the "rich uncle," the war could not have been won. This particular issue will be dealt with in subsequent chapters.

The principal expedients to overcome the obstacles of particularistic tendencies in the coalition were conducting coordination conferences and establishing a unified command. These expedients are the subjects of Chapters 5 and 6. But before embarking on these investigations, another handicap of coalition warfare will be discussed: the impact of personal factors and rivalries on the conduct of war.


NOTES
1.
Tasker H. Bliss, "The Evolution of the Unified Command," Foreign Affairs 1, no. 2, Dec. 15, 1922, pp. 1-30.

-41-

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Uneasy Coalition: The Entente Experience in World War I
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Suggestions for a Typology of Wartime Coalitions 1
  • 2 - Prewar Planning Between Allies and Potential Allies 7
  • Notes 19
  • 3 - Particularistic Interests in the Coalition 21
  • Notes 41
  • 4 - Human Relations 45
  • Notes 70
  • 5 - Coordination Conferences and Coordination Bodies 75
  • Notes 97
  • 6 - General Reserve and Unified Command 101
  • Notes 117
  • 7 - Amalgamation of Forces 119
  • Notes 129
  • 8 - Logistics and War Finances 131
  • Notes 149
  • 9 - Alliance on the Peace Path 153
  • Notes 167
  • 10 - Conclusions and Lessons 169
  • Notes 176
  • Appendix A Members of the Alliance 177
  • Appendix B Sessions of the Supreme War council (SWC) 179
  • Appendix C Inter-Allied Committees 181
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 187
  • About the Author 193
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