General John Joseph Pershing(1860-1948)

A determined and professional soldier General Pershing or 'Black Jack' had a varied career, seing service as a young cavalry officer in the last stages of the Indian Wars, reaching his peak as a General in command of an Army supported by tanks and aircraft in the latter stages of the First World War and lived to see the use of atomic weapons by his country. Born in Linn County Missouri on 13th September 1860 he graduated from West point in 1886, then serving as cavalry officer for the next four years. He served with distinction in the Spanish-American War, in both Cuba and in the Philippines. Promoted straight from Captain to the rank of Brigadier-general due to President Roosevelt's confidence in him he was to gain respect but never popularity. In May 1917 he was appointed commander of the US Expeditionary Force in France. Throughout this command he refused to let US troops be amalgamated into weakened Allied forces to make up losses. His career in France was not without errors and he was blamed for various logistic problems leading up to the Meuse-Argonne sector offensive in 1918. He was finally appointed General of the Armies in September 1919 and served as Army Chief of staff from 1921 until he retired in 1924. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

With their Bare Hands – General Pershing, the 79th Division and the battle for Montfaucon, Gene Fax. Focuses on the exploits of the 79th Division during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, one of the largest battles in US military history, and in particular the battle for Montfaucon, supported by an excellent account of the American entry into the First World War, the doctrine and training of the US Army, the decisions of Pershing and his senior commanders. Shows how the American army was able to learn from its costly experiences and adapt to the conditions on the Western Front, often despite Pershing’s own believes about how the fighting should have gone(Read Full Review)
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Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (24 December 2000), General John Joseph Pershing(1860-1948), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_pershing.html

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