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tv   Herbert Hoovers World War I- Era Food Relief Work  CSPAN  August 17, 2021 10:44pm-11:48pm EDT

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before herbert hoover's 1928 election as the nation's 31st president, he earned the moniker of the great humanitarian organizing relief work and helping to save millions from starvation during world war i and its aftermath. up next, military historian david mills gives an overview of herbert hoover's efforts leading multiple agencies and providing food relief for belgium, germany, russia and
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other countries. this top took place in kansas city, missouri. at the national world war one museum and memorial. they also provided the video. >> it is my great pleasure to introduce tonight speaker, dr. david mills an assistant professor of military history at the united states army command and general staff college in kansas. he served a decade in the military and has since been teaching. in 2015, he became a full bright scholar teaching at a state university in russia. dr. mills authored three books, the most current of which is the 2019 great wartime rescues. and escapes. we are so pleased to have doctor mills with us this evening. speaking about herbert hoover's humanitarian efforts during and after world war one. welcome, doctor mills. thank
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you for being here. >> thank you so much for that kind introduction. greetings, everybody. i'm dave mills and let me start off with a standard disclaimer that none of the use discussed here are the official positions of the united states government that as the presenter of all mistakes issues and errors are entirely my own. i would also like to add i don't make any money from these presentations, nor is there a lot of money to be made an academic publishing. most of the correspondence with my publishers says something to the effect that my royalty checks are too small to bother sending one. having said that, please don't sue me for accidental copyright
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infringement. the result of my research into the post world war ii humanitarian effort to feed germany and other nations after the fall of adolf hitler. one of these days, i'm going to publish a book on this effort, entitled bread for my enemies, but at the rate i'm going, i'm fairly confident that this will be published somewhere around the year 2035. it's hard to talk about the situation after world war ii, as i do, without looking at world war i. i will try to talk about the post world war one humanitarian effort to feed europe, but by way of introduction. let's take a flash forward to 1955. the mouse that roared was a 1955 novel and 1959 columbia pictures movie starring peter sellers. it features the tiny
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at fictitious nation of the duchy of grand fenwick situated between france and switzerland in the french alps. to make a long story short, the small country's economy was shattered in response the duchy of grand fenwick declared war on the united states. not out of any international dispute, but to reap the united states was bound to offer the defeated for. and the words of the prime minister, the americans are a very strange people. whereas other countries rarely forgive anything. the americans forgive everything. there isn't a more profitable undertaking for any country than to declare war on the united states. and to be defeated. no sooner is the aggressor defeated then the americans pour in food, machinery, clothing, technical aid, and lots and lots of money
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for the relief of their former enemies another words in effect, we declare war on monday defeated on tuesday and by friday we will be rehabilitated beyond our wildest dreams. -- and we it was a different approach to the end of world war ii because we learned so many lessons after world war i. the allies, mainly the french and the great britain, had imposed harsh penalties after world war i, and we learned from those mistakes. the united states had little input into the postwar europe after 1918. president wilson did object to the harsh piece that the allies imposed on germany. after world war ii, however, the americans at least in their occupation took
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control of the peace process and imposed a lenient piece on germany that included rebuilding and not revenge. let's take a moment to talk about why this topic matters. we learned the punitive peace imposed after a world war i led to a bigger and more destructive war, known as world war ii. second every effort to conserve food in america and send it to europe during and after world war one was replicated after world war ii. teaching us valuable lessons. finally, i'd like to think that this topic fighting for the week and feeding the desperate represents who we are as americans and our valued system. no discussion of the food situation after world war
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i can take place without a discussion of herbert hoover. the 31st president of the united states. most people associate herbert hoover with the great depression and he is still one of the most unpopular presidents in history however herbert hoover was one of the greatest humanitarians of all-time and without hyperbole he saved the lives of millions of people by preventing starvation. by way of agenda, we begin with an introduction of herbert hoover who began his humanitarian career through the american citizens committee when you work to assist americans fleeing europe in 1914. next hoover founded the commission for the relief of belgium and lead the effort to flee belgium and northern france after the german invasion of 1914 gaining notoriety and fame in the food distribution business. in 1917, president woodrow wilson named him to lead an effort to
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prepare america by ensuring that americas farmers produce as much food as they could, and american citizens can serve as much food as possible. we will end the discussion with his effort to feed the soviet union herbert hoover was born in west branch, iowa in 1874 and was an orphan by the age of ten. he went out was to live with a relative in oregon and he eventually completed college with a degree in geology. a member of the first graduating class of stanford in 1895. between academic years, he accompanied a professor of his out west and worked in many of the mining industries in that region. after college, went to work in the gold mines have australia, he went to work in other mines in china and had vested interest in mines all over the world. and it became a
