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John Pershing

The salute of General Black Jack Pershing, Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Force, landing in France, June, 1917. Pershing landed in Boulogne on June 13.
Text:
Le Salut du Général Pershing, Commandant en Chef des Troupes Américanines, à la terre de France. (Juin 1917).
Message dated September 18, 1917
R et E[nvoyée?] le 20-9-1917
Reverse:
Postmarked September 18, 1917

The salute of General Black Jack Pershing, Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Force, landing in France, June, 1917. Pershing landed in Boulogne on June 13.

Image text

Le Salut du Général Pershing, Commandant en Chef des Troupes Américanines, à la terre de France. (Juin 1917).



Message dated September 18, 1917

R et E[nvoyée?] le 20-9-1917



Reverse:

Postmarked September 18, 1917

Other views: Larger, Back

The United States had a small standing army when it declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, and building one sufficient to turn the tide in Europe was one of the government's first tasks.

A veteran of the Spanish American war and the recent expedition against Pancho Villa in Mexico, John J. "Black Jack" Pershing was given command of the nascent American Expeditionary Force (AEF). He arrived in France in June 1917, well ahead of his army, but by the end of 1917, the United States had 250,000 troops in Europe.

Pershing resisted placing American troops in the line under foreign command, emphasizing that United States was an Associated Power, not an Ally, and that he would field an independent American army led by Americans.

There were 300,000 American troops in France when Germany launched Operation Michael on March 21, 1918. With the Allies driven back and Paris threatened, Pershing offered his strength, on March 28, to Foch: "Infantry, artillery, aëroplaces - all that I have I put at your disposal - do what you like with them."

On April 3 the Allies unified their command, appointing Foch Commander in Chief of the Allied Armies in France. Haig, Pétain, and Pershing each retained the right to appeal Foch’s decisions to his own government.

By the middle of July, 300,000 American soldiers arrived in Europe each month, and America had 21 divisions.

On July 24, Foch, Pétain, Haig, and Pershing developed a general plan to prevent German retrenchment and to free the strategic rail lines from between Paris and Amiens, Verdun, and Nancy. The Franco-Americans Aisne-Marne Offensive kept open the Paris-Verdun line. On September 12, the Americans attacked at St. Mihiel to secure the Paris-Nancy line. On September 26, the Americans and French struck in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

September 13, 1860

July 15, 1948

United States

Roles held by John Pershing

Role Start Date End Date
Combatant - General

Books by or about John J. Pershing (1)

Title Author
Reputations Ten Years After B.H. Liddell Hart