US Government and High Command 1914–1918


Map Code: Ax00213

As the USA entered the war in 1917, new branches of government were created to ease the burden on the pre-existing peacetime administrative system. President Woodrow Wilson, although possessing ultimate jurisdiction over all aspects of the war effort, delegated combat decisions to the top ranks of the Army and Navy, and their respective secretaries of state were more concerned with administration. In 1916 the Shipping Board was formed to expand the US merchant fleet, followed in 1917 by its subsidiary the Emergency Fleet Corporation which commissioned the acquisition of ships and new port infrastructure. The Council of National Defense was also formed in 1916, comprising all the various secretaries of state who would collectively advise the president on the war effort. The other administrative boards that were formed once the US entered the war all operated in the same manner, being delegated responsibilities with differing levels of authority.

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