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THE IMPACT OF THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

The size of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) expanded to over 2 million by November of 1918, and they were definitely needed. Lenin and the Bolsheviks took over in Russia in November of 1917 and pulled the Russians out of the war. With only one front to worry about, by March of 1918 the Germans had almost all of their troops on the western front, and in early June were less than 50 miles from Paris.

American soldiers played a major role in preventing the Germans from taking Paris, The Americans held firm at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry. preventing the Germans from crossing the Marne and advancing toward Paris. Americans were also involved in a major offensive against the Germans in July and decisively defeated the Germans at the Battle of St. Mihiel. Over 1 million AEF forces took part in the final Meuse- Argonne Offensive of late September 1918, which cut the supply lines of the Germany army and convinced the German general staff that victory was impossible.

The armistice ending the war was signed on November 11, 1918. Nearly 115,000 Americans died in this war, a mere pittance compared to the nearly 8 million European soldiers who died in battle. American military heroes from World War I included American fighter pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and Captain Alvin York, who single-handedly shot 25 German soldiers and captured another 132.

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