• Gen. John Pershing Led American Forces to Victory in WW I; Unofficial Six-Star General

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    JOHN JOSEPH “BLACK JACK” PERSHING (September 13, 1860-July 15, 1948) was a general in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces to victory over Germany in World War I.   In 1918, the First Army was under Pershing’s command. It overwhelmed the military force which the German Army had held for three years. Pershing shifted 600,000 American soldiers to the heavily defended forests of the Argonne, keeping his divisions engaged in hard fighting for 47 days, alongside the French.  The victory was one of several factors causing the Germans to call for an armistice, although Pershing wanted to continue the war, occupy German and permanently destroy German militarism.

    Pershing is the only American to be promoted in his lifetime to General of the Armies.  He chose his own insignia of four stars to distinguish himself from those who held the rank of General. After the creation of the five-star General rank during World War II, Pershing’s rank could unofficially be considered that of six-star general.  Pershing served as mentor a number of generals, including George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur. Pershing retreated to private life during the 1930s, but returned to public eye with the publication of his memoirs “My Experiences in the World War, which was awarded the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for history.

    The one-page, 5 ¼” x 8 ¼”, TLS offered here finds Pershing responding to a request from the widow of Richard V. Oulahan, who had been the Washington Bureau Chief for The New York Times.  Dated October 4, 1934, Pershing responds on Hotel De Crillon, Paris, paper.

    “My dear Mrs. Oulahan:

    “It was very pleasing to have a letter from you as it brings me assurance of your good health and that you are leading an active life.

    “With reference to the proposition of the National League for Economic Education in Washington, I think the idea is a very good one and thank you for extending me an invitation to become one of your patrons.  I am very glad to comply with your request, provided, of course, it incurs no financial obligation. I feel you should know that I am not likely to be in Washington very much this winter or have an opportunity to attend these lectures. But I am quite impressed with the importance of this undertaking and am glad to help you out, although it is somewhat contrary to a rule I have had to make recently not to engage in anything that would require personal attention or activity.

    “With kindest regards,

    “Sincerely yours,

    “John J. Pershing”

    One fold, even toning, slight paper clip remnant at the top. Otherwise in excellent condition and a great piece from America’s unofficial Six-Star General. Contemporary glossy of Pershing is included.

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