A Strategic Examination of the Punitive Expedition into Mexico, 1916-1917
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
This thesis examines the strategy of the United States Armys Punitive Expedition into Mexico following the raid on Columbus, New Mexico, by Francisco Pancho Villa and his followers on 9 March 1916. In analyzing this topic, the thesis focuses on the roles and inter-relationship of the three men most responsible for the strategic direction of the campaign. President Woodrow Wilson, Secretary of War Newton Diehl Baker, and Chief of Staff of the Army Hugh Scott all played essential roles in the formation, conduct, and ultimate outcome of the expedition. This study analyzes the orders authorizing the expedition, and the limitations placed on the actions of the U.S. forces in Mexico by President Wilson and War Department officials. This study concludes that the Punitive Expedition, although largely an operational success, was a strategic miscalculation and the potential benefits of the operation did not outweigh the risks of triggering a general war with Mexico. A major war with Mexico was narrowly averted on two occasions by the actions of Major General Scott and the steadfast determination of President Wilson.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations