NPR

At A Hefty Cost, World War I Made The U.S. A Major Military Power

The U.S. was a reluctant entrant into World War I. But when America joined the battle 100 years ago, on April 6, 1917, it transformed a small military in a major international force almost overnight.
Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing visits Arlington National Cemetery in 1925. Pershing led the U.S. forces in World War I, the moment when the American military first displayed its might in a major foreign war. The U.S. military suffered heavy losses, but it also expanded dramatically, modernized and became more professional under Pershing's command. Source: Courtesy of Library of Congress

World War I sometimes seems like the war America forgot.

The U.S. entered the fight a century ago, on April 6, 1917, nearly three years after it erupted in Europe during the summer of 1914. The Americans made quite a splash, turning a stalemate in favor of their British and French allies.

The cost was hefty, with the U.S. losing 116,000 troops in a war that claimed some 9 million lives. Yet it also marked the coming of age of the American military, which transformed itself overnight from a

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