TimelineMapsSearch QuotationsSearch Images

Follow us through the World War I centennial and beyond at Follow wwitoday on Twitter

The United States at War

Uncle Sam weighs the lives lost in the German sinking of the Lusitania (and other ships, as seen on the horizon) to his cash flow from selling weapons and other supplies to the combatants, particularly the allies. The moneybags have tipped the scales. A 1916 postcard by Em. Dupuis.

Uncle Sam weighs the lives lost in the German sinking of the Lusitania (and other ships, as seen on the horizon) to his cash flow from selling weapons and other supplies to the combatants, particularly the allies. The moneybags have tipped the scales. A 1916 postcard by Em. Dupuis.

Image text

A l'ombre, de la Liberté

In the Shadow of Liverty

On the coffin and the ship in the distance, 'Lusitania'

Other views: Larger, Larger, Back

January 1 through November 11, 1918


The United States of America was neutral from the beginning of World War I until 1917. After the invasion of Belgium, the United States worked with Spain, also neutral, to feed the population, forming the American Relief Committee led by Herbert Hoover, an American mining engineer and later American President. Hugh Gibson, Secretary to the American Legation in Brussels, worked with Hoover and the Committee for the Provisioning of Belgium, and negotiated an agreement with the British government for transport of food through sea lanes controlled by Britain. American Relief was later expanded to cover the border and occupied territory in France.

Great Britain declared the entire North Sea a military zone as of November 5, 1914, and began implementing a naval blockade of Germany, claiming the right to search neutral ships. Neutral nations such as Netherlands and Sweden, but especially the United States, objected, particularly when Allied ships diverted those of neutral nations to port, rather than searching them on the high seas as international law required. After Germany laid mines around the British Isles, Britain did the same in the North Sea. Britain's diversions became easier to impose when it enforced a provision of safe passage along the English coast.


On February 4, 1915, Germany responded to Britain's declaration of a military zone in the North Sea by declaring its own war zone around the British isles and announcing a submarine warfare campaign in which all ships of Britain and its allies were subject to sinking without notice. German Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg opposed the campaign, believing it would bring America into the war. The United States, Italy, and other neutral nations protested this violation of international law — as they had protested the Allied blockade — but Germany began the campaign on February 18. Germany also accused the British of flagging their ships as those of neutral nations to deceive submariners.

On May 7, 1915, German submarine U-20 sank the liner Lusitania off the southwest coast of Ireland with a loss of 1,100 civilians, including over 100 Americans. In the face of international criticism, Germany suspended its submarine campaign.

None of the combattants had been prepared to meet the war's enormous material demands. Although Russia had an enormous population to draw on, it did not have factories adequate to meet the army's demands. The British blockade of Germany prevented it from trading in the world market for weapons, but the Entente Allies could purchase supplies from the United States and Japan. Artillery shells for bombardments before ground attacks were particularly limited. This shell shortage precipitated a political crisis in Britain in the spring of 1915 after the failure of Anglo-Indian offensives at Neuve Chapelle in March and Aubers Ridge and Festubert in May.

An unexploded American-made shell in the Ypres sector. The caption refers to it as American rubbish, making two points: American companies were selling weapons to the Entente Allies, but, even if Germany could buy them, they could not get through the British blockade. The unexploded shell is also a statement that American shells were duds, poorly made, and did not explode.

America's neutrality allowed it to do business with the combatants, but the blockade limited access to German markets. The United States supplied more than shells and other munitions. The Bethlehem Steel Company, for example, built ten submarines for Britain, smuggled into Canada and assembled there before going to sea. The United States did substantial business with the Allies, but commercial ties with Germany were limited because of the British blockade. From the beginning of the war, Germany complained of American raw materials and finished goods being shipped across the Atlantic and Pacific to the Allies. Although both sides claimed many American shells were duds, German agents had conducted a sabotage campaign to end the traffic.

German agents were active in the United States working to keep it out of the war and to disrupt the supply chain for materiel sold to the Entente Allies.

On July 24, 1915 a German diplomat in New York left a briefcase on a street car. As he frantically raced after the car to retrieve it, an American agent who had been following the German fled with the briefcase. It held papers documenting the establishment of shell companies to purchase supplies and raw materials used in manufacturing weapons including explosives, shells, and poison gas, and fake solicitations ostensibly for British purchases of weapons. Other papers documented payments to encourage press reports favorable to German interests and labor activity contrary to those of the Allies. Because the documents had been stolen from a German diplomat, the United States could not officially use them, but they were leaked to the press.

The United States, neutral until April, 1917, supplied the Entente Allies with arms, raw materials, and financing, but the British blockade was effective in minimizing the country's ability to do the same for the Central Powers.


Mexico was neutral during the war, but was at odds with its neutral neighbor, the United States. Pancho Villa, a former revolutionary Mexican general, was defeated by government forces in 1915, losing most of his army. In part blaming the United States, he seized a train in Mexico on January 11, 1916, killing 19 US citizens, and raided Columbus, New Mexico on March 9, killing 11 civilians. The United States sent a force under the command of General John J. Pershing into Mexico to capture Villa. On April 12, civilians and Mexican troops attacked an American cavalry column in Parral, Mexico.

After the sinking of Lusitania on May 7, 1915, Germany had restricted its submarine warfare, but not ended it. On April 19, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson's addressed the United States Congress, noting that German submarines continued to sink ships, often with no warning and leaving little time for passengers to use lifeboats. This would, cautioned Wilson, inevitably lead to the United States severing diplomatic relations with the German Empire.

Evading the English blockade, the German merchant submarine Deutschland surfaced in Chesapeake Bay on July 9, docked at Norfolk, Virginia, then sailed to Baltimore, Maryland the next day. The large submarine was capable of transporting goods such as rubber, nickel, and materials for explosives that Germany desperately needed. The governments of the Entente Allies jointly protested that the Deutschland was a warship rather than a merchant, and should be interned until the end of the war. The United States disagreed, and the submarine returned to Germany, arriving in Bremen on August 23. Deutschland made a second journey, reaching Long Island Sound and New London, Connecticut on November 1. After returning to Germany a second time, she failed to sail again. Her younger sister ship Bremen left for the United States, but never arrived. By April, 1917 the United States and Germany were at war, leaving few destinations for a merchant submarine.

On October 22, Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm complained to American Ambassador James Gerard about the financial aid the United States provided Britain and France, and about submarines built in America and escorted to Britain by ships of the American Navy.

On guard against saboteurs and espionage, troops guard the Boston and Maine Railroad bridge and the Hoosac Tunnel, in Adams, Massachusetts.

On July 30, saboteurs detonated a railroad car filled with dynamite, setting off multiple explosions at the Black Tom munitions plant in Jersey City, New Jersey, the largest munitions and gunpowder shipping facility in the United States. The massive explosion blew out windows across the Hudson River in Manhattan, burst water mains, and killed five. The saboteurs included Paul Hilken, son of the head of the Baltimore office of the North German Lloyd shipping fleet and local honorary German consul, and Captain Frederick Hinsch, commander of the North German Lloyd cargo ship Neckar.

On October 7, a German submarine was off Newport, Rhode Island. The next day, it sank five ships off Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, three of them British and one a passenger ship with American passengers. No lives were lost as all passengers were rescued by American destroyers. On October 24, President Wilson, speaking in Cincinatti, said, 'I believe that the business of neutrality is over. The nature of modern war leaves no State untouched.'

Re-elect President Woodrow Wilson! An October 18, 1916 cartoon from the British magazine Punch. The German sinking of ships that killed American citizens and sabotage such as the July 30, 1916 attack that destroyed the Black Tom munitions plant in Jersey City, New Jersey, were not enough to make Wilson call for a declaration of war on Germany, much to the distress of Great Britain and the other Entente allies.

