tv Reel America Uncle Sam Watching the Mexican Border - 1916 CSPAN March 23, 2019 8:00am-8:46am EDT
don't agree with everything they said. >> the book is titled >> now you're watching american history tv. every weekend, we bring you 48 hours of unique program -- programming exploring our nation's past. >> welcome to c-span3's american history tv and we look at an archival film that puts the events of today into context. we will look at a silent film that was produced in 1916 titled "uncle sam watching the mexican border." here joining us in our studio for some context and analysis is julie prieto. she is the historian and author of the mexican expedition: 1916 to 1917, put together by the u.s. army center of military.
-- military history. put this time into context. what was happening during these two years and it's importance today? julie: the mexican expedition and the border needs to be understood in the context of the mexican revolution. the conflict begins in 1910 with the ouster of a dictator of mexico. he is ousted by a man named francisco madero. he himself is soon killed and after he is killed, several revolutionary factors emerge from that. one of the faction that emerges is a fraction under a man that is called the constitutionalist. one of the people who is aligned with the constitutionalists is four via, francisco pancho villa. by 1914, they had become successful. they managed to control a large part of the country. and at this point of success, he breaks with the
constitutionalists. he is successful militarily against carranza but during 1915 he has a series of military reverses against the currency or -- the current government. he goes from having an army that is about 30,000 to 50,000 people operating in mexico to having about 500 to 1000 troops under his command. it is sort of this low point in his military career. he decides to start attacking americans at the border. he does this for a couple of different reasons. one is to stay relevant in the fight, in the revolution. the other is that woodrow wilson who is president of the u.s. at that time recognizes the government in mexico as the rightful government. and pancho villa believes this is due to a corrupt government. -- bargain. that he has given woodrow wilson
secret claims to mineral rights in northern mexico in exchange for being recognized by the government. this allows carranza to buy arms from the united states. whereas pancho villa cannot. steps up attacks on the border. he attacks a train, then leading to loss of life of americans. and then on march 9, 1916, his forces attacked the town of columbus, new mexico in the middle of the night. one column attacks the town and largely burns down the downtown. and one column attacks an army garrison right outside of town. steve: so we are going to watch the film in just a moment, but in order to better understand the border and what it was like back then -- clearly it is in the headlines with the debate over the wall, but what was it like in 1916? what would we have seen if we traveled to that area? julie: on the u.s. side you would find a remarkably safe border, considering there was a
very large war going on on the other side. much of the mexican revolution and battles take place in the border around northern mexico. many of the revolutionary leaders end up being from sonora, which is in the north. the north of mexico is a dangerous place. there aren't many refugees at that time coming to escape the fighting in northern mexico. on the u.s. side there are not that many attacks, considering the danger and the long-standing conflict that happens very close by to american soil. so there is the columbus, new mexico raid. 10 civilians are killed in that raid, eight soldiers before the mexican expedition goes into new mexico to try to capture and kill pancho villa in retribution for the loss of life at columbus. there is a retribution that happens in may a little bit that happens raid
in may a little bit after that, in 1916, and a smaller town close by to columbus. but there are not really a whole lot of other raids that happen around that time. there are some shots that make it into the u.s., but it is actually shockingly safe considering the scale conflict. steve: do you find it ironic, a different type of conflict a century later, but still the same issues. julie: it is definitely interesting. of course the border is a different place. at that time, there was no border fence. obviously there was no border wall. the border was relatively open. you could just walk across in most places. there were even places in el paso where they had bars stradling the border so you could walk into the bar on one side and drink on the other side of the border. it was really open to back and forth travel between the two countries. steve: so let's roll the silent film. if you are in a movie house in 1916 in the audience, what do you think the theatergoers would have thought about this?
what would have been going through their minds? julie: i think they would have thought it was a grand adventure. the mexican expedition is a unique and interesting transitional point for the u.s. army. because it is really the last major army operation that uses horse cavalry. you had horses hitting the trail, camping for months at a time, really independently, as opposed to world war i which happens right after which is large major operations in trenches. and in many ways doesn't have that sort of romantic frontier feel that the mexican expedition certainly had. the mexican expedition it is interesting too, as you'll see, because it is the first time that the army uses trucks and airplanes in the field. i think people would have been interested in the spirit and adventure in change that it embodies. steve: all of this is chronicled in your book. the cover of your book, do you know where it was taken? julie: i don't know. it is marked 1916 in northern
mexico. it would have been somewhere in chihuahua. but you can see in the film there is a similar group of men around a camp fire. steve: the film begins to the march -- with a march to one of those encampments. give us a sense of what are we looking at. julie: we are looking at infantry, and we are looking at mounted artillery. i think we will see calvary first. this is what i am talking of, in terms of the adventure that the mexican expedition would have held for people, because horse calvary had been used in the indian wars in the southwest from the 1880's to about this time. but this is really the last major army operation that uses them. and you can see the units, although this looks like a lot
of people, having 100 to 200 people together in a group of horse calvary is a lot smaller than what would have been used in world war i. it was a small number of men on horses on the trail. steve: arriving from where? where do the records come from? -- recruits come from? julie: these are probably not recruits, these are probably regular u.s. army. these are career people who would have been coming from probably elsewhere in the southwest at first. initially in the expedition you have 4800 troops. by the end you have about 10,000 come down. so some of them might have come from somewhere else besides the southwest. but at least initially that is where they are coming from. the other thing is that the army at that time is much smaller than it is during world war i. there are only about 25,000 troops in the continental u.s. at this time. regulars. and the whole army is around 120,000, 130,000 people compared to the millions fighting in france. this is actually a very small force. steve: i ask you this in terms of context as we see men
arriving. the civil war ended in 1865, world war i was beginning to hover in europe in 1913, 1914, -- what was the u.s. military like? how prepared are we for these kinds of conflicts? julie: like i said, it is very small. a lot of the army's from remote places. a lot of them are in the philippines. a lot of them are in the panama canal zone. you had these very small units and sort of far-flung small camps in the united states, often times in the west. you had the sort of small garrisons that in the southwest at least are really focused on capturing indian tribes. in the 1880's they were crossing the border back and forth between the u.s. and mexico trying to catch the last of the apaches. steve: this appears to be a training mission. is that correct?
julie: this does look like training. before you could see the signal corps, and they seemed to be setting up a portable telegraph machine. now you see calvary training. so again this is a relatively small unit. probably training and practicing how to move together in the field. probably outside of, either on the border at fort bliss or at the main camp that general pershing set up, which is their main headquarters through most of the mexican expedition. steve: and again, this is how they saw it back in 1916 in movie houses, correct? julie: that is a good question. this might have been seen in movie houses or as part of the newsreel. it was filmed by the signal corps. they did cut this together to essentially show the material the u.s. army used during the
mexican expedition and the material they needed going forward in world war i. so part of the point of the film would have been to show some of the deficiencies in armaments and materials, and to make a case presumably for receiving more funding. steve: do you have any insights into how they train the horses -- trained the horses that carry the arsenal and personnel? julie: that is a good question. i really don't know how they trained the horses. the used horses pretty extensively. they also used mules. you can see them earlier in the film. didn't remark. now you don't see them. you do see a lot of pack mules. there was a lot of animal power that went into the old army and the functioning of the old army. pack mules, even though they were used extensively in the expedition, they were pretty problematic in terms of what they could do, because they could of course carry large amounts of material down from
the border to the advance headquarters for perging. -- pershing. but because it is a desert and very dry, the mules had to carry their own fodder down to mexico. the can't carry their own fodder -- can't carry enough materials, which is why pershing turned to trucks for part of the expedition, instead of just relying on animal power. even though trucks had been untested as far as the army was concerned. steve: general pershing, they called him john blackjack he was -- they called him blackjack pershing. he was a significant player in the modern military. julie: yes. a very significant player. he had up until now an illustrious career. he had also been governor in the philippines. this is the first time he is given a large army to command. so this is sort of a testing ground not only for new material for the army but for john
pershing himself. he is able to prove himself in the field, he is able to command large units. like i said, he tests new material, and he is able to show that he is an innovative leader and that he is able to attract a large degree of talent him and loyalty from the -- talent to him and loyalty from the soldiers, which was something not every commander could do in the field. steve: their own barber. there had to be a tremendous amount of support staff to handle the horses at all that came with that of course and just the basic needs of the men in the military. they were all men. julie: they were all men. there is a huge amount of support staff. there were so many. they had to gear up so quickly that they actually do have two hire civilians to do some jobs, which caused a lot of resentment. civilians do ultimately have to do things like drive trucks and they are paid more than the soldiers at first. so pershing does try to eliminate civilian labor as much as he possibly can.
