President Trump to attend Bastille Day Parade in Paris honoring WWI U.S. soldiers who arrived in France 100 years ago
By Gregory Viscusi
via the Bloomberg Politics web site
The regimental color guard of the U.S. Army's Sixteenth Infantry Regiment prepares to march through Paris, 4 July 1917. The French government requested a contingent of US troops to march through Paris on the 4th of July in order to bolster French morale.U.S. President Donald Trump has accepted French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to attend France’s Bastille day celebrations as the two men put aside differences to pay tribute to the U.S. soldiers who fought in France 100 years ago.
Trump will attend the traditional July 14 military parade where American troops will march alongside French soldiers to commemorate the centenary of the U.S. entry into World War I, the offices of both leaders said.
Aside from the ceremonial aspects of the trip, “the two leaders will further build on the strong counter-terrorism cooperation and economic partnership between the two countries, and they will discuss many other issues of mutual concern,” the White House said in a statement.
While Macron has been spared some of the public criticism Trump has poured on European leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, the two have had some sparring from a distance. Trump went out of his way to say he represented “Pittsburgh, not Paris” when justifying pulling out of the Paris climate accord, even though the mayor of Pittsburgh said he supports the accord to limit carbon emissions.
Macron responded by making a statement in English where he invited U.S. scientists to France to carry out research “to make the planet great again,” hijacking Trump’s campaign slogan.
Read more: President Trump to attend Bastille Day Parade in Paris honoring U.S. soldiers who arrived in...
Four Questions for author Gene Fax
"The episodes of the war speak for themselves in all their tragedy, triumph, irony, and absurdity."
By Paul Burgholzer
Author Gene Fax spent seventeen years combing archives in Washington, Baltimore, Paris, West Point, and Carlisle, Pennsylvania. to research the story of the U.S. 79th Division in World War I. He specifically wanted to learn about their pivotal role during the Battle for Mountfaucon -- one of the most bloody and fiercely contested battles of the entire war. Part of his drive to learn this story was the fact that Gene Fax's grandfather, Corporal Oscar Lubchansky, served in that division, in that battle, as a member of the division's 313th Infantry Regiment. WW1CC's Paul Burgholzer heard about Gene Fax's remarkable book, and reached out to the author to hear more.
The book focuses around the 79th Division. What about the 79th division intrigued you the most?
Gene FaxThe whole project began as an attempt to reconstruct my grandfather’s service history. He fought in the 313th Infantry Regiment, part of the 79th Division. I always remembered the stories he used to tell my brother and me when we were little, and when I was in my 40s I wanted to learn more about him. As you know, the Army Personnel Records Center in St. Louis had a fire in 1973 that destroyed almost all of their World War I files. So as a substitute I started reading about the 313th. I had read military history most of my life and was reasonably conversant with the American role in the war, but I had never heard of the major battle of the 313th, the fight for Montfaucon. When I looked for books on that battle, I found there were none. My wife said, “So you’ll write the book.” And that’s how it started.
As my research unfolded, it became clear that the 79th was of more than personal interest. Every problem that beset the AEF plagued the division, usually in exaggerated form--lack of training, unfamiliar equipment, inexperienced officers, faulty doctrine, miserable roads, poor combat supply, you name it. Their only asset was their incredible determination, and by the end of the war—in less than seven weeks of combat--they had transformed themselves into a competent fighting unit. I figured that was a story to which many people would respond.
General Pershing was an important figure in the war as well as your book. What is your overall opinion of General Pershing?
In the book I spent a lot of time criticizing Pershing’s open warfare doctrine, and I stand by that criticism. But in retrospect I should have given him more credit as a manager, leader, and diplomat. Getting two million men (and several thousand women) off the transports, across France, and into the front lines was a stunning accomplishment. It certainly stunned the Germans. Part of the AEF’s success was due to Pershing’s ability to appoint talented subordinates—Hugh Drum as First Army Chief of Staff, James Harbord as head of the Services of Supply, Charles Dawes as General Purchasing Agent, Dennis Nolan heading Intelligence, George Marshall in Operations, the list goes on and on. But he also knew how to supervise and motivate his subordinates, and his personality and iron will percolated down to the lowest private.
Pershing knew what kind of army he wanted and he stopped at nothing to get it. Others have observed that Pershing had to fight a three-front war: against the enemy, against his allies, and against the War Department. Germany had a continuous military tradition going back to Frederick the Great, while the United States had raised large armies only for immediate crises, and not since the Civil War; Pershing was unimpressed. The French and British wanted their own forces to absorb American battalions as they got off the boat; Pershing insisted on a unified, self-sufficient army of his own and by and large he got it. With the War Department he argued constantly over what training the men should receive, how many divisions to send to France, how to allocate shipping capacity between combat and support units, even what kind of airplane engines to manufacture. In these interchanges he was, as the saying goes, “often wrong but never in doubt.” He could be a pain in the neck, but he was a pain in the neck who got things done. As I did say in the book, it is hard to imagine an American officer of the time who could have been a more effective commander in chief.
Read more: Four Questions for Author Gene Fax