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partner in his company by 1902, since his company was located in london, he moved there and was a very wealthy man by 1914, with the equivalent of about 100 million dollars in assets by then. or in today's figures. with the assassination of archduke france ferdinand in 1914, the long-awaited european war was a reality. sending refugees fleeing in all directions. many americans fled west to england where they landed in the american consulate and the american embassy seeking lodging and transportation back home. however, no shipping company would accept american checks. they insisted on british cash. hoover had money, good friends with money. he had empathy, and
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he had experience solving enormous problems. he stepped up at the request of the american consulate and ambassador, and hoover and a number of his runs, mostly engineers, set up tables throughout the bell rooms of the hotel and proceeded to loan their own money to those in need under the auspices of the american citizens committee. they booked lodging in london and passage on ships to america for the desperate yanks, usually with just the promise to repay the loan. the committee alone that 1.5 million dollars and british pounds to 20,000 refugees. this was done on the honor system, and when all is said and done, about 300,000 dollars was repaid. new once the americans were on their way home, hoover thought that he would return to his business interest. a number of belgian mining engineers he
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reached out to him and requested his help, a small nation was the most densely populated in europe, and having imported about 70% of all of its food needs before the war. belgium was caught between the british blockade which was aimed at denying the germans any imports of food, and the german occupation of belgium which confiscated belgian agricultural resources, and forcing belgium to face famine in 1914. the belgian mining engineers backed hoover to get involved. they begged him to set up a committee to help belgium avoid starvation. hoover had his doubts. no one had ever done anything like this before. it would be the largest humanitarian effort in
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history. then again, how does one negotiate with the british to enter their blockade, let alone how does one negotiate with the germans to traverse their belgian territory in order to deliver food? he took several days, contemplating all of these problems. he knew he couldn't just do nothing. having decided to help out belgium, he came down to breakfast after making up his mind and told his family, well, let the fortune go to hell. then he cable to chicago commodities exchange and purchased stops and options on 10,000 bushes of wheat for belgium. hoover formally created the commission for relief in belgium carignan, but there is no example to follow or guide him. hoover had is imagination, and that was about it. he said to work. he knew he needed food, he knew he needed money, transportation, and a plan to deliver food to the belgians. he asked his friends for financial assistance, then
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set up a nationwide appeal for donations. he had a passport issued by no nation signed only by themselves, and giving himself permission to cross the channel and visit both british and german military and political officials. he crossed submarine infested english channel, 40 times to negotiate between the british and the germans. although he refused to divulge military information to either the british or the germans. initially, both germans and the british objected to hoover's plan to bring food to the belgians. however, the germans were aware of the optics of invading belgium and allowing the population to starve. eventually they allowed food into belgian. they informed hoover they could not be responsible or prevent the accidental torpedoing of any of his ships. some were torpedoed. as for the british, winston
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churchill, the first lord of the admiral team, suggested hoover was a spy, and that hoover should be investigated. despite numerous british test, officials test, test. vouching for hoover, churchill refused to grant permission for hoover's ships to traverse the blockade. he was concerned the germans would simply take the food and distributed to their army. which they didn't. frustrated, hoover bypassed churchill, went straight to the prime minister, and after hearing hoover's plan agreed to hoover's request to allow ships to pass through the blockade. hoover was charged with feeding 2.5 million french citizens in northern france in addition to about 10 million belgians. the french citizens were caught behind german lines at the beginning of the war, and this
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was a different kind of problem from the belgians as the french who are not technically neutral at all. in fact, living in this region, there were only women and children as most of the men had left the region and joined the french military. although it was a sticky wicket and diplomatic, the germans did allow the crb to bring food into the region for for humanitarian reasons. reasons. food purchased in the united states across the cross the ocean in ocean at a fleet a fleet of 75 ships, hoover least with crp funds. flew each flew crp flags and had flags and had crp or belgium belgium relief painted relief painted on the on the side of the side of the ships ships., in order to and order to give some give some chip german captain to captain did not fire upon not fly upon them. hoover acquired required food that food that required the maximum nutrition while shipping at the lowest gave the maximum cost. food such as bacon, lard, nutrition dried. dried pete, peas, rice and beans where the most rice, beans most sought after donated sought after food because they
