X. Making Plowboys into Doughboys
European Allies finally confessed to the U.S. that not only were they running out of money to pay
for their loans from America, but also that they were running out of men, and that America would have to
raise and train an army to send over to Europe, or the Allies would collapse.
This could only be solved with a draft, which Wilson opposed but finally supported as a
disagreeable but temporary necessity.
The draft bill ran into heated opposition in Congress but was grudgingly passed.
Unlike earlier wars, there was no way for one to buy one’s way out of being drafted.
Luckily, patriotic men and women lined up on draft day, disproving ominous predictions of
bloodshed by the opposition of the draft.
Within a few months, the army had grown to 4 million men and women.
African-Americans were allowed in the army, but they were usually assigned to non-combat duty;
also, training was so rushed that many troops didn’t know how to even use their rifles, much less
bayonets, but they were sent to Europe anyway.
XI. Fighting in France—Belatedly
seized control of Russia, they withdrew the nation from the war, freeing up
thousands of German troops to fight on the Western Front.
German predictions of American tardiness proved to be rather accurate, as America took one year
before it sent a force to Europe and also had transportation problems.
Nevertheless, American doughboys slowly poured into Europe, and U.S. troops helped in an Allied
invasion of Russia at Archangel to prevent munitions from falling into German hands.
10,000 troops were sent to Siberia as part of an Allied expedition whose purpose was to prevent
munitions from falling into the hands of Japan, rescue some 45,000 trapped Czechoslovak troops, and
prevent Bolshevik forces from snatching military supplies.
Bolsheviks resented this interference, which it felt was America’s way of suppressing its infant
XII. America Helps Hammer the “Hun”
In the spring of 1918, one commander, the French Marshal Foch, for the first time, led the Allies
and just before the Germans were about to invade Paris and knock out France, American reinforcements
arrived and pushed the Germans back.
In the Second Battle of the Marne, the Allies pushed Germany back some more, marking a German
withdrawal that was never again effectively reversed.
The Americans, demanding their own army instead of just supporting the British and French, finally
got General John J. Pershing to lead a front.