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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

J. R. Reniff. Cartoon drawing of General Pershing, ca. August 1917. Pen and ink drawing. John Pershing Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (104.00.00)

"I'll Be Ready Very Soon"

General John J. Pershing led the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) that would join the fight in Europe. Pershing was well known as the general with the most recent experience of leading U.S. troops into battle, having commanded the military expedition into Mexico in 1916 to pursue Mexican guerrilla leader Pancho Villa, whose troops had attacked Columbus, New Mexico. In this hand-drawn cartoon by a Pershing admirer, the general is depicted as Uncle Sam's axe against German autocracy. Secretary of War Newton Baker sent an accompanying note to Pershing: "I have no doubt that you will use the axe [labeled "Pershing"] in accordance with what is evidently the artist's intention."