Concluding Estimate: The American is too much of a dilettante, and therefore also in a major attack needs not to be feared. Until now, our men had much higher opinion of the Americans, due to the fact that in patrol undertakings they had shown themselves as dashing soldiers… Our troops had expected much more of them in major battle. In spite of some local reverses, their confidence of being able to deal with the Americans has been raised.
The concept of the citizen-soldier is one that has played a part in almost every war the U.S. has fought. The general idea is that, in times of war, regular American citizens will step up to fight for their country and then return to their regular jobs afterwards, clearly echoing the Minutemen of the 18th Century. According to Antulio Echevarria, the theory was that this body of highly motivated volunteers, while not being as well-trained as professional soldiers, would be able to quickly learn on the job due to their large numbers and therefore be able to operate as an effective fighting force. Unfortunately for the doughboys this concept, combined with the highly restricted training time due to allied demand for American troops and inexperienced seniors officers, would lead to faulty doctrine and extremely high casualty rates, especially in the opening days of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. While America's citizen-soldiers did learn, "on the job" became more literal than initially intended.
Courtesy of Warfare History Network