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said it food because they wouldn't spoil on the trip wouldn't across the ocean spoil >>. the food the food came into came into rotterdam rotterdam from the crv ships, from the ships. and a neutral port to the neutral port and the netherlands where it where it was unloaded then was followed a series of unloaded canals and into followed rails into belgium. once belgium. once inside the inside the country, the country, the food food went to went to 40,000 kitchens, 40,000 kitchens staffed with, staff volunteers and who prepared and served volunteers prepared the food the food on a massive scale. on a massive scale. the food did not go to individual homes in order that the crv could monitor the portion size >> the meals were so good, that most people in belgian probably made them better than citizens in most of the world's major
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countries like new york and london and paris. one of hoover's a lifelong passions was the care and comfort of children. in belgium, he established canteens to provide a noon meal for children and pregnant women, and the elderly. he ensured children less than three years old also received a ration of milk each day. for the youngest children, by duke 1970, the who is at least one medical clinic -- that the sea are beheaded -- these centers also provided children's clothing, nor thing -- nursing products. in 19, 15 they organized a national organization for war orphans it included war dead, three civilians killed through the war effort. however, the secrets of the crb
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success was the more persuasion the naked leverage. when it became obvious that's it can no longer fund at the requirements based solely on private donations, the governments have affected nations agreed to help. the british agreed to a 4.8 million dollar monthly allotment. and the french donated a certain amount of money as well, you remarked for the french caught behind enemy lines, behind german lines. when needs exceeded, french and british contributions, the respective governments increased their assistance. between the private funds and the government allocations, hoover was able to provide the food required. once the u.s. entered the war in 1917, the american government assumed the funding for the entire organization, which was on sound financial footing after that point. one of the united states entered the war, wilson was concerned with the food
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situation, and hoover, seem the best person to deal with the production, distribution and conservation of food for the home fronts which was needed in the neutral and allied nations as well as for the united states. wilson and hoover both believed that it was a force multiplier, boosting the morale of soldiers at war that allowed the allies to wear down the central powers. hoover met wilson in may 1917 and explain to the president how he wanted this operation to go. he said that he wanted to be the sole person in charge. he did not want to work with a committee where there was just constant bickering and arguing and nothing really got done. wilson agreed. and he suggested that they name hoover the food star, but hoover did mirrored. he insisted on the title food administrator. which was less likely to annoy those folks, who he was already stepping on their toes of.
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for three months, congress debated the lever act which would put hoover in charge of the domestic food supply. hoover testified before congress many times. explaining his philosophy of the food production. first, farmers and producers had to be allowed a reasonable profit, otherwise there is no incentive to provide deuce anything. at the same time, he would control prices to prevent inflation which often accompanied wars. he knew that inflation lead to higher prices, which led to demand for higher wages, which led to strikes, which hurt the war efforts. and finally, on august 10th 1917, the bill was passed, creating the u.s. food administration, and in case you are counting,, i believe that that is the third organization that's been created so far. hoover did not want to institute rationing in order to pervert -- preserve food, he wanted americans to do it out of
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patriotism. operationally, hoover made all of the decisions, and he delegated the task to others to be carried out. structurally, the food administration had two divisions, one for conservation, and one for education. each state governor appointed a county administrator and local administrators who also carried out those orders. some 750,000 volunteers, many of them women, served at all levels of the organization, and carried out to those directives. the food administration employed more women than any other federal agency in history and gave them a meaningful role in fighting him are -- americas war. unfortunately, the -- it occurred when they were reduced harvests and droughts in 1916 or 1917 limiting the amount of footy live a-level. the only way to free up food
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for effort was to conserve it. if 100 million americans each saved a little bit, hoover said, in the total amount would add to an incredible total. food administration speakers found out across the country with their message. they came up with a simple slogans like, food will win the war, and not a business as usual, but business as a completely unusual. whether at home or in restaurants, americans were encouraged to take one and helping, clean their plates, and ask for no more. about 20 million americans signed pledge cards promising to conserve food. and received placards placed in windows advertising in their intense -- intense to save a food. in the media was also important, advertising on radio, feature films, news reels, celebrity endorsements. between may of 1917 and april 1919, the fda released 187,000 press releases encouraging
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people to conserve food. films around and high schools, and advertisements put in magazines and professional journals. no other government organization touched as many americans. the war for food will be one in american kitchens, hoover said. serving food to preserve american allies will help win the. war the efforts to win food were a crusade, but they challenge americans to save food for the war effort declaring that victory was a contest of endurance, and the nation they had the most food would win the battle. congress authorized the government to purchase commodities and set prices in order to ensure that agricultural products were plentiful. the price of pork, for example, was a product of the cost of corn, and the cost of hogs, where hoover set up a committee to look at the price of each, ensuring a reasonable profit for corn and hog producers.
