US Army Will Publish Commemorative WW1 Series

American Doughboys "Over There" 1918

American Doughboys “Over There” 1918

The U.S. Army Center of Military History will observe the centennial of the First World War by publishing a series of commemorative brochures, announces Glenn F. Williams, senior historian at the US Army Commemorative Office.  These will be illustrated with maps and images, and appear similar in format to those published for the World War II and Korean War 50-year commemorations, and currently being done for the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.  The series will follow the progress of American participation in the war as defined by the campaign streamers on the Army flag.  A summary of each monograph is briefly outlined below:

The Mexican Border Campaign will be the introductory publication and provide background explaining how the Army became a much more professional, modern force in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War and leading up to 1916.  It will describe national mobilization for possible war with Mexico and the efforts to chase Pancho Villa.  The lessons learned served as a rehearsal and prelude to the buildup for entry into World War I the following year.  The narrative also provides context as to why the publication of the Zimmerman telegram helped to overcome American isolationism, and will introduce key personalities such as John J. Pershing.

Campaign Streamer: Mexican Border.

Joining a Global War covers the U.S. military buildup, and details the Army at the start.  It explains how the Army expanded prior to conducting major combat operations, sets the stage for the remainder of the series, and covers the initial participation of Army units in small defensive actions alongside Allied forces and as part of their training.

Campaign Streamers: Cambrai, Somme Defensive, and Lys.

From Defense to Offense covers the first major engagements in which U.S. divisions were committed, detailing the shift from marginal participation in Allied defensive actions to undertaking division-level offensive operations.

Campaign Streamers: Aisne, Montdidier-Noyon,

The Marne narrates the defensive operations to stop another German offensive and U.S. participation in the large-scale Allied counter-offensive that followed to eliminate the Marne Salient.

Campaign Streamers: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne.

Supporting Allied Offensives covers three major operations in which U.S. divisions served as part of Allied armies engaged in major offensive operations.  This American participation was a smaller subset of much larger campaigns that were all connected as part of the overall Allied strategy.

Campaign Streamers: Somme Offensive, Oise-Aisne, Ypres-Lys.

St. Mihiel describes Pershing’s successful effort to field the first American army-level formation in the war – which also included command over French divisions – and the rapid reduction of a long-held German salient.  Although the battle was of a relatively short-duration, it is presented as a separate monograph to include a discussion of Pershing’s successful maneuver to form an army, and the state of U.S. forces, doctrine, and training, that allowed him to conduct a lightning campaign.

Campaign Streamer: St. Mihiel.

Meuse-Argonne covers the final offensive conducted by U.S. armies along the Western Front; and adds the participation of a single regiment in the Italian theater.  This publication may potentially reflect the biggest topic of the series, including operations through the end of October, as well as the renewed American offensive beginning on 1 November 1918, the operation in Italy, and the end of the war.

Campaign Streamers: Meuse-Argonne, Vittoria Veneto.

Occupation and Demobilization, although involving no combat, this monograph will analyze what had been learned from the global conflict, and which involved the largest employment of American forces since the Civil War.

The brochures will be available to the public in two formats as they are published, starting in 2016.  They may be viewed and downloaded at no charge on the USACMH website.  Print versions will be available for purchase through the U.S. Government Printing Office bookstore starting in 2016, details available here.