Lesson Plan: WWI: United States Military in France in 1918

U.S. Entry into WWI

Historian Edward Lengel describes the entry of the United States into World War I.


Historian Edward Lengel talks about the United States' entry into World War I. He describes the readiness of American troops as they engaged in the battles of Cantigny, Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thierry in France.


  • STEP 1: Introduction

    As a class, view the video clip below and then discuss the questions that follow. Students can take notes on the following handout:

    Handout: WWI: U.S. Military in France in 1918 (Google Doc)

    Video Clip 1: U.S. Entry into WWI (6:45)

    Historian Edward Lengel describes the entry of the United States into World War I.

    1. According to Edward Lenge, why was the U.S. not prepared to enter this war?

    2. By May 1918, how many Americans were in France?

    3. Describe the typical American soldier at that time.

    4. How were American soldiers viewed by troops from other countries?

    5. Explain the mission of U.S. troops in France in May 1918.

    6. What is amalgamation and how did it impact American troops?

    7. Explain the progress the allies were making in the war in May 1918.
  • STEP 2:

    Break students into groups and have each group view the following video clips. Students should take notes using the handout provided.

    Video Clip 2: WWI: First Major Engagements (5:06)

    Edward Lengel describes the first major engagements of WWI including the Battles of Cantigny and Chateau-Thierry.

    1. Describe the events that occurred during the Battle of Cantigny.

    2. Explain the significance of the Chateau-Thierry monument.

    3. Explain the misconception of Trench Warfare as Edward Lenge explains.

    4. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of American troops in this phase of the war.
  • Video Clip 3: WWI: Battle at Belleau Wood (5:02)

    1. Explain the events that unfolded during the Battle at Belleau Wood.

    2. Describe the use of gas during this battle.
  • Video Clip 4: WWI: Casualties (3:10)

    Historian Edward Lengel explains the loss of life among troops during this war.

    1. Describe the loss of life among troops in World War I.
  • STEP 3:

    Using the questions that accompany the video clips, engage in class discussion on the U.S. entry into the war and the significance of the battles in France. Then ask students to complete one of the following activities:

    Write a letter home describing your experiences at one of the battles; describe the events that are occurring and how it is affecting you.

    As a journalist or reporter, write a newspaper article or detailing the events that are unfolding.

Additional Resources


  • Allies
  • Amalgamation
  • Archetype
  • George Patton
  • John J. Pershing
  • Naturalized
  • Segregate
  • Tactic
  • Trench Warfare
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • World War One


U.S. HistoryWorld History


High SchoolUniversity