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This thesis examines how well the United States Army of World War I prepared for battle by learning the lessons of modern combat from other nations engaged in war. Armies prepare for war during peace. However, the true validation of doctrine weapons, organization, and training developed in peacetime is war. Hostilities between the Allied and Central Powers raged for three years before the Unites States declared war. This period provided the US Army a unique opportunity to observe how technologies and techniques were effectively employed by French, British, and German commanders.
The question this thesis attempts to answer is: How well did the United States Army apply the experiences of the belligerent nations from 1914 to 1917 in preparing the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) for combat in the European Theater? The thesis starts with a discussion of pre-war Army developments from the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 through the last US military action before the declaration of war, the Punitive Expedition to Mexico. The evolution of warfare through French, British, and German experience is described followed by a discussion of the observations of modern warfare by military professionals and how US Army doctrinal publications and operations planning reflected these changes. The thesis then analyses US battlefield performance and influences upon the formation of US doctrine.