Wilson campaigned for reelection on the basis that he had 'kept us out of war'. The country had maintained its neutrality. German-Americans and anti-British Irish-Americans provided significant support for Germany. Many opposed Britain's blockade of Germany on commercial and humanitarian grounds. The US Government opposed the blockade as a violation of international law. But Wilson had also said the United States would break relations with Germany if it resumed its campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare.

Election day on November 7, 1916 ended with President Woodrow Wilson apparently having failed in his bid for re-election. Republican Charles Evans Hughes had taken New York, Illinois, and, other than New Hampshire, New England. Hughes had served as Governor of the state of New York from 1907 to 1910. He left that post to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, and stepped down from that position to accept the Republican nomination for the presidency. Hughes went to bed thinking he had won election, but the results from California were not yet in, and the state put Wilson over the top.


Coal shortages during the winter of 16-17, Germany's 'turnip winter.' In the US as well.

In an address to the United States Senate on January 22, President Wilson called for 'peace without victory,' 'government by the consent of the governed,' freedom of the seas, and 'moderation of armaments' — power sufficient to maintain order but no more.

The 1915 sinking of Lusitania with the loss of 128 Americans had led to the restriction of German submarine campaign, but not its end. Americans lives, in smaller numbers, continued to be lost; America continued to protest. At a Conference in Pless, held January 9 and 10, 1917, Germany decided in favor of unrestricted submarine warfare to begin on February 1. The participants hoped to starve Great Britain by sinking critical food and other supplies. German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg spoke against the policy, arguing it would bring the United States into the war against Germany and lead to the empire's defeat. The Chancellor lost his argument and capitulated to the decision, but did not resign.

By April, Germany would sink its goal of 1,000,000 tons of shipping per month, and would realize the Chancellor’s fear of bringing the United States in the war.

Just over a week after the Pless Conference, on January 19, Dr. Alfred Zimmermann, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the German Empire, sent what became known as the Zimmermann Telegram to Heinrich von Eckhardt, Germany's Ambassador to Mexico, informing him of the new submarine policy, hoping America would remain neutral, but proposing an alliance with Mexico if the United States were to enter the war against Germany. Should war with the United States appear immenent, Eckhardt was to approach Mexico's president with an offer of financial aid and support for a Mexican attempt to regain 'lost territory' in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. Eckhardt was also to suggest the president act as an intermediary and propose an alliance in this effort with Japan, then allied against Germany.

When war began in 1914, Great Britain had cut Germany's transatlantic cables. Germany's communications with its diplomats around the world, including those in America, traveled over British cables. The Germans were confident in their encryption but the British, who monitored cable traffic, had German code books and intercepted and decrypted German communications. Zimmermann's telegram was sent from Berlin to Johann von Bernstorff, German Ambassador to the United States, on January 16, and forwarded to Eckhardt over American cables on the 19th. The telegram was intercepted by both the British and Americans and decrypted by British Intelligence. After confirming its authenticity, Wilson released it to the press on February 28. Although the note was contingent upon a state of war between Germany and the United States, it helped turn the American public against Germany.

On January 31, German Ambassador von Bernstorff informed the US Secretary of State of Germany's submarine warfare policy beginning the next day. The policy went well beyond the British Isles war zone first declared in 1914, and beyond the original precautions against loss of life. Sea traffic would be 'stopped with every available weapon and without further notice'. The war zone would extend around Great Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, much of north Africa including Algeria, Libya, and Egypt, and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Wilson announced the breaking of relations with Germany on February 3, prompted by the sinking of the American steamer Housatonic 20 miles southwest of Bishop's Rock in the Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom, with no loss of life.

Cover to the sheet music for

Ten days, March 12 to 22, saw the sinking of three American ships with the loss of fifteen American lives, the Russian Revolution, the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, and United States recognition of the new Russian government. Russian autocracy had been one barrier to the United States' entry into the war, and it had been swept away.