steve: and indoctrination is key because they were in close quarters, especially during the time of the year or there could have been infestations of mosquitoes and hot temperatures along the u.s./mexico border. julie: right, there are really extremes of temperatures in chihuahua because it is a desert. it also has high elevation. the men also encountered snow, cold weather, dust storms. in addition to desert weather later on in the year, in summer, and they would have been inoculated against typhoid fever and possibly smallpox in camp near there is a relatively low rate of disease because of the army's vaccination schedule. steve: did others learn from that, did civilians learn from these vaccination programs? julie: that is a good question. it was a good testing ground for vaccinations and the efficacy of vaccinations. large groups of people in close quarters. steve: and they needed three meals a day. julie: the horse cavalry were often sent off with only three
days of food. they went out with very little food, few supplies. when they are not and camp they are responsible for supplying themselves. they are responsible for evening -- either finding cattle and slaughtering them and cooking them in the field or purchasing whatever they can. sometimes they are able to purchase things in hard currency. sometimes they have to issue iou's, which makes it hard for mexicans to receive compensation. steve: was this a form of hazing back in 1916? julie: that is a good question. i haven't seen this before. it looks fun. even though a lot of these sort of regulars that participated were career army soldiers, you do have a lot of national guardsmen who are coming into the national guard for the first time. lots of college students, lots of young men looking for adventure and a good time. steve: and some down, including playing with the mascot. julie: the army has dogs.
the navy always adopts -- they always seem to adopt animals on the trail. steve: how does it keep them motivated? seems based on what you wrote in their book, there was a lot of downtime? julie: they didn't always have a battle to go to and they spent most of their time training, especially after june. from march to june they are on the trail actively searching for pancho villa. after that they really spend a great deal of their time in camp training. and for the national guardsmen, that is true really of the nine months they are there. they do not see action, but they do spend every day usually hiking, doing six to seven miles of hiking a day, doing drills and that kind of thing. steve: i want to jump in because as we look at the modern air force and navy pilots today, this is only 100 years ago. look how far we have come. what is this?
julie: this is kind of interesting because this is the captain who was the commander of the first aero squadron in the mexican expedition. you can see him sitting down in the hat plane was not on the. this expedition. it looks like a wright brothers model a. and in fact the planes that they took on the expedition were jm3's that they called jenny's from the curtis company. even those planes that they took were really quite inadequate for military use at the time. this is an even older plane. this is a plane that is about six, seven years older than that. this is really not a plane that had a lot of military use, but even the jn3's came in with eight to begin with. they only really are in service in mexico for about a month and a half. six of them crashed. two of them are cannibalized for parts. they really don't do well in the
field. part of the reason for that is that they go into spin very easily. they cannot climb past 10,000 feet. and in fact the weeks in chihuahua are about 10,000 feet. they cannot clear the crest of the mountains. they really do crash relatively quickly. steve: we move from the planes to another part of the silent film. we look at this screen and these gentlemen sitting front and center outside their camp. explain his office and what they represent. julie: the two men sitting there, one is a general, in command of the department of texas for a time. he retired i believe right after this. he is, as you can see, he has aged already. but the department of the south is commanded by frederick. he is not in here. he would have been the superior to hoyte. steve: now we move from that to the supply wagon.
the equipment train as they try to move it from one part of the country to these training camps and then to the front lines. julie: here you have wagons that are drawn by horses. wagons like i said are used in the early part of the expedition. wagons, pack mules, trucks are used later. wagons can only carry a certain amount of material over a ton, but they really can't go upgrades. that is why -- up grades. that is why pershing turns to trucks instead of wagons. steve: how common were these trains used by the military? julie: train are commonly used north of the border. they are not allowed to use the mexican railways south of the border after march 18. a week into the expedition they are prevented of doing so by an order by president -- by carranza. they actually do have to use pack animals instead.