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and a steady supply of pork for the american consumer. the food administration guaranteed farmers two dollars per bushel, stimulating production. two dollars per bushel per week stimulating production. then iran purchased the entire wheat crop of 1917. and sold it at a fixed price of -- prices to consumers. between conservation for setting, the food administration was able to provide, to the american military, and civilian populations as well as to allied nations all of the food that they needed. most ally generals expected the war to end in 1919 or 1920. but nobody really knew what it was or when he was going to end. hoover continue to press american farmers to produce all that they could in 1918. but it turns out that they were greatly over producing. the allies had worn down the germans, who had exhausted themselves by the fall of 1918,
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and the germans sued for peace under the lenient terms of wilson's 14 points. the end of the war meant the end of the crb and the u.s. food administration. in the end, the crb, the commission for relief of belgium bought ships for 11.4 billion pounds of food, and sent it to -- defeat victims of war. the food administration wasn't a normal undertaking as well but it shut down completely within four months of the armistice. when it shut its doors, american farmers were left holding a norment amount of surplus food, and a tremendous recession hit american farmers in the otherwise profitable 1920s. hoover refused accolades when belgium attempted to give them an award, responding that he just wanted to be known as a friend to the belgian people. others suggested that the king
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and showed a craft and award specifically for hoover. so the king had a metal designed that simply made hoover a friend to the belgian nation. in addition, the king gave him a belgian passport that never expired. and the only other award that he accepted was humanitarian service was the french legion of honour, the numerous schools, streets and buildings were named in his honor. the war may have ended would ruin it was everywhere in europe. from the french and belgian coast in the west to the plains of poland and russia in the east, and throughout the balkans, the continental lay in collapse and in devastation. invading and retreating armies had a destroyed farms, bridges, roads, railway systems, and infrastructure of all description. unemployment, disease, starvation permeated every city. while demoralized populations scrounged the streets looking
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for food. the allied powers contributed to the agony by instituting a punitive armistice period on the former central powers hoping to coerce them into signing a punitive peace agreement. and simply, as revenge for four years of brutal war. they instituted a food blockade against the continents or simply an extension of the blockade already in place that affected not only their former enemies, but neutral powers and newly liberated ones, punishing women and children as well as former soldiers and politicians. wilson knew that germany was starving, and on november 7th 1918, just days before the cease-fire went into effect on november 11th, president wilson authorized herbert hoover to convert the food administration
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into an international organization designed to it is the people of europe, particularly with food. wilson argued for leniency and reconciliation with a former enemy. and in opening the food blockade that had been in place since the beginning of the war. he understood that the economies in europe and even america were all intertwined, and hurting and punishing one country in europe would actually hurt numerous nations around the world. yet this rational approach was lost on most of the participants at versailles. in december 1918, he requested 100 million dollars from congress for food relief which was approved on february 24th. this approval meant the creation of yet another -- organization called the american relief administration, or the ar a, responsible for the distribution of aid to europe. wilson appointed hoover to head
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up the new organization, while he was shutting down the crb and the u.s. food administration. in his new role designed to big relief he want to complete control over this organization. because the united states was be coming to -- providing food that we ship to europe, and soldiers on loan from the united states army who were assistant food distributions that were also paid by american taxpayers. however, senator henry cabinet lodge, no fan of woodrow wilson, attached amid men -- and amendment to the appropriation that prohibited the distribution of food to former enemies, particularly germany in austria. two of the poorest and most fully deprived nations in all of europe. they got around that provision by simply giving the money to british officials, which is
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perfectly legal, and then the brit officials loaned the money to journey -- germany which was not specifically prohibited. thus, the germans and the austrian's use the money to purchase food supplies. the british kept the blockade in place until march of 1919, and it was only fully lifted in july of that year. wide open the blockade had more to do with the rise of communist sympathies by the german people than with any humanitarian impulses on the side of the allies. in the u.s., for example, the fear of communism had given rise to the red scare, and ushered in an era of hyper nationalism which among other things brought a rebound of the kkk and other extremist organizations in the u.s.. hoover wrote in his diary that
