Excerpt from History of the Seventy-Ninth Division, A. E. F. During the World War, 1917-1919: Formation and Training in the United States, 1917-1918, the Pre-Combat Period in France, at the Front, the Post-Armistice Period in France, Demobilization in the United States, 1919
... Whenever a great nation declares war, it follows as a natural consequence that history will be made. If that war is punitive in character, the masses of the people in a great nation pay little attention and are not greatly disturbed, nor are they distracted from their daily routine. But when that war is by far the greatest undertaking ever engaged in, the whole nation is awakened to its immensity and supports the concerted movement to the limit, throwing its full force - its every resource - into the fray.
Our country's part in the World War was by far the greatest project, com mercial or military, ever entered into by these United States. All the nation's resources were turned from peaceful and commercial pursuits and thrown into a supreme military effort.
The Army, the military force, was increased within eighteen months from a body of less than one hundred thousand to more than five million men, and within fifteen months from the date this country declared war, we had placed a substantial fighting force in a field over thirty-five hundred miles from its base. This was augmented at the rate of several hundred thousand a month until more than two million men were in the American Expeditionary Forces in France.
It was of this great army, the American Expeditionary Forces, that the Seventy-ninth Division became a part, and it is the purpose of this book to record in an accurate, unbiased, complete and authenticated manner the history of the Seventy-ninth Division, both at home and overseas.
Standing forth in the splendid record of the Division are three achievements, three grim epics of modern warfare. To the Seventy-ninth Division fell the signal honor of conquering the two highest points on the meuse-argonne battlefield and thrusting into the German line on Armistice Day the deepest salient on the whole American front.
Montfaucon, impregnable for four years, famed as an Observatory from which the enemy commanded the entire American line, fell before the assaults of the Division. It was taken on September 27, the second day of the first phase of the meuse-argonne Offensive, and, once it had been wrested free, the eye of the German Army was gone.
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