steve: we move from that to the doughboys which many would associate with the troops in world war i, but also associated with the troops along the u.s./mexico border. julie: they have an explanation for where the term doughboy came from. it is unclear what the origin of the term is. it seems to be older than the civil war. it is used to refer to american expeditionary forces in world war i. there are a lot of stories of how they got that name. there is one there. sometimes people say it is because of the dirt that soldiers got on their uniforms so it looked like flour. some people say it is because of the fried dough that they ate. maybe also on the trail or in the field, but it is not entirely clear where that comes from. steve: and generally speaking, where they will taken care of? were there complaints or did soldiers feel they had what they needed? julie: they do have problems early on with supplying troops. so troops do not have proper
uniforms wednesday go into -- uniforms when they go into mexico. they had summer uniforms, they would fight in the deserts of the army does not supply them with things like wool blankets. it is cold in mexico in the north, in chihuahua, so they do have some deficiencies early on. later on they get large amounts of material into northern mexico to supply the troops. by may or so they really have more than enough of what they need. they really become much more comfortable. and in fact they have a lot of what they need in camp a lot of. what they don't need is supplied by locals. you have locals who set up small businesses around the camp selling things like alcohol and sundries to the troops. steve: this is in fort bliss. a lot of training took place in southern texas. julie: that is right. that is really most of what they did is try to get these people up to shape. getting them up to military speed. these are people who really did not have any military experience before they came to the border.
often times they are brand-new recruits. and they come through having a lot of military experience. they spend nine months on the border drilling, training, going out on hikes for sometimes days, weeks at a time and patrolling the border. going back and across their zone of the border making sure nothing is going on. making sure they don't run into trouble on the border. it ends up being purely a training exercise. steve: what is this? julie: this is the artillery. the ill-fated 10th cavalry. the 10th calvary and the ninth cavalry which they showed earlier is a unit of buffalo soldiers. that means african-american enlisted men who are commanded by white officers. although, there is one black officer who comes with the
expedition, and he is only the third person to have graduated from west point -- third african-american person to graduate from west point. that is major charles young. although they don't show him in the film. they say ill-fated. it is ill-fated because they do see action in mexico. they are part of a skirmish. they are supposed to walk through the area to do reconnaissance in a town. they run into government forces. eight of them are killed, 23 are captured. so 23 of them spend about a week, week and a half as prisoners in chihuahua city before their release is negotiated. they were well treated in chihuahua city. they are visited by the british consul and by the u.s. consul. they are taken care of. steve: it looks windy, with a lot of dust. julie: the weather is certainly difficult and changeable in chihuahua. you can see the difficulty of
because you have desert. -- the difficulty of the terrain because you have desert. the desert rises up from the central plain in this state. you can see right here that there are not a lot of roads running through what is really a difficult place to get across. there is not a lot of infrastructure to speak of. i mentioned railroads. there are two railroads running through the state, north-south. there are a couple of major roads, but there really aren't a lot going south once you get -- once you get south of some of the border towns. it is really a very challenging landscape to get across. steve: and limited munitions. julie: yes. they had very limited munitions. they don't use that much artillery actually in the expedition itself, but they do have very little of it in the army in general. and again, in that regard
because they are not using artillery too much for the expedition, this is one part where i think they are looking ahead towards world war i and the armies of europe and seeing that they are quite lacking in terms of some of the materials that are being used commonly in france. steve: this might be an obvious question but as we look at this and we are setting up for some sort of battle, how do they know where to go? what kind of reconnaissance operation did they have? julie: that is a good question. this is part of the reason they never find pancho villa. they had a poor intelligence system so they don't have a lot of intelligence on the ground to speak of. they don't have a lot of people they can talk to that can give them accurate information and tell them where to go. steve: this is what he is trying to do right here. julie: he might also be trying to get the topography of the land because they have maps that are very inadequate. many of their maps dated from
the mexican-american war, so they go in with really poor maps of mexico. they go also in with the wrong uniforms. they go in with summer uniforms. they need woman's -- need woollens to deal with the mountain weather. they have a lot of challenges in the first three months of the expedition until it gets a little bit warmer. in terms of intelligence also, they don't have a lot of intelligence on the ground, but also pancho villa is a very savvy actor. he has a lot of years of experience evening capture himself. he is very good at not telling people his plans. he is actually injured in march of the expedition and hides in a cave for much of the next five months and tells very few people where he is. it was very difficult to find him. steve: when did he pass away? julie: 1923. he makes it through the whole revolution.
