Who's Who - Tasker Bliss
Tasker Howard Bliss (1853-1930) served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff during World War One and represented the U.S. on the Allied Supreme War Council at Versailles.
Graduating from West Point Bliss received a commission into the artillery prior to a return to West Point where he taught modern languages, subsequently graduating from the Artillery School.
For three years from 1885 Bliss taught at the Naval War College before becoming aide to Major General John Schofield, the army's commanding general.
Posted to Spain as an attaché Bliss was recalled to the U.S. in 1898 upon the outbreak of the U.S.-Spanish War, serving with the 1st Division in Puerto Rico.
For three years from 1899 Bliss served as Collector of Customs in Havana before receiving a promotion to Brigadier General and an appointment as inaugural President of the Army War College in 1903, a position he filled again following a spell of service in Asia in 1909.
In 1915 Bliss was made Major General and was Assistant Chief of Staff from February that year. From May 1917 he was appointed acting U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and in September that year he replaced General Scott as Chief of Staff. In this position Bliss played a key role in mobilising U.S. forces for war in Europe and was a trusted advisor of Secretary of War Newton Baker.
Accompanying President Woodrow Wilson's advisor Colonel House to London in 1917 Bliss was appointed U.S. representative to the newly formed Allied Supreme War Council in November 1917, a body intended to oversee Allied military strategy.
In May 1918 Bliss resigned as Chief of Staff having reached the mandatory retirement age, but remained in Europe where he was a key supporter of the appointment of Ferdinand Foch as Supreme Allied Commander, although he continued to support AEF commander John Pershing's insistence upon an independent U.S. army command.
With the armistice of November 1918 Bliss lobbied for lenient treatment of beaten Germany and Austria-Hungary, and argued for U.S. involvement in the League of Nations. He represented the U.S. at the Paris Peace Conference which produced the Treaty of Versailles.
He died in 1930.
Duck-Boards comprised slatted wooden planking used for flooring trenches or muddy ground.
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