On April 2, President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against the German Empire in response to that nation's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare and the American lives that policy had taken, property it had destroyed, and rights it had restricted. Four days later, on April 6, Congress passed it and Wilson signed. In his Congressional address, Wilson stated the country would bring 'all its power' and 'all its resources' to the fight, and elaborated that these included cooperation with and financing for those governments at war with Germany, the organization and mobilization of material resources of the United States, 500,000 or more men raised by conscription, and government funding by 'the present generation,' that is, to the extent possible, by taxation rather than borrowing. Wilson stressed that Germany had struck at all nations, and that America would fight as one among the many nations of the world, and for democracy.

Many Central and South American countries joined the US in the war, led by Cuba and Panama on April 7.

America was not prepared for war, but turned quickly. As of April 19, resident aliens were required to register with their local police. Conscription was passed on May 18 with registration required from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on June 5. The nation's response to conscription was much greater and more enthusiastic than expected with 10,000,000 men registering on June 5. Parades, some segregated, to the local registration sites were held in some places. The United States began building an army and ships, Liberty Ships, ships for convoys, transports for troop and supplies.

The first American destroyers reached Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland on May 4, 1917. The first soldiers — medical staff — reached Britain on May 18; the first combat troops May 26. On that day, there were 1,308 American troops in the United Kingdom.

Slow to ask Congress and the country to go to war, Woodrow Wilson, once committed, would do everything possible to win and to make opponents fall in line. The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed on June 15, 1917, the day after Wilson's address celebrating the second Flag Day, a commemoration he had proclaimed in 1916. In his 1917 speech he threatened, 'Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way in this day of high resolution when every principle we hold dearest is to be vindicated and made secure for the salvation of the nations.' The Espionage Act curbed free speech, targeting those who called for opposition to enlistment or conscription, who 'attempt to cause . . . refusal of duty in the military . . . '

Registration Certificate — draft card — for John Edward Barlow of Columbus, Ohio. Both houses of Congress passed the Selective Service bill on May 16, 1917, and President Wilson signed it into law two days later. All men then eligible — that is, between the ages of 21 and 30, both inclusive — were required to register on June 5, 1917, as Barlow and ten million others did.

In his April 2, 1917 address to Congress asking it to declare war on Germany, President Woodrow Wilson had stated his opinion that American males should be universally liable to service, and that 500,000 men should be immediately added to the military with 'subsequent additional increments of equal force' depending on need and the resources to train the men. In the 'General Organization Project,' defining the structure of the United States Army for the war effort, United States commander General Pershing called for an army of one million men as 'the smallest unit' and as many as 3 million in the future. The United States armies would be twice as large as the European ones, but would play little part in the fighting of 1917. In 1918, an army of this size would prove to be ill-suited for some of the roads and transport it would travel.

German submarines continued to sink vessels, with, for example, nine fishing trawlers sunk on George's Bank off the Maine coast on August 14.

On December 12, two ships collided in Halifax, Nova Scotia harbor, the French Mont Blanc loaded with munitions bound for Europe, and a Belgian relief ship. The resulting explosion killed 1,600 people, injured 9,000, and destroyed two square miles of the city. A train of provisions, supplies, and relief personnel left Boston, Massachusetts the night of the explosion. Delayed by a blizzard, it arrived in Halifax on the 8th. Nova Scotia continues to send the city of Boston a Christmas tree each year in thanks. Despite the Halifax disaster and continued sinkings, the convoy system thwarted the primary aim of the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare: to drive Britain out of the war before the United States could build up adequate forces in Europe to prevent the a German victory.

To improve transportation of men and materiel within the United States, the Interstate Commerce Commission recommended unifying the railroads. Wilson did so by proclamation on December 28.

When the year ended, there were 250,000 / 161,750 Americans/American troops in Europe. Earlier that month, French Commander Henri Philippe Pétain told Albert, King of the Belgians, the Americans lacked discipline and experience. They would gain both at great cost in the coming months.


