In the spring of 1918 the US Army founded a Historical Section at the Army War College with the explicit task to write a history of the American contribution to the Great War. Budget restrictions initially prevented the Historical Section to make use of the vast drove of documents already collected. It took until 1948 until many of these documents were finally published in a seventeen-volume series. These are available online both as PDF as well as HTML. We´ve linked to the HTML versions, but you can easily access the PDF versions from the Center of Military History´s Website.
Lacking a narrative, this series is not a history in the normal sense of the word, but the orders and reports reproduced in these volumes come from US, British, and French units and provide insight into training, lessons, and operations in the last two years of the war.
United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919
Volume 1: Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces
Narrative account of the AEF’s participation in major operations
Volume 4: Early Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Cambrai Nov 20 – Dec 4 1917, Somme Defensive Mar 21 – Apr 6 1918, Lys Apr 9 – Apr 27 1918, Aisne Defensive May 27 – Jun 5 1918, Cantigny Apr 12 – Jun 2 1918, Château-Thierry Jun 6 – Jul 5 1918 (Belleau Wood Jun 6 – 25 1918, Vaux Jun 26 – Jul 3 1918), Montdidier-Noyon June 9-13 1918
Volume 5: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Champagne-Marne July 15 – 18 1918, Aisne-Marne July 18 – Aug 6 1918
Volume 6: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Oise-Aisne Aug 7 – Nov 11 1918, Ypres-Lys Aug 19 – Nov 11 1918, Vittorio-Veneto Oct 24 – Nov 4 1918
Volume 7: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Somme Offensive Aug 8 – Nov 11 1918
Volume 8: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
St-Mihiel Sept 12 – 16 1918, Meuse-Argonne Sept 26 – Nov 11 1918
Volume 9: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Meuse-Argonne Sept 26 – Nov 11 1918
Volume 10-1: The Armistice Agreement and Related Documents
Volume 10-2: The Armistice Agreement and Related Documents
Volume 11: American Occupation of Germany
Nov 1918 – July 1919; German Campaign Plans Oct 29 – Nov 11 1918
Volume 16: General Orders, GHQ, AEF
Volume 17: Bulletins, GHQ, AEF
Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War
Volume 2; Divisions
Volume 3, part 1: Organization and Activities of the War Department
Volume 3, part 3: Directory of Troops
The post war (WW1) situation in the Navy was no different from the Army: Owing to budget cuts the US Navy remained short of funds to compile an official history of its actions. Lacking a large-scale official history, the Historical Section of the Navy Department produced eight short volumes between 1920 and 1923, which are useful sources on US naval activity in the war, some of which are available online:
- German Submarine Activities on the Atlantic Coast of the United States and Canada. 1920. 163 pp.
- The Northern Barrage and Other Mining Activities. 1920. 146 pp.
- Digest Catalogue of Laws and Joint Resolutions, the Navy and the World War. 1920. 64 pp.
- “The Northern Barrage” (Taking up the Mines). 1920. 79 pp.
- History of the Bureau of Engineering. 1922. 176 pp.
- The United States Naval Railway Batteries in France
- The United States Naval Railway Batteries in France. 1922. 97 pp. (Reprinted 1988 by Naval Historical Center).
- The American Naval Planning Section London. 1923. 537 pp.
US Air Force
The US Air Force did not come into being until 1947, long after most other countries had established independent air forces. Nevertheless, the different departments and units tasked with waging air war had left a considerable amount of documents, and in 1978, the Office of Air Force History finally produced a four-volume series, The U.S. Air Service in World War I:
- Volume One: Final Report of the Chief of Air Serice, AEF; Tactical History of the Air Service, AEF.
- Volume Two: The Aviation Section, 1914-1917. Air Service Plans and Programs, April 1918 – February 1918. Combat, Feb – Nov 1918. Postwar Review
- Volume Three: The Battle of St. Mihiel, 1918.
- Volume Four: Lessens Learned. US Bombing Survey.
Further Official Publications
More ‘official’ information about the US contribution to the war can also be found in Col Leonard P. Ayres’ The War with Germany: A Statistical Summary published by the US Army General Staff in 1919.