How important was American reinforcements to defeating the Germans in World War 1?

Oct 2013
10
Wargames
I notice in British Academia today, they seem to downplay, if not ignore the American contributions to victory. In particular they seem to have a belief if American didn't send soldiers to aid in the final years of 1917-18, it wouldn't have mattered. The Allies still would have won the war because the British had blockaded every major German port and both the British and French were going to be reinforced by foreign soldiers from their colonies. That the American contribution was miniscule at best and the French and British didn't even need American supply aid because they simply would have grabbed supplies from their own colonies.

But in American Academia, they emphasize that AMERICAN AID was essential to defeating the Germans. Not only aid in supplies, but American military scientists and historians emphasize that WITHOUT American soldiers backing the French trenches during the final years of the war, the French line would have cracked and the British would be in a vulnerable position. Possibly the British army would be wiped out and the Germans would march into Paris.

These are the two extremes I've seen. In between there is the French view who not only generally praise the American soldier and are grateful for the American aid but they even admitted they doubt without American soldiers that they would have been able to hold off the final assault.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,469
plenty of threads on this do a search.

the direct US military effect was very limited, the 1918 German offensive would have been held without them. they did very little fighting and they had a lot to learn about warfare, their attitude was pretty cocksure, if the German army was in better shape they could have played a heavy price. the knowledge of growing large US army had a huge effect psychologically on the central powers. it was a factor in the gamble of the 1918 offensives.

all the major powers were pretty beaten up state both in terms of army and the economy. the British and French armies were getting fragile, the Austrians were shot and the Germans fragile. the us army was fresh and it ability to take casualties would have glossed over it's problems , it's extreme tactical naivety and lack of good staff work (not that the officers were poor, but the enormous army quickly put together meant officers generally were pretty french and lacked experience. and the staff work was not great) the US was also not the industrial powerhouse that it was in ww2. while it provided a lot if industrial and raw materials, it's own forces were equipped with french and British artillery, tanks and aircraft. it was also shipped almost totally of British ships (the US didn't really mobilize it's merchant marine, busy picking up the trade the British were not doing because they were more focused on the war)

the collapse of Austria-hungry and turkey would have happened anyway, they were just exhausted and done. the German economy was also in very poor shape, the morale of the army was breaking. the french and British were had money problems, but none of the huge economic problems of the central powers.
 

SirOrmondeWinter

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,556
Very important, not just for the soldiers that arrived but the potential of those who were coming, played a major part in the German collapse. The addition of the US fleet also shifted the naval balance overwhelmingly in the Allies favour
 

bartieboy

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,616
The Netherlands
plenty of threads on this do a search.

the direct US military effect was very limited, the 1918 German offensive would have been held without them. they did very little fighting and they had a lot to learn about warfare, their attitude was pretty cocksure, if the German army was in better shape they could have played a heavy price. the knowledge of growing large US army had a huge effect psychologically on the central powers. it was a factor in the gamble of the 1918 offensives.

all the major powers were pretty beaten up state both in terms of army and the economy. the British and French armies were getting fragile, the Austrians were shot and the Germans fragile. the us army was fresh and it ability to take casualties would have glossed over it's problems , it's extreme tactical naivety and lack of good staff work (not that the officers were poor, but the enormous army quickly put together meant officers generally were pretty french and lacked experience. and the staff work was not great) the US was also not the industrial powerhouse that it was in ww2. while it provided a lot if industrial and raw materials, it's own forces were equipped with french and British artillery, tanks and aircraft. it was also shipped almost totally of British ships (the US didn't really mobilize it's merchant marine, busy picking up the trade the British were not doing because they were more focused on the war)

the collapse of Austria-hungry and turkey would have happened anyway, they were just exhausted and done. the German economy was also in very poor shape, the morale of the army was breaking. the french and British were had money problems, but none of the huge economic problems of the central powers.
Agreed, I would summarize this in saying that it was more about the potential of American contribution in 1918 than their actual contribution.
To know that your enemy is only getting stronger and stronger as time progresses is a very demotivating thing.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,469
the collapse of Austria Hungary, turkey, German economic near collapse and the defeat of the German army and navy was accomplished without much direct help of the US forces. the Us forces were equipped with french and British artillery, tanks and aircraft. us material and loans were pretty vital to the allied nations, and the psychological impact of the growing us forces had a large effect on German morale and strategy. the US tend to over emphasis their contribution, and dont acknowledge the vast economic advantages the
US got from the war. the direct impact of US forces was minimal as was thier actual combat was pretty minor.
 

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,953
UK
Agreed, I would summarize this in saying that it was more about the potential of American contribution in 1918 than their actual contribution.
To know that your enemy is only getting stronger and stronger as time progresses is a very demotivating thing.
Yes, I agree. It was potential assets that would've caused panic to German commanders. After years of bleeding each other dry, to know that the allies have another "limitless" basin of manpower, readily available, would've been a huge psychological stress to the Germans.