January 1917

United States non-interventionism

While in Europe raged a conflict that had no precedent in history for its breadth and intensity, the United States observed the situation from afar, remaining in isolation on the other side of the Atlantic, as spectators of a story that did not concern them. Only in April 1917 Americans decided to cross the ocean and actively participate in the war.
In January 1917, General John Pershing, appointed by President Woodrow Wilson, ended a series of military operations known as "Mexican Expedition" aimed at stopping the irregular forces of the Mexican revolutionaries led by Francisco "Pancho" Villa. At his side there was George Patton, a lieutenant who embodied the image of rude and warlike man with distinctive traits: cowboy belt, revolver Colt S.A.A. with ivory grip, harsh and brutal manners towards his subjects. His behavior earned him the "Bandit" nickname applied to him by the General Pershing.
On the other side of Pancho Villa, the charismatic and elusive commander of the Mexican revolutionary and the Northern Division, helped by a number of general (including Toribio Ortega); Villa formed also an alliance with the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata in the south.
The military operation, which began in March 1916, represents only a small chapter in the entire Mexican Revolution (1910 – 1920). Moreover the American intervention, despite winning from a tactical point of view, ended in a strategic stalemate, in spite of painful losses and the resources used. The raids of Pancho Villa and his men were never completely arrested nor the Mexican revolutionary detained.