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American Expeditionary Force

A poem beneath a United States flag calls on American boys to show the Kaiser.
Text:
Show the Kaiser
Show the Kaiser plainly
   When you meet him over there,
That from now on and forever
   He must treat us on the square,
Just go and make him settle
   For the cursed submarine,
Or prove that you're the toughest boys
   A Kaiser's ever seen.
2212

A poem beneath a United States flag calls on American boys to show the Kaiser.

Image text

Show the Kaiser

Show the Kaiser plainly

When you meet him over there,

That from now on and forever

He must treat us on the square,

Just go and make him settle

For the cursed submarine,

Or prove that you're the toughest boys

A Kaiser's ever seen.



2212

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America entered the war with a small standing army that had last fought in the Spanish American War of 1898, the Phillipine-American war of 1899-1902, and the 1916 Expedition into Mexico to capture the revolutionary Pancho Villa. General John J. Pershing led the 1916 Expedition, and would command the American Expeditionary Force, the AEF.

The United States declared itself an Associated Power rather than an Ally. Conscription was introduced within three weeks of the April 6, 1917 declaration of war, but troops did not arrive in Europe in great numbers until 1918. Trained in the US, they were retrained in Europe. Pershing planned to put Americans into combat when he had an army of one million men under American command, and resisted requests to insert units into the line under British and French command. At the end of 1917, there were 250,000 American soldiers in Europe, a number far below Pershing's goal. Soon that many would arrive each month.

On March 21, 1918, Germany launched the first of five offensives that drove the Allied line back and threatened Paris. British Prime Minister Lloyd George appealed to President Wilson for troops. Pershing agreed that American troops could be used as reinforcements in the Allied armies.

The first American units in combat fought under French command at Catigny on May 28 and at Château-Thierry from May 31 to June ? defending against the German Aisne Offensive, and with the French and British in the Second Battle of the Marne and Battle of Amiens. In September the US Army fought in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives.

The AEF relied on Allied technology such as the Renault FT tank and the Nieuport 28 and SPAD XIII planes.