In a January 8, 1918 Address to Congress, President Woodrow Wilson laid out the country's war aims, the Fourteen Points for which he said the United States was fighting. These included open and transparent diplomacy, freedom of the seas, equality of trade between nations, reduction in armaments, 'impartial adjustment of colonial claims,' the evacuation of occupied Russian, Belgian, and French territory including Alsace and Lorraine, adjustment of Italy's frontiers along ethnic lines, the 'opportunity for autonomous development' of the peoples of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the end of the occupations of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, sovereignty for Turkey, an independent Poland, and a 'general association of nations' to guarantee 'political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.'

Europe could see the Americans were coming, and in increasingly large numbers, but not hurrying to the front. American commander Pershing would neither subordinate American soldiers to French or British command, nor put American units into the line as part of an Allied army. The United States, for one thing, considered itself an 'Associated Power' rather than an ally. And Pershing, backed by Wilson, was adamant that he would field an American army, one of at least a million men, led by Americans and independent of the Allies.

Although the United States had instituted conscription within three weeks of declaring war in 1917, training was delayed for months. Trained in the United States, the troops were retrained after arriving in France. How American troops would be used became a more urgent issue when Germany launched Operation Michael on March 21, striking the British line in the Somme sector, in the first of what would be five offensives. As that March ended there were 300,000 American troops in France and, with the Allies being driven back, Pershing offered them to Commander Ferdinand Foch in an address on the 28th: 'Infantry, artillery, aëroplaces — all that I have I put at your disposal — do what you like with them.' In April, facing Germany's second drive, Operation Georgette, Foch struggled to turn Pershing's offer into reality.

Registration Card of Alien Female (Under Proclamation of the President, dated April 19, 1918

In mid-April Foch recorded that there were only 5 American divisions on the front: one with the French 1st Army, three holding quiet sectors, and one divided among French troops as part of their training. He also wrote there were Black troops serving with the French. All these totaled 23,000 men.

On March 26, in response to Germany's Somme Offensive, Operation Michael, the French and British agreed to subordinate their commanders, Henri Philippe Pétain and Douglas Haig, to the coordination of Ferdinand Foch. At the Beauvais conference on April 3, 1918, the British, French and American Governments charged Foch with coordinating the actions of the Allied Armies on the Western Front, superseding the March 26 agreement reached at Doullens.

Map of United States troop sailings from Canada and the United States to Great Britain, France, and Italy. Over 2,000,000 Americans sailed, divided roughly equally between Britain and France.

The United States built 1,000 cargo ships in 1917 and '18 and one cargo or transport ship left for Europe every five hours, but it was still building an army with all the men and material it required rather than putting that army into the field. British Prime Minister Lloyd George appealed to President Wilson for troops. Pershing agreed American troops could be used as reinforcements in British and French armies.

Germany's submarine campaign was intended to starve Britain before Americans in large numbers could fight. The campaign peaked in April???, sinking its goal of ??? tons. Rationing? In a May 2 agreement with the United States, Britain offered up food shipments in exchange for American troops. British ships would transport 130,000 American infantry and machine-gun detachments in May and 150,000 in June, reassessing in early June. All reducing food shipments to Britain.

Transporting more men and fewer weapons, the US Army was heavily reliant on its allies: on France for tanks and planes, on Great Britain for mortars. Revisiting the transport agreement on June 5, Britain and the United States agreed to transport 250,000 men each month in June and July on Anglo-American ships, bringing American strength to 21 divisions by the middle of July.

Map of the Marne front line on May 31, 1918 from Belleau Wood to Dormans, where the French and Americans stopped the German advance of 1918. From The History of The A.E.F. by Shipley Thomas.

