American Intervention in World War I
ONE of the most striking characteristics of modern warfare is its cooperative nature. Twentieth-century wars have usually been waged by opposing coalitions--by allied nations struggling against another group of sovereign states. In our time, war, the most imposing manifestation of the competitive propensities of humanity, requires a remark- able degree of cooperation among the nations who compose given military coalitions. Nevertheless, the most cursory glance at the history of war demonstrates that military partnerships are often quite unstable. Napoleon supposedly preferred to engage coalitions rather than individual nations, convinced that the throes of cooperation seriously weakened his adversaries.
Cooperation among allies is difficult to achieve and sustain because the nations who compose given coalitions rarely fight for exactly the same purposes. Although the members of a coalition may be joined by antagonism toward a common enemy, they often disagree on the proper strategy to defeat that enemy. Although interallied controversies develop from many sources of irritation, the most important cause usually is divergence in political aims.
World War I is a typical example of coalition warfare. Both the Western Powers and the Central Powers encoun-