Evolution of the Unified Command
THE Supreme War Council was created to establish inter- Allied "unity of plan and control." Lloyd George believed the British public would not accept "unity of command," a more advanced technique. Painlevé concurred--with the tacit understanding that in time a Frenchman would be appointed to command the entire Western Front.1
Unencumbered by adverse public opinion, the American government had supported a unified command in order to coordinate the Allied effort in France. The American strategy of concentration on the Western Front presupposed military collaboration with France, Italy, and Britain --if that policy did not lead to embarrassing political commitments which might compromise the war aims of the President.
Prior to March 1918 the Supreme War Council attempted to make command arrangements designed to enhance the efficiency of inter-Allied operations on the Western Front and elsewhere. A powerful German offensive in March finally forced the Allied and Associated Powers to a fundamental decision on unity of command. This decision was largely shaped by the Supreme War Council.