On May 27, the third German offensive, the Aisne (Blucher) Offensive, hit the French, catching them unprepared and driving them back. Pétain was able to rush 16 divisions into defensive position in 24 hours. Americans were moved into the line. On May 28, near Montdidier, two American regiments captured the town of Cantigny and held it against three German counter-attacks, a victory that gave Pétain more confidence that he could rely on the Americans. Newly in the battle line, American and French colonial forces stopped the German attempt to cross the Marne River at Château Thierry and counter-attacked. Further American counter-attacks retook Belleau Wood, in a battle from June 6 to 25, and Vaux.

On June 9 and for the next four days, German forces again sought a breakthrough with the Noyon Montdidier Offensive. The suspension of the offensive on June 13 began a month in which the Allies awaited the next German offensive. Recognizing the need for close coordination of their forces, the French, British, and Americans confirmed Foch as Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies.

At the beginning of July, America had 20 divisions. America's army was segregated and Black soldiers served only as laborers rather than combat troops. Some Black units, such as the Fifteenth New York Regiment, were moved under French command and made combat soldiers. At the urging of Robert R. Moton of the Tuskegee Institute, President Wilson spoke out against lynching in a July 26 speech. In 1917, the year the United States entered the war, there were 38 lynchings in the country, 36 of them of Blacks. In 1918, there were 64, 60 of them of Blacks.

The fifth German offensive of 1918, the Champagne-Marne Offensive, finally began at midnight of Bastille Day, July 14. French and American troops who had paraded in Paris earlier in the day were rushed to the front.

The Hundred Days Campaign

The Champagne-Marne Offensive, which German commander Erich Ludendorff called his Friedensturm (Peace Assault), left his forces occupying an enormous salient from Soissons, an important communications center, east to Rheims and south to the Marne River. The Franco-American Aisne-Marne Offensive began July 17 and continued through August 6. Commanding the French 10th Army, that included the 1st and 2nd American Divisions and the Moroccan Division, General Charles Mangin struck on the western side of the salient on July 18, advancing as much as 8 km that day. By August 2 the allies had eliminated the salient and retaken Soissons.

Newsboys Memorial to Albert Edward Scott, Company H, 101st United States Infantry, A.E.F., Killed in Action at Epieds, France, July 23, 1918. Designed by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson (1871-1932), sculptor. Installed 1923 at Brookline, Massachusetts town hall (ww1mproject.org/items/show/765, July 6, 2018). Further information on Scott, who lied about his age and enlisted at the age of 15, can be found (July 6, 2018) at www.wickedlocal.com/x206836716/Age-didnt-stop-young-Brookline-newsboy-from-becoming-a-WWI-legend.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies, Foch held the unified command he had urged for months. He envisioned continuous attacks that would not allow the Germans to entrench, would not allow them to recover from one blow before the next struck elsewhere. To improve communications and transport he aimed to free railways from Paris to the front: north to Amiens, northeast to Soissons, and east to Verdun. The Aisne-Marne Offensive, the Second Marne Offensive, turned the tide, letting Foch execute his strategy.

The Anglo-French Battle of Amiens began on August 8 with the British to the north and French south. A regiment of the 33rd American Division fought with the British. The battle freed the rail line from Paris to the north.

The First American Army was formed on August 10 by General Pershing under his own command and took over its own portion of the front on August 30 in the Toul / St. Mihiel sector southeast of Verdun.

On August 25, the First American Army Corps was formed.

Pershing led his own army in its own battle at St. Mihiel with 20 US divisions, 267 tanks, and 1,400 Allied aircraft. The preliminary bombardment expended 1.1 million shells. Attacking on September 12, the Americans achieved impressive gains against an enemy that had begun evacuating the salient four days earlier. The offensive freed the rail line from Paris to the east.

America's great air ace, Eddie Rickenbacker, had claimed his first victories in April and May, but had then been unable to fly until September in the St. Mihiel Offensive. Frank Luke, America's greatest balloon buster, began his 17 days of victories on September 12, downing 14 balloons and 4 airplanes before his death on September 29.

