World War I

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World War I

World War I was an international conflict primarily involving European nations that was fought between 1914 and 1918. The United States did not enter the conflict until April 1917, but its entry was the decisive event of the war, enabling the Allies (Great Britain, France, Italy, and Russia) to defeat the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria). The leadership of President woodrow wilson led to both the conclusion of hostilities and the creation of the League of Nations, an international organization dedicated to resolving disputes without war.

The war began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. During the late nineteenth century, European nations had negotiated military alliances with each other that called for mutual protection. The Austria-Hungary declaration of war triggered these alliance commitments, leading to the widening of the war between the Allies and Central Powers.

During the next four years, the war was fought primarily on three fronts and on the Atlantic Ocean. The western front was in France, where Germany was opposed by France, Great Britain, and eventually the United States. The eastern front was in Russia, where Germany and Austria-Hungary opposed Russia. The southern front was in Serbia and involved Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

In August 1914 Germany invaded Belgium and then moved into France. German forces were unable to achieve a decisive victory, however, ever, and the war soon became a conflict of fixed battle lines. French, British, and German soldiers lived and fought in trenches, periodically making assaults on the enemy by entering the "no man's land" between the two sets of trenches. The use of machine guns, tanks, gas warfare, and artillery in these confined battlefields generated unprecedented human carnage on the western front.

Though Germany had more success on the eastern front, neither side had sufficient economic and military strength to achieve victory. In 1916 and early 1917, Wilson sought to bring about negotiations between the Allies and Central Powers that would lead, in his words, to "peace without victory." Wilson's efforts at first appeared promising, but German military successes convinced the Central Powers that they could win the war.

Germany's use of submarine warfare proved to be the key element in provoking the United States' entry into the war. In 1915 a German submarine had torpedoed without warning the British passenger steamship Lusitania off the southern coast of Ireland. Nearly 1,200 persons died, including 128 U.S. citizens. Popular feeling in the United States against Germany was intense, leading to calls for declaring war on Germany. Wilson, however, sought a diplomatic solution. Though Germany rebuked his call for assuming responsibility for the tragedy, it did not sink any more passenger liners without warning. Wilson abandoned his peacemaking efforts when Germany announced that unrestricted submarine warfare would begin on February 1, 1917. This meant that U.S. merchant ships were in peril, despite the fact that the United States was a neutral in the war. Wilson broke diplomatic relations with Germany on February 3 and asked Congress later that month for authority to arm merchant ships and take other protective measures. In mid-March German submarines sank three U.S. merchant ships, with heavy loss of life. Wilson called a special session of Congress for April 2 and asked for a declaration of war on Germany. Congress obliged, and on April 6, 1917, Wilson signed the declaration.

The United States immediately moved to raise a large military force by instituting a military draft. It took months, however, to raise, train, and dispatch troops to Europe. The first 85,000 members of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), under the command of General John J. Pershing, arrived in France in June 1917. By the end of the war in November 1918, there were 2 million soldiers in the AEF.

Germany realized that U.S. war production and financial strength reduced Germany's chances of victory. In March 1918 Germany launched its last great offensive on the western front. U.S. troops saw their first extended action in the Battle of the Marne, halting the German advance on June 4. During the second Battle of the Marne, U.S. and French troops again stopped the German advance and successfully counterattacked. The Allies began pushing back the German army all along the western front, signaling the beginning of the end of German resistance.

Wilson renewed his peace efforts by proposing a framework for negotiations. On January 8, 1918, he delivered an address to Congress that named Fourteen Points to be used as the guide for a peace settlement. The fourteenth point called for a general association of nations that would guarantee political independence and territorial integrity for all countries. In October 1918 Germany asked Wilson to arrange a general Armistice based on the Fourteen Points and the immediate start of peace negotiations. Germany finally capitulated and signed an armistice on November 11, 1918.

The 1919 Treaty of Versailles ended World War I and imposed disarmament, reparations, and territorial changes on Germany. The treaty also established the League of Nations, an international organization dedicated to resolving world conflicts peacefully. Wilson, however, was unable to convince the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaty, because it was opposed to U.S. membership in the League of Nations.

World War I also saw the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia. The specter of a worldwide Communist movement generated fears in the United States that socialists, anarchists, and Communists were undermining democratic institutions. During the war, socialist opponents of the war were convicted of Sedition and imprisoned. In 1920 the federal government rounded up 6,000 Aliens who it considered to be politically subversive. These "Palmer Raids," named after Attorney General A. mitchell palmer, violated basic civil liberties. Agents entered and searched homes without warrants, held persons without specific charges for long periods of time, and denied them legal counsel. Hundreds of aliens were deported.

Further readings

Macmillan, Margaret Olwen. 2002. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York: Random House.

May, Christopher N. 1989. In the Name of War: Judicial Review and the War Powers Since 1918. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press

Murphy, Paul L. c1979. World War I and the Origin of Civil Liberties in the United States. New York: Norton.

Cross-references

Communism; "Fourteen Points" (Appendix, Primary Document); Socialism.

References in periodicals archive ?
Also on Friday, 14th June, there will be a major new initiative to bring together students from different countries across the continent 'The AEF University Challenge', which will give EnergyNet Student Engagement Initiative (ESEI) students from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, South Africa and Senegal the opportunity to be crowned '2019 University Challenge Champions'.
In October, because D.H.9 drawings would not be available for months and production to equip early AEF squadrons could wait no longer, contracts were placed for 250 DH-4s to be followed by 6,750 DH-9s.
Consequently, the AEF assumed increasing responsibility for operating French ports and railroads and improving existing facilities.
A TEVAR of AEF with unresectable T4-EC extended the life of the patient for nearly 4 months.
Diagnosis of AEF requires signs of infection and of gastrointestinal bleeding and is determined by the use of esophagogastroduodenoscopy and computed tomography (4).
Groups M liver M kidney NC 4.96 [+ or -] 0.19 1.20 [+ or -] 0.05 AEF 200 5.23 [+ or -] 0.23 1.22 [+ or -] 0.03 AEF 1000 5.25 [+ or -] 0.20 1.21 [+ or -] 0.05 AEF 2000 5.47 [+ or -] 0.21 1.20 [+ or -] 0.04 Groups F liver F kidney NC 4.66 [+ or -] 0.11 1.01 [+ or -] 0.02 AEF 200 4.89 [+ or -] 0.15 1.10 [+ or -] 0.04 AEF 1000 4.91 [+ or -] 0.24 1.06 [+ or -] 0.06 AEF 2000 4.92 [+ or -] 0.15 1.12 [+ or -] 0.03 M liver: male liver; M kidney: male kidney; F liver: female liver; F kidney: female kidney; NC: normal control group; AEF 200: aqueous extract at the dose of 200 mg/kg; AEF 1000: aqueous extract at the dose of 1000 mg/kg; AEF 2000: aqueous extract at the dose of 2000 mg/kg.
Pershing, AEF commander, recognized the need to regain mobility.
With a mission to support post-secondary students as they prepare for careers of service and leadership that improve lives in underserved communities, AEF has hired Brown to lead the organization in outreach to foundations, corporations, individuals and the community at-large, forming strategic partnerships, and helping increase the amount of support AEF provides.
Silvestrov, "Estimation of parameters for the multi-peaked AEF current functions," Methodology and Computing in Applied Probability, pp.
The "herald bleed" is a common presentation of AEF that needs to be recognized early in order to prevent a later catastrophic hemorrhage.
Contrary to Major Warren's claim of inexperience--a specious claim advanced by British officers and newsmen--the wartime Army of the United States had a majority of former AEF officers directing America's ground forces and filling the senior ranks of the USAAF.
21 (BNA):Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Vice-President of the International Equestrian Federation (Federation Equestre Internationale, FEI) and President of the Seventh Arabian Group was elected as honorary president of the African Equestrian Federation (AEF).