steve: the screen says they are getting ready for a telegraph. again a very early cursory type of information to get across from where they are i assume back here to washington, d.c.? julie: yeah, they would have wanted to communicate with washington, d.c. with wilson and baker. they also would have wanted to communicate with fort bliss and some of the areas around the border as well to see where materials are coming. they would have wanted both actually. there are very few because it is so remote and underdeveloped and has seen so many years of war and so many years of destruction, there are very few telegraph poles running through that area of the country at the time of the expedition. so the soldiers did have to set up telegraph lines through part of northern mexico. they do that through permanent stations, which you saw, telephone poles, and then buzzer
wire, which is unprotected copper wire that you put across the desert from point a to point b. and of course that is very vulnerable construction by weather or horses crossing over. but it is a temporary measure. steve: this looks like an infirmary? julie: it does look like an infirmary. this is probably part of their training, which is part of the reason why they film it. you can see they don't yet have ambulance cars. they don't yet have enough trucks to transport people who are injured on the trail necessarily in trucks, so they are still using wagons to transport people probably over to the main settlement where -- people spend most of their time in expedition. so, pershing's headquarters. it is close to a mormon village that was founded in the late 19th century. it is actually where --
george romney was born. steve: they had to do it all, including the construction of this pontoon bridge. julie: yes. this looks like a training exercise, maybe even in fort bliss. here they are building pontoon bridges. here are these temporary bridges that use loading crafts, like a boat, and you put, you can see that you put planks essentially or preformed on top of it as a platforms -- preformed platforms on top of it as a temporary measure. you can drive over it or have people go over it. steve: we are seeing a lot of training and drills taking place. not a lot of the actual conflict itself. why? julie: well, it is very difficult to film the conflict itself. there are certainly conflicts, and there are certainly clashes that happened throughout. but they happen early on so the expedition starts, pershing goes in march 15. stop patrolling northern mexico they really -- they really stop
patrolling northern mexico in june. after june 21 they stop patrolling outside of that headquarter area. and part of the reason for that and part of the reason for that is because they have clashed by then with the government forces. and wilson does not want to risk a larger conflagration with mexico. because he sees that the u.s. is probably going to enter world war i, and he cannot spare the troops. steve: where do these munitions come from? where were they made? julie: that is a good question. they are probably made mostly on the east coast. this might be fort bliss or somewhere else along the border. this would be essentially a practice and demonstration of munitions again that are not really necessarily appropriate for something like the mexican expedition but are looking ahead towards world war i.
the expedition ends. they come over the border in of february 1917 and war is declared in april of 1917. this is something they know is increasingly likely to happen as time goes on. woodrow wilson is really looking towards the start of world war i. he is really thinking about armaments and thinking about training in those terms. steve: as a military historian, did this inspire young men to sign up? was that one of the motivations? julie: i think part of the motivation was the adventure of it. being on the trail, the old army. this is more of the new army, the new technology people were using in the field. these big artillery pieces where you fire indirectly. you don't fire directly. it probably held last romance
for people. i think a lot of the younger men who volunteer actually to go down to the border see it as a chance to join the old army versus this which is the new army. steve: in that last scene, it looked like the technology was getting better. julie: it is getting much better. artillery is getting much longer ranges. you do have the ability to fire much greater distances, which allows you to fire not only at things you can see, but things you cannot see. something that is over a ridge very far away. that allows you to use airplanes to fly and spot the enemy rather than you having to directly spot the enemy. you could calculate where the enemy would be. for a lot of that young men who volunteered, that seemed very impersonal. it seems very new. it seemed very strange. that was not the army they had known, the army of lore, that was the old army. which is the horse cavalry army that is passing away and passes
away after the mexican exhibition. -- expedition. steve: let's talk about your book. there are things in the book that are not in the silent film. buffalo soldiers, who were they? julie: buffalo soldiers are again these men part of segregated units. you have african-american soldiers who are commanded by white officers, mostly white officers in the field. there are some african-american officers. there is one on the mexican expedition. but there really are not a lot. mostly they are segregated units. steve: the apache scouts. julie: this is the last hurrah of the apache scouts. the apache scouts were not just apaches. they were native americans from a variety of different tribes who enlisted into the army essentially to be guides in the southwest. so during the indian wars as trackers, they worked as trackers. they worked to try to find food and water to make sure the u.s.