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in the beginning of march 1919, the bread given to the population was so heavy and indigestible -- and there was a little meat, and no fat to cook meals, that there were too few calories, and the dye itself was revolting. internal conditions and germany together with a hopelessness from an economic point of view hoover wrote reduced the population to a state of despair and which there are only two classes of people. there are either those who are afraid of communism, or those who have already converted to communism. as either inevitable evil, or as a possible solution. when the work of the ara came to an end in 1919, and most government support anded, hoover transformed into a charitable organization that
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continue to feed children into the early 1920s. two of these organizations that continue to live on today are unicef, and care. they were financed fully through private donations and as a private group, the ara provided food and clothing to some 16 million children. generally, and central and eastern europe. by the time he left for home in september 1919, he and the ara had provided some 28 million tons of food, and supplies valued in the billions, all collected and distributed after the end of the war. in all perhaps of in participated in hoover's relief efforts and were saved by starvation and disease, some 15 million children were renewed in health, giving them a chance for a productive future. hoover's biography -- biographer, george h. nash, writes that hoover was responsible for saving the lives of more people than anyone in history. with the end
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of the war, his involvement and humanitarian missions, who were trying to focus on his future. he considered opening another office and returning to mining, which he never did. he considered many business opportunities, but never focused on any of them. he even considered a run for the presidency in 1920, as both major political parties recording him. his enthusiasm for the office was only halfhearted. he wrote ad articles and delivered many speeches, but soon the opportunity that helped starving people, came knocking again. this time, it was the soviet union that needed his help. by now, 1920, the russian civil war was ending, and what had once been widespread hunger, was now famine. hoover had taken a position with president warren g. harding's incoming cabinet, providing him the
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opportunity to arrange relief for the united states. a series of humanitarian disasters had hit russia by 1920 - 1921, including world war, civil war, revolution, and agriculture, and persecution of wealthy peasants or kulaks, those individuals with agriculture experience, and a drought head intensified disastrous conditions. vladimir lenin who led the communist movement that he needed food for the urban masses and legitimacy to the communist movement. any organization or ideology that cannot even feed its own people, was doomed to failure. thus, the communist constantly ravaged the countryside, stealing grain from the rural peasants and transporting it to the cities. the president said all the green would be stolen, so why bother to plant them?
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they left their fields unplanted. the presidents had even eaten the seed cord, leaving nothing to plant in any event. few draft animals or pets were consumed by the farm families that owned them. a famous russian writer penned a note to the west. when hoover saw the letter he knew he would have to repent. he hated communist leaders, when he hated starvation more. when some americans objected, hoover responded 20 million people are starving. whatever the politics, they shall be fed. in august 1921, the american ara chief in europe, walter lennon brown entered into negotiations with the soviet leaders for food assistance. first, brown
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insisted that the -- release prisoners held in soviet jails, which they did. brown demanded that the air a, standard behaviors, brown insisted that the soviets must permit ara workers free movement within the country, exemption from searches, protections from arrest, and the ara would distribute food based solely on need. russian workers would be hired on talent. these conditions were difficult for the communists as nothing in russia was done based on merit who need. the ar would also pay for food and transportation to the russian border, and at that point, there soviet government would pay for storage and transportation for where it was needed. in return, the ara promised to abstain from political activities in russia. the american and soviet representatives signed the
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treaty of riga on august 20th 1921 that defined the ara's responsibilities was outlined in russia. for the most part, each side complied with promises. to head the effort in russia, hoover selected colonel william haskel, a series and competent military man who had directed relief in romania. haskel reported that everything in russia seems to be old, broken, worn out, and gutted. nothing works. everyone seems to be milling about in the semi days condition, with only one thought in mind, that being, where am i gonna get something to eat. on a tour of the volgo valley, haskel reported up boards of 10 million peasants reported hunger in romania. they ripped up railroad ties that they need to be their home. this impacts the transportation industry, severely. they pressed camels into service, and humans carried food on their backs.