Foch next planned Allied offensives beginning each day from September 26 to 29. Executing the plan, the Allies began their great offensive on September 26, with the Americans and French striking in the Meuse-Argonne sector to the east near Verdun, the Americans through the Argonne, the French on their left. On the 27th, the British attacked between Péronne on the Somme River and Lens. On September 28, a combined British, French, and Belgian offensive began in Flanders. On the 29th, the British and French struck between Péronne and La Fere. The French held the line between the Franco-American offensive on their right, and the British, French, and Belgian offensives on their left.

The Argonne was forested and difficult, well-defended territory. After being initially stopped by the Germans, the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive began on October 4. The Argonne was not completely cleared until October 18. Alvin York earned his Congressional Medal of Honor in the offensive.

Map of the Western Front on October 4, 1918. From The History of The A.E.F. by Shipley Thomas.

While the Franco-American offensive struggled, the British advanced, breaching the Hindenburg Line on September 29. On October 5 they were in open country behind the German defenses and had taken 36,000 prisoners. The French advanced in the Allied center, shortening and strengthening their line.

With the Meuse-Argonne Offensive still being fought, Foch and Pershing met on October 13 and agreed on formation of the Second American Army with Pershing elevated to Army Group Commander, the position held by Pétain and Haig. The American Second Army and remaining French armies held the line from Verdun south to Switzerland. French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, who visited the front lines throughout his tenure in office, was unable to reach the American front due to the chaos and gridlock behind it as men struggled to move food, materiel, and reserves forward, and casualties back. He was furious with Pershing whom he saw as responsible for holding up not only the American advance but that of the French army on his left.

Germany and Austria-Hungary exchanged notes requesting peace negotiations with Wilson in late September and early October. The President's October 9 note to Germany indicated a willingness to negotiate but a German submarine sank the Irish mail boat RMS Leinster with over 550 lives lost on the 10th. Wilson's next response was harsher and denounced Germany's 'illegal and inhuman' behavior in its submarine warfare and its destruction of property. Hoping to appease Wilson, Germany ended unrestricted submarine warfare for the second time on October 17.

Germany's allies were collapsing. On the Salonica Front, Bulgaria and its allies retreated before an Allied Offensive. Bulgaria signed an armistice on September 29. Turkey capitulated on October 31. The Austro-Hungarian Empire broke apart with new or altered governments formed in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and a Germanic Austria.

On October 28 the German constitution was revised, but Kaiser Wilhelm refused to abdicate. The next day sailors mutinied in the ports of Cuxhaven and Kiel. On the 31st, the American advance resumed, the British days later. In the first days of November, revolution broke out in Germany. A German Republic was declared on the 9th, the Kaiser fled to neutral Netherlands the next day as Allied and German representatives met. An armistice was signed effective November 11 at 11:00 AM.

America's war continued briefly after the armistice. Russia's former Allies, Britain, France, and the United States (which had welcomed the revolution that removed the autocratic Tsar) opposed the Bolsheviks, and made military efforts to oppose them. American and British troops landed in Murmansk, a river port near Russia's northern border with Norway and Finland which held supplies the Allies had provided to Russia. American ships were in Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok and carried some of the Czech Legion on their around-the-world journey to their new homeland.



Events contemporaneous with The United States at War

Start Date End Date View
1915-06-23 1917-11-12 Battles of the Isonzo
1917-01-01 1917-12-09 Romania at War, 1917
1917-04-07 Cuba declares war on Germany
1917-04-09 1917-04-10 Battle of Vimy Ridge
1917-04-09 1917-05-17 Battle of Arras
1917-04-16 1917-05-17 Nivelle Offensive
1917-04-16 1917-05-05 Second Battle of the Aisne
1917-05-03 1917-05-20 French Army Mutinies
1917-06-07 1917-06-14 Messines Ridge
1917-07-01 1917-08-03 Kerensky Offensive