Erster Weltkrieg und
    Besatzung 1918-1930
    in Rheinland-Pfalz

    The American Forces in Germany (A.F.G.)

    Military drill in rural scenery at Heilberscheid in the Westerwald area, April 29, 1919 (National Archives Washington, D.C.; Collection Dr. John Provan, Kelkheim).

    Until February 1919, it remained unclear whether or not the war was actually over. Despite this, the Americans began continually withdrawing men.

    Knapsack of a Doughboy who had served in the American Expeditionary Forces as well as in the American Forces in Germany (Courtesy of Alison Hutton / Alexander Barnes, Colonial Heights, VA).

    With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, the political situation eased, by which time only 100,000 Doughboys remained on the Rhine. A few days later, the Third Army was replaced by the newly created American Forces in Germany (A.F.G.) under the command of Major General Henry T. Allen (1859–1930). The A.F.G. was divided into two brigades: The 1st Brigade headquartered in Koblenz, and the 2nd Brigade headquartered in Andernach.

    Military policemen regulating traffic near Cochem (National Archives Washington, D.C.; Collection Dr. John Provan, Kelkheim).

    The former divisions of the Third Army returned to the United States and were partly replaced by fresh troops arriving from the States, with altogether only some 19,000 men left in late 1919. Many of the new men were not as well trained or disciplined as their predecessors, and most of them had not seen action during the war. Controlling these young men proved to be a challenge for General Allen.

    By June 1, 1919, U.S. forces moved out of Trier, parts of the Hunsrück and Eifel, and by August, this Western territory was given to the French, leaving the Americans with the greater area around Koblenz. As a result, the American Occupation Zone shrunk to only half of its former size. The number of Doughboys was reduced to 16,500 men by early 1921 and 9,000 by early 1922.

    Vehicles of the American Forces in Koblenz (National Archives Washington, D.C.; Collection Dr. John Provan, Kelkheim).

    Texts and editing: Marc Holzheimer M.A., Hauke Petersen M.A., Benjamin Pfannes B.A., Dr. Kai-Michael Sprenger