Pershing, John Joseph
Pancho) Villa in Mexico. After U.S. entry into World War I, Pershing was appointed (1917) to head the American Expeditionary Force in France. His talent for organization was largely responsible for the molding of hastily trained American troops into well-integrated combat units, but his understanding of combat conditions on the Western Front was in the main uninformed. The Allied military leaders had hoped to use U.S. troops as replacements for the heavy French and British losses, but Pershing insisted that the Americans operate as a separate force under his command. His two books Final Report (1919) and My Experiences in the World War (1931) recount his war years. After the war he was promoted (1919) to permanent general of the armies of the United States. He was (1921–24) chief of staff before retiring from the army in 1924. He later served (1925) on the plebiscite commission in the Tacna-Arica Controversy.
See biographies by H. McCracken (1931), F. Palmer (1948, repr. 1970), R. O'Connor (1961), F. E. Vandiver (2 vol., 1967–77), and D. Smythe (1973); G. Smith, Until the Last Trumpet Sounds (1998).
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