army calvary could survive on the trail and that they would be able to find what they could find. they would go into the field often times with bad maps or a poor sense of the land and the topography. but the apache scouts knew the land and the people very well, and they were able to guide u.s. soldiers on the trail. this is their last use in the field. steve: there was no draft in 1916, correct? julie: that is correct. steve: what changes took place with the national guard? julie: yeah, so the national guard, the call-up that wilson does originally in may is only of three states along the border. he calls up texas, arizona and new mexico's guard, but only about 3000, 4000 soldiers show up. that is not enough to protect the length of the border. the border is very long and he needs more troops. so they actually extend the callup to the rest of the states. 49 states show up.
they said troops which ends up being around 110,000 on the border. because of this, they need to vastly increase the amount of money that goes into the national guard and the amount of training. so the national security act of 1916 is passed. this brings up a much-needed infusion of money and increases the number of training days that the national guard gets per year, and makes sure that they receive materials on parity with the u.s. army. with the regulars. steve: clearly, he was a military leader. we are still talking about general pershing today. why was he such a significant player in this time? julie: he is a significant player for a few reasons. one of them is because he does really prove himself in the mexican expedition. there were very few large-scale actions that the u.s. army really engages in before world
war i in the immediate years before. he does take 10,000 regulars into the field for a very long time, for 11 months, and that makes him unique in many regards in the u.s. army. he is also able to engender a great deal of loyalty from his troops. his troops really like him. he seems to attract talent, there are a lot of subordinates who he mentors who seem to really thrive under him. and so he is maybe not the first most obvious choice to lead the american expeditionary forces of world war i but his nearest , rival, the commander of the southern department, dies right after the expedition. so that clears away for general pershing to rise to become the commander of the aes. steve: and from your book, the establishment of what are described as "sanitary villages?" julie: yes, yes. we saw typhoid and smallpox inoculation.
this is part of the reason why the men on the expedition were so healthy, but one of the other reasons was there was a system of regulated prostitution in the expedition. pershing's system was he actually designated an officer to control essentially what he called the sanitary village, which was an area where they set up huts for women and women were allowed to stay in the huts and stay in a clean place where they had access to medical care. the officer would do scheduling for them and make sure they were paid on time. they were able to have a relatively good working condition while at the same time, the men were able to have a safe environment. steve: it seems pretty incredible. julie: yeah, and some people were very angry with pershing over the prostitution. again they were right next to a mormon town. i think a lot of the mormon elders were not very happy about
this system of regulated prostitution. a lot of the medical officers were not very happy about it. but general pershing stuck with it because it gave results. steve: let me go back to where we began, adding context of this. world war i was going on throughout europe. the u.s. entered after 1916, 1917, but how did all that play into what we were seeing on the u.s.-mexico border, the war in europe? julie: yeah, they are always cognizant of the fact that there was a war going on. they are fighting along the border. they are looking for one person in a huge state that is very vast, that required them to cover large distances in small amounts of time, and to really search through large areas of territory of land. but they know that very soon they probably are going to join world war i. it was increasingly clear throughout the expedition that that is going to be the next fight. it is a very different fight.