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they are a representative spent spread throughout the region spreading out food kitchens. once in place, the ara hired local men and women to run the kitchen, as well as 120,000 volunteers. in september of 1921, the air a bed only 200 people in petrograd. by the next month, the ara had set up nearly 70,000 feeding stations, and by february 1922, more than 1 million people were being fed. originally, the stations were set up for the children only, but a room -- they decided if the parents starve to death, the children will be no better. by august, 4.2 million people were being fed each day, along with about 6.3 million adults. reaching about 10 million people, overall. this effort was much larger and reached for more people, than
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the crb ever did. in a dilapidated industry made the effort that much more difficult. working with the con communists was the constant paranoia. they can conceive a group that had a political agenda. everything that happened in russia, was based on a political agenda. furthermore, the bolsheviks did not want food going to everyone, regardless of their political affiliation. or, employment based on ability. the secret police also prevented a number of problems. they constantly watched the ar a man, and try to take credit for all the ar a accomplishments. hoover did not oppose trade with russia, and
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they constantly awarded president coolidge and harding not to -- diplomatically as this latest were dishonest and hostile to american values. these reasons made it difficult for her to find support for feeding the russian people. to the american people, to the americans who had just objected to feeding russian citizens, they said we should make some distinction between the russian people, and the group that has seized the government. i think you will need to separate in your mind, the 200 communist in russia from the 150 million russian people. russian relief was the largest humanitarian effort to date. and not only provided food, but fought disease as well. it set abdul ousting campaigns against this issue of tyson and her not collections against diseases for 8 million people. and also donated about 2 million dollars and other medical supplies, it donated about 1.5 million dollars worth of clothing, and provided seed for the 1923 harvest. by the late summer of 1923, the worst was behind the russians. as the drought had
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ended, and a record-breaking harvest resulted, the government had agreed to stop season the crops for urban dwellers, and even paid a reasonable price to the russian peasants forward their grain. in fact, the soviet government began selling grain to foreign markets prompting hoover to cut all support to the russians. it should be noted that the area worked in power line with over -- other groups such as the midnight,, quaker and other organizations. in the end, hoover had distributed millions of dollars in aid for europe and russia between 19 -- between 1940 and 1943. as historians say they save 20 million lives, including 20 million children. he was regarded with great admiration
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throughout russia, at least initially. the soviet government presented hoover with the scroll, representing the millions of people that he helped to save. the officials promised the russian people would never forget when hoover had done for them. however, as the cold war progressed, and he received less no no riot ian space in the history books, just before his death in 1960, for the soviets claimed he was in americans by. so what. so, what was the legacy of herbert hoover, and the numerous food crisis. organizations he had lived on in the organizations of universe unicef in care which who could combat humanitarian efforts today. perhaps more directly, the experiences of food distribution, and shortages
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fundamentally influence world war ii. just as important as a defense industry was the reckon -- feeding our soldiers, civilians, and allies was a force multiplier. we also learned that justice food could be a weapon, it could also be a bridge between nations. the allies allowed their adversaries to suffer and starve after world war one, but not after world war ii. an immediate, if imperfect, effort to feed the suffering efforts of europe after the fall of adolf hitler, was the result of world war i. lessons learned. that's what's ladies and gentlemen -- thank you for your patience. i thank you for inviting me here this evening, and allowing me to share some of my research. >> doctor mills, thank you so much for that wonderful look at a piece of history that just doesn't receive as much
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attention as other components of world war i, and destined to be overshadowed by a reputation that hoover gains due to his presidency and decisions there that which leads us to one of our first questions -- how is his reaction to the depression, and the needs of the people, reconciled with an obvious ability to understand the needs of humanity, and great empathy for those who are struggling worldwide with the great war, i will be at a seeming inability, or refusal to do so during his presidency. >> great observation. here is the man who spent much of his own fortune, in order to provide food for the starving people of europe. and you spent so much time and effort, obviously, arranging for people all over the world to be able to eat. and yet, in the united
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states during the great depression, it seemed like we were faced with many of the same problems and herbert hoover has the reputation of being a pretty uncaring individual, as far as his own country went. here's the thing, over gays denigrated to a great extent. there are a few of his biographers, these days, who are taking up the issue that -- will maybe hoover wasn't as bad as we seem to remember. hoover did institute a number of programs designed to help people, it just seems they never went far enough. he tried
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to help out the banks, he tried to organize farmers, and i just seems like everything he did never went far enough. and a number of his biographers claim the cabinet he presented themself with, he was a very conservative man. he looked for churches to step in and take up some of the slashing in helping people. and again there were several programs that word to help people but never went far enough. it's been said that many of the programs that fdr instituted once he came to office, were simply programs that hoover had thought of, but just didn't bring it home. i hope that answers your question.
