The President. Woodrow Wilson. The idealistic Wilson's attempts to bring the European powers to their senses failed. The casualties of 1914, 1915 and 1916 suffered by the Europeans were too terrible for any side to admit defeat. The President's 'peace without victory' appeals went unheeded.
The Commander. General John Pershing. He refused to use American manpower to fill in gaps left by British, French, Italian and Portuguese losses. His arrival in 1917 brought no innovations to the science of war and was doomed to repeat many of the catastrophic errors made by both sides during the years 1914 to 1917.
American Officers. Douglas McArthur and George Patton who were to make their mark during World War II, served on the Western Front.
The Hero. Sergeant York. Famous to older generations of moviegoers. He survived the war.
Flyers. Lt Frank Luke Jr. 'The Balloon Buster'. An unruly young officer who specialised in shooting down German reconnaissance balloons. Killed in action.
Kaiser Wilhelm II. Considered by many to be mentally unstable. The decision to go to war was his. Exiled to Holland when faced with defeat in 1918.
German High Command. General Falkenhayn - sacked when the costly attack on Verdun failed. Replaced by Generals Hindenburg and Quartermaster General Luddendorf. The latter pair controlled German policy when the Kaiser's inept leadership failed to achieve a victory in the east or west.
German Parliament 'Der Reichstag'. The country's leading statesman, Bethmann-Hollweg lacked the moral courage to divert Germany from war.
America's Allies. There was no formal alliance with Great Britain, France, Italy and the smaller countries fighting Germany. The United States described itself as an 'Associated Power.' France suffered most and took the main land-based role. Great Britain's losses were lower than those of France. Much of Germany's anger was directed against the British who were not expected to enter the war on behalf of Belgium. Italy almost crumbled when faced by Germany and Austro-Hungary. Russia was knocked out of the war in 1917. Portugal's role on the Allied side is often overlooked, as is the Japanese naval contribution on the side of the French and British. Other countries declared war on Germany, sometimes with a view to benefitting from the peace settlement. The doughboys of 1918 would also fight alongside British and French soldiers drawn from their two empires, including contingents from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, South Africa and Senegal.