On June 18, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called up virtually the entire army National Guard, some 150,000 men, to meet an armed threat to the United States: border raids covertly sponsored by a Mexican government in the throes of revolution. The Great Call-Up tells for the first time the complete story of this unprecedented deployment and its significance in the history of the National Guard, World War I, and U.S.-Mexico relations.
Often confused with the regular-army operation against Pancho Villa and overshadowed by the U.S. entry into World War I, the great call-up is finally given due treatment here by two premier authorities on the history of the Southwest border. Marshaling evidence drawn from newspapers, state archives, reports to Congress, and War Department documents, Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler trace the call-up’s state-based deployment from San Antonio and Corpus Christi, along the Texas and Arizona borders, to California. Along the way, they tell the story of this mass mobilization by examining each unit as it was called up by state, considering its composition, missions, and internal politics. Through this period of intensive training, the Guard became a truly cohesive national, then international, force. Some units would even go directly from U.S. border service to the battlefields of World War I France, remaining overseas until 1919.
Balancing sweeping change over time with a keen eye for detail, The Great Call-Up unveils a little-known yet vital chapter in American military history.
This superbly researched book will be the definitive source for the study of military and border history. With lively writing and encyclopedic coverage, the authors chronicle the first mobilization of the twentieth century, detailing the challenges facing the new soldiers as they were posted to remote stations along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border. Motivated by fears of war with Mexico, The Great Call-Up was a tremendous challenge and served as a dress rehearsal for U.S. entry into World War I.—Richard Griswold del Castillo, Professor Emeritus of History, San Diego State University, and coauthor of César Chávez: A Triumph of Spirit
In The Great Call-Up, authors Charles Harris III and Louis R. Sadler, provide the first historical account of the 1916 mobilization of nearly all the National Guard units—some 100,000 men placed along the U.S. border with Mexico. A lively narrative about the officers and men and their adventures and misadventures patrolling the frontier with Mexico, The Great Call-Up is fundamental reading for anyone curious about the events in the borderlands during the early Mexican revolution, and for anyone attempting to place today’s U.S.-Mexican border policies into historical perspective.—William H. Beezley, author of Mexico in World History and Judas at the Jockey Club and Other Episodes of Porfirian Mexico