it is a much more stationary fight at that time along the very stationary lines, the trenches in world war -- that are along northern france. so they know that even though they are doing -- they are essentially engaging in one type of warfare, they are going to very quickly have to transition to a different kind. which is why you see so much artillery in the film, so much emphasis on artillery, even though they don't use it in mexico too much. they know that that is why they are headed. to do things that are much more stationary. artillery pieces are big and heavy. you can't really drag them around a trail in northern mexico, but they are useful in france where you have stationary trenches. so there is that. there is also things like, you know -- i think in a couple of places you could see machine guns. those were going to be much more useful say in france than in the mexican expedition.
the few that the u.s. army had there are really pretty bad. they are pretty outdated. there is not a lot of them, but they know that is where they are headed. steve: this really did provide a training ground for the troops who fought in europe. julie: yeah, so part of it, even though they are fighting a very different type of war in mexico, they are able to do things like hike for several miles a day, which brings up people's stamina. they are able to drill. they are able to shoot. they are able to do all sorts of practice on these new materials they are getting. they are able to learn how to drive trucks. there aren't that many trucks in the u.s. army when the expedition starts. there also are not that many truck drivers. so they need to train people to do things like drive trucks and fix them to become mechanics. and to fix these materials, they also need to train pilots. they need to find airplanes that are better than the jennys that they have. they need to train people to fix those airplanes.
they are able to do a lot of these things because they are spending 11 months of the regulars, nine months in case of the national guard on the border. a lot of that time spent doing that, training people to do these jobs that hadn't existed in the army up until that time. steve: and of course one of the reasons we wanted to look at this film is to add context to where we are today. from your book you read the following quote. "wilson's invasion of the mexican territory in the mexican revolution created an environment of suspicion and distrust that took decades to repair and caused a general decline in relations between the united states and latin american republics." julie: yes. steve: can you elaborate? julie: it causes a decline in u.s.-mexican relations. i say it takes decades to repair. it may not have ever really been repaired. the wilson government, when he decides to intervene in mexico to go and find pancho villa, he
doesn't necessarily ask for permission from carranza. he tells them he is going in and he has the justification for doing so but he does not receive governmentl of the of mexico. and even though carranza and pancho villa are not allies at this time -- in fact, they are enemies, and carranza has troops in the field trying to find pancho villa also, he has troops fighting because woodrow wilson goes in without the permission of mexico, it causes a rift between the u.s. and the mexican government. there is already a rift, but it deepens the problems that exist and it deepens the problems in what becomes the government of mexico for the next three years. this really continues too, the -- so the rift continues with government of mexico, but also
in northern mexico, pancho villa throughout much of his career is very popular as well. so this causes a lot of bad blood among people in northern mexico against their neighbors just over the border because they are trying to capture or kill a man who for them is a folk hero, is someone who they look up to and summer it was to be admired. the u.s., and the show in the film, they call him "the bandit." but one person's bandit is another person's freedom fighter. steve: to that point, what intrigued you are fascinated you the most about pancho villa? there is a picture in the book, it looks like he is ready for any type of military operation. julie: yeah, what intrigued me was how good he was operating in the field and how this was, again, this was a low point in his career. this was a time in which he had a very small number of troops
under his disposal, 500 to 1000. he had had 30,000 to 50,000 before. he is still able to operate very effectively in the field. he is still able to drum up support. he is very charismatic so he is able to go into towns and give speeches, and rally people, and get recruits. he is still very effective at doing that. he is still able to drum up support, even though he does have to go into towns sometimes and impress people at a time which he had never had do that before. but he takes people into service forcefully, also, to fill out his ranks. but it is really remarkable how he remained popular and how he remains such a polarizing figure but also a figure who engenders so much support and adoration, even at a time when much of the time during the expedition he is injured. it was very possible he was going to die.
he could have died from his injuries, but instead he is able to really rebuild his army to a remarkable degree. steve: the campaigns of world war i the mexican expedition, , 1916 to 1917. julie prieto, u.s. army historian, thank you very much for being with us. julie: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> next on "american history tv", historian linda gordon talks about her book, the second coming of the kkk: the ku klux klan of the 1920's and the american political tradition. she describes a resurgence of the white supremacist group in the 1920's and its influence on politics, government, religion and american culture. the university of denver hosted the event. it runs one hour and 15 minutes. >> i am bill, i teach here at denver university. on behalof