|American soldier dies during a German gas attack. Picture made in May, 1918.|
On the 6th April, 1917, Congress approves a declaration of war against Germany, starting US involvement
in the First World War. The main reason for approving the declaration is that German U-boats continues
to sink non-military or "civilian" ships (some American).|
After the declaration of war President Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) under the command of General John Pershing to the Western Front. Meanwhile the law authorized President Woodrow Wilson to raise a volunteer infantry force of not more than four divisions.
All males between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register for military service. By 12th September 1918, 23,908,566 men had registered. Around 4,000,000 men were ultimately drafted into the armed services. Of these, 50 per cent served overseas during the war.
By July 1918 there were over a million US soldiers in France. General John Pershing deployed US troops to help the French defend the Western Front during the 3rd Battle of the Aisne in May and at the Marne in June. US troops also took part in the Allied attacks at Le Hamel and Canal du Nord before Pershing launched his own offensive at St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.
More than 2 million troops eventually reached Europe but a large number arrived too late to see any action. The American Expeditionary Force suffered 264,000 casualties during the war. It has been calculated that 112,432 Americans died. Of these, around 50 per cent died from disease (mainly influenza).
|Montfaucon Monument||Montsec Monument|
Montfaucon American Monument is a 200 foot
high Greek column surmounted by a replica of
the Statue of Liberty. It is the largest of the
US war memorials in Europe.
It commemorates the victory of the US First Army
in the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 26 September
to 11 November 1918. The observation platform
on top can be reached by 234 steps.
Montsec American Monument commemorates
the achievements of the American soldiers who
fought in the St. Mihiel area in 1917 and 1918.
Within the colonnade there is a bronze relief
map of the St. Mihiel area, illustrating the
military operations that took place there.
The monument was slightly damaged during
World War II, but has been repaired.
|Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery|
Meuse-Argonne, covering one hundred and thirty acres, holds the largest number of American Dead
in Europe, a total of 14,246. Most of those buried here gave their lives during the Meuse-Argonne
Offensive of World War I. The immense array of headstones rises in rectangular rows upwards beyond
a wide central pool to the chapel which crowns a ridge. A beautiful bronze screen separates the chapel
foyer from the interior, which is decorated with stained glass windows portraying American unit insignia.
Behind the altar are the flags of the Allied nations.