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>> thank you. we got a great look as the programs that were implemented during world war i. i know you are doing a lot of work with world war ii. we have a question from sam, that asks, were the world war ii programs, that were meant to provide humanitarian aid, after the end of the war, reproduced, reproductions of what hoover had done or, where they simply based on similar ideals? was there enough in place that they were able to just pretty much pick up where hoover had left off? >> after world war ii, interestingly, as you can imagine hoover and roosevelt
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aren't great friends. even years after roosevelt was already in office. truman almost immediately reaches out, he's got a huge humanitarian crisis on his hands. the problem of feeding not just germany but austria, france, italy a number of countries throughout europe. almost immediately, truman reaches out to hoover, and he picks up right where he left off. hoover makes an inspection of a few european countries and says here is the food we have on hand. he starts setting up food countries, star going to argentina the united states, canada, australia and argentina. i believe those are the major food exporting countries. he goes all over trying to free up more food to be able to send it throughout the world. india's starving as well now. it's all about, how much food you need and how much
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can you free up argentina, australia, canada? so he gets tons of food in that way. he also re-constitutes the idea of conservation. he starts a number of agencies, government agent says fallen volunteers to get folks to start conserving food. there is meatless thursdays, weightless days, and to free up more grain for europe, they actually shut down all be breweries and distilleries for a period of 30 days, and michelin. then i believe, they actually go up to 90 days. but, hoover just kind
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of picks up right where he left off. but to make a long story short, he picks up and does exactly what he had been doing after world war i. we have a question from anna, who asks what can we learn from hoover's leg and it's legacy that can emphasize our historic moment. >> wow. such a great question. hoover was an interesting person i read a lot about him for this project. he didn't care who you are, more where you are from. he believed everybody deserved the decency, and the respect of not starving to death. so, i think the united states does a pretty good job of contributing to humanitarian efforts throughout
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the world. that's a legacy of hoover's. it's who we are as americans. every time there's a humanitarian disaster within the country, tons of people are donating food, and ordering trucks and coordinating some of that stuff. what we can learn today i think is just simply to you know it's the golden rule. it's all those things we read
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is something i don't recall. >> it seems in many of the organizations that he worked
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with, that he created a partnership with wilson, as they were creating it he was pretty adamant about the completely in charge of those organizations and what was his reasoning? >> he had a lot of experience, business experience. he was hired out of college. not true -- actually he worked for a small mining company for a few years, two or three, before he went to australia. he goes to the middle of nowhere in australia. he's got to figure all the stuff out for himself. gotta figure out how he will provide decent food for his mining crews. and how he will find wood to build shelters, and how is gonna transport product from here to there and bring in resources. how is going to separate these
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elements from others, so he can free up precious metals. everything he had ever done throughout his entire life, up to the point that he gets involved in humanitarian issues, he's been faced with enormous problems. he understands how bureaucracies work, and no inefficient they are. so he tends to push them aside and he's just a man of action saying, get out of the way. let me take a look at what the problem is i will come up with a solution i will implement that solution. he was absolutely demanding that everybody would accept him as being the charge and then carrying out his orders, as well. we have a question from joe, who asks, how did the population move after the
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cleansing effect of post world world -- war one effort believes. >> again, i don't think i know as i said, colonel glasgow was involved in armenian rehabilitation. that is a pretty specialized focus. i just don't have that. i'm sorry, joe. i just -- because my project was focused on europe. i kind of went there. even though i know that the ottoman empire was receiving tons of food and supplies as well, through many of these organizations. i don't know enough about it to answer you. being mindful of time it looks like we have time for just one or two more questions. one questions we've received is did
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hoover and has glossy mentoring efforts -- do you think that had any impact in holding off what becomes the cold war? >> oh man, this is a great question. remember, at the same time, or a couple years earlier, the united states had invaded the soviet role memory union. with their russian union, russia's got a whole lot of problems at home. they have to pull out world war i through the treaty of -- they negotiate their way out. they are going through this russian revolution and because they had been an ally of france, and england, we had sent a ton of ornaments and ammunition to russia. now it just sits there in an archangel
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on docks, as the russians are more worried about their internal stripes than external strives. well two things, we want to energize the professions to get them fired up and get them back into the fight because the germans have been able to transfer a whole lot of people from the eastern front, to the western front. we don't want that. we want them to be busy on the eastern front. so, we send 500 troops in one deployment, and about 8000 troops and another deployment. we simply knew occupy these cities in russia. the russians hate that. the russians have to turn their focus away from each other, and focus on one of the americans doing? the americans don't make themselves any friends by siding with the whites, as
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opposed to the reds in this fight. so, we support the other guys in the revolution, not the communists do generally win. that really undermines any credibility that the united states has with trying to say we are peaceful, and peace loving individuals. we are just here to help. in fact, the americans and russians are just getting to assemble piece bottle. snow might i want you say, we don't trust you. saying now we are starving, we need your help. 1918, 1919, the united states invades russia. by 1920, 1941, they need our help. they are suspicious. they try to set up some of the ar amen in compromising situations with alcohol, and women, and photographs, that kind of thing. it's pretty ugly. so -- >> it is a complicated story. >> it is, the really
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complicated story. and then this happened, right? you can really kind of dive down that rabbit hole, and get sidetracked. >> we have a question, just to follow that one. it's the flip side of that. did the united states supports of the humanitarian efforts in the soviet union, their ability to do that, did that help at all to quell reds scared situation in the united states in the rampant nationalism that was happening? >> the red scare lasts in here. then it simply dies out. from 1919 and by about 1920 it's
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over. even if -- it's not less popular into the 1920s. so, the red scare was largely manufactured. manufactured. manufactured. manufactured. -- >> by the media, but it was. and simply publishing all of these stories about immigrants, and how many people are coming here, who do not speak english, and all of the strikes that are taking place throughout the country. so, during world war i, we have instituted a no pay raise for anybody law to curb inflation. and then after the war is over people want raises. and they are not getting them, and so they've launched all of these strikes, and people say, well that cannot be those true blooded americans, it must be those godless communists.
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and so, once the strikes kind of peter out, and there was an episode of some communist sympathizer mailing the bombs to some pretty important people throughout the country, and then that kind of died away and so it just kind of naturally died out at a pretty quick death, people get tired -- being terrified all the time. so they simply moved on. >> there have been so many fantastic questions tonight, and clearly there is a real hunger for information on a topic like this that just does not receive a great deal of attention. so i want to close with a great question that comes to us from sean, so that folks can follow up, continue to learn on their own. do you have recommendations on further reading for the topic of american food aid? >> of american -- >> food aid. >> there are -- you know, there's not a lot.
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one of the reasons that i am writing on americas feeding post-world war ii europe is because there really isn't a lot down on that. there is one called a taste of war, that is a pretty good one. i cannot remember the author off of the top of my head. ... but there are a number of books the deal with a number of investigations into different -- look if you want to know how the occupation army was set, up well that is a pretty good read. but it is fairly in-depth. but a good one, michael bestial office, the conquerors, he talks about setting up -- how the american government had decided to organize for the war. so, he talks about our alliances with england, and the
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soviet union, and some of those conferences and that, but it really is not much out there on food. and feeding europe. you, know after world war i or after world war ii. but you know what, we were just talking about the red scare, my good friend sean faulkner from sea gse, i believe is going to give a presentation on the red scare in the near future, if