The July 9th print edition of TIME has an collection of short articles under the title “Seven Moments from U.S. History That Matter Now.” Online, it’s expanded to 25 moments. One of the moments is the Meuse-Argonne campaign of 1918, and the contributor is Richard S. Faulkner of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Richard–or Shawn, as many know him–is a familiar voice on WWI on C-SPAN, and as a member of the audience at one of his talks at the National World War I Museum and Memorial said recently, “If he had gone on for three hours I would have hung on every word.”
Hopefully TIME won’t object to his piece being copied here. If you are interested in all 25 moments, see http://time.com/5314430/american-history-moments-matter-today/
The Meuse-Argonne Campaign Begins (Sept. 26, 1918)
Although the Meuse-Argonne campaign is little remembered today, it was the greatest U.S. military contribution to World War I and the opening act of the “American century.” The 47 autumn days of brutal fighting claimed 26,277 American lives — making it the deadliest battle in the nation’s history — and left nearly 100,000 doughboys wounded. This sacrifice materially contributed to the collapse of the German army. It earned Woodrow Wilson a major role in crafting the peace that followed. And it demonstrated that the U.S., which had generally avoided great power entanglements, had the will and ability to assume a major role on the world stage by using its vast military, political and economic power to secure its global interests and further the nation’s worldview. But the Meuse-Argonne also highlights the fact that hard-won victories do not always lead to a just and enduring peace — a lesson that is as crucial today as it was back then.
Richard S. Faulkner is the William A. Stofft Professor and Chair of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and author of Pershing’s Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I, which received the World War I Association’s 2017 Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. Prize for the best work of history in English on World War One and the Organization of American Historians’ 2017 Richard W. Leopold Prize.