Sample Source Discussion
Thesis: In his book “The Doughboys” Gary Mead tries to redress the balance of history by reinstating the vital importance of the American contribution to the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I in November 1918. Many British and French history books downplay the importance of America’s intervention in the War. Mead wants to “remind” historians of the importance of America joining the War.
Evidence #1: In his diary American General Robert Bullard comments on the lack of offensive spirit of the French soldiers when he and the American soldiers arrived at the trenches: “ The French count on nothing else than purely trench warfare. Plainly they show that they consider their part of the offensive of this war as done. Without saying, they seem to feel that they have done their part, and expect others to carry on the war when any carrying on is to be done.” Clearly Bullard believes that the French are done trying to force the Germans out of their nation.
Evidence #2: This is a photograph showing some of the German dead as a result of a battle against American forces. (show photograph.) Mead mentions that there hundreds of photographs such as these which shows the effect of the American doughboys joining the Allies in battle.
Evidence #3: In June of 1918 the Germans try an offensive with the objective of getting to Paris. At one point in the offensive they will run into the First Battalion Fifth Marines. Many times during this battle French generals order the outnumbered Marines to retreat however Marine captain Lloyd Williams replies with the famous quote “Retreat? Hell, we just got here.” Taking huge casualties the Marines are able to stop the German advance. The Marines made such an impression on the French generals that the French awarded the Marines a French medal (read Pvt. Malcolm Aitken letter on page 250.) The French believed that were it not for the Marines they might have lost Paris.
In his book “The Doughboys” Gary Mead tries to redress the balance of history by reinstating the vital importance of the American contribution to the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I in November 1918.