War Preparedness Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

One of the things demonstrated by the United States’ incursion into Mexico prior to the release of the Zimmerman telegram was that the U.S. military, seemingly, was not ready for full-scale war with a foreign power. That is, if there were logistical and other problems in mounting attacks across the border against Pancho Villa’s forces, imagine how much greater those problems would be if the United States joined the Allies against the Central Powers in far-off Europe and Central Asia. Still, when the time came to fight, the American war machine, under determined leadership in Washington, D.C., was able to gear up relatively quickly and put together an amazing array of weaponry, manpower, and logistical support. That is the main theme of the present section. One should be reminded, however, that, as we saw in the case of the official press report on U.S. naval maneuvers (see “Opening Volleys” section), government reports concerning government activities can be biased and must, therefore, be read with a critical eye. In the documents included here, for example, we discover that in spite of glowing early reports about effective collaboration between the U.S. government and American railroad companies in organizing for war, ultimately the government found it necessary to nationalize the railroads in order to maintain firm control over the situation. This was just one of many examples of actions speaking louder than words.

One of the things demonstrated by the United States’ incursion into Mexico prior to the release of the Zimmerman telegram was that the U.S. military, seemingly, was not ready for full-scale war with a foreign power. That is, if there were logistical and other problems in mounting attacks across the border against Pancho Villa’s forces, imagine how much greater those problems would be if the United States joined the Allies against the Central Powers in far-off Europe and Central Asia. Still, when the time came to fight, the American war machine, under determined leadership in Washington, D.C., was able to gear up relatively quickly and put together an amazing array of weaponry, manpower, and logistical support. That is the main theme of the present section. One should be reminded, however, that, as we saw in the case of the official press report on U.S. naval maneuvers (see “Opening Volleys” section), government reports concerning government activities can be biased and must, therefore, be read with a critical eye. In the documents included here, for example, we discover that in spite of glowing early reports about effective collaboration between the U.S. government and American railroad companies in organizing for war, ultimately the government found it necessary to nationalize the railroads in order to maintain firm control over the situation. This was just one of many examples of actions speaking louder than words.

Categories: History Content