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American Expeditionary Forces in World War I

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A. Plan of Investigation

This investigation assesses the significance of the American Expeditionary Forces to the United States victory in World War I. In order to asses this, the role of the American Expeditionary Forces is investigated during major battles of World War I. The success or failure of the American Expeditionary Forces at each battle is determined and evaluated for significance. Two of the sources used in this paper, I. The World War., and Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War. are evaluated for origin, purpose, value and limitation.

This investigation does not assess the significance of other American Forces (U.S. Army Air Service and United States Navy) to the United States victory in World War I.

B. Summary of Evidence

The first American battle of World War I was the Battle of Cantigny, fought from May 27th, 1918 to May 31st, 1918. During this battle the 1st Division of the American Expeditionary Forces and French Army attacked the German held French village of Cantigny. Cantigny was taken by the American Expeditionary Forces and French Army on May 28th, 1918, marking the first successful battle of World War I for the American Expeditionary Forces.


[1] Piper, Gayln "Battle of Cantigny" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/battle_of_cantigny/default.aspx.

[2] "I. The World War." Political Science Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 3, 1918, pp. 1-27., www.jstor.org/stable/2141489. Pg. 22

Following the Battle of Cantigny, the Battle of Saint-Mihiel was fought from September 12th, 1918 to September 15th, 1918. After proving their combat ability at the Battle of Cantigny, the American Expeditionary Forces planned to overrun German held Saint-Mihiel with overwhelming force.  Under the American onslaught, German defenders gave way, preferring to give up ground and retreat in good order rather than fight. The German retreat marked another success for the American Expeditionary Forces.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the final Allied offensive of World War I. The battle was fought on the entire Western Front, lasting from September 26th, 1918 to November 11th, 1918. This battle marks the crowning achievement of the American Expeditionary Forces, after 47 days of fighting the German Empire's armistice ended the battle. The American Expeditionary Forces won the war.

C. Evaluation of Sources

I. The World War published by Political Science Quarterly in 1918 is a record of political events from August 1, 1917 to July 31, 1918. This journal was written with the purpose to act as a factual news source, pulling information from newspapers, letters and interviews.


[3] Manning, Mary "St. Mihiel: A Push Forward" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/st_mihiel/default.aspx.

[4] Manning, Mary "St. Mihiel: A Push Forward" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/st_mihiel/default.aspx.

[5] Keene, Jennifer D. "Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War." OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 1, 2002, pp. 15-18., www.jstor.org/stable/25163558. Pg. 1

[6] "I. The World War." Political Science Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 3, 1918, pp. 1-27., www.jstor.org/stable/2141489. Pg. 1

The journal's value is that it provides unbiased information for the reader to consume, however the journal is limited because many war statistics were withheld from the public during World War I.

Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War published by the Oxford University Press in 2002 is an article evaluating several key battles in the final year of  the war, including Cantigny, Belleau Wood, Château-Thierry, Soissons, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. The article was written with the purpose of providing the reader information about the American Expeditionary Forces and their involvement in World War I battles. The article's value is that it provides an evaluation of major World War I events, however the article is limited because the evaluations are only from an American perspective.

D. Analysis

It is clear that the American Expeditionary Forces were critical to the success of the United States in World War I. Beginning with their first offense at the Battle of Cantigny the American Expeditionary Forces proved to be a powerful, well trained force. Cantigny made a profound statement to Germans and Allies, setting the stage for Allied success in the war.

The Battle of Saint-Mihiel again proved the strength of the American Expeditionary Forces. The battle was won with only 7,000 American casualties, a very small loss


[7] Keene, Jennifer D. "Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War." OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 1, 2002, pp. 15-18., www.jstor.org/stable/25163558. Pg. 1

[8] Piper, Gayln "Battle of Cantigny" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/battle_of_cantigny/default.aspx.

[9] Manning, Mary "St. Mihiel: A Push Forward" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/st_mihiel/default.aspx.

by World War I standards.The battle provided an opportunity for the newly organized American units to work and fight together as an American army, gaining valuable experience they would need for the coming Meuse-Argonne offensive.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the most important battle fought by the American Expeditionary Forces, proving that they were the single most import force to the United States victory during World War I.  Nearly 1.2 million soldiers participated in the battlewithout a force of this size the Allies may have lost the battle and never gained German Armistice. The the American Expeditionary Forces is greatly responsible for the success of the Allies and the United States in World War I.

E. Conclusion

The American Expeditionary Forces were the most significant attribute to the United States victory in World War I. The American Military Forces were essential to the success of the Allies in many key battles of World War I, without the American Expeditionary Forces a German armistice may have never occurred. The American Military Forces were so significant to the United States victory in World War I, that they have become a symbol of patriotism and stability in America, paving the road for American success in future wars.


[10] Manning, Mary "St. Mihiel: A Push Forward" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/st_mihiel/default.aspx.

[11] Keene, Jennifer D. "Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War." OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 1, 2002, pp. 15-18., www.jstor.org/stable/25163558. Pg. 1

[12] Wingate, Jennifer. "Over the Top: The Doughboy in World War I Memorials and Visual Culture." American Art, vol. 19, no. 2, 2005, pp. 26-47., www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/444480.  Pg. 28

F. Bibliography

Primary Sources:

"I. The World War." Political Science Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 3, 1918, pp. 1-27., www.jstor.org/stable/2141489.

"Front Matter." Political Science Quarterly, vol. 34, no. 3, 1919, pp. i-iv., www.jstor.org/stable/2141668.

Secondary Sources:

Keene, Jennifer D. "Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War." OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 1, 2002, pp. 15-18., www.jstor.org/stable/25163558.

Manning, Mary "St. Mihiel: A Push Forward" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/st_mihiel/default.aspx.

Piper, Gayln "Battle of Cantigny" First Division Museum at Cantigny. Web. Mar. 2016. http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/online/toward_the_front/battle_of_cantigny/default.aspx.

Wingate, Jennifer. "Over the Top: The Doughboy in World War I Memorials and Visual Culture." American Art, vol. 19, no. 2, 2005, pp. 26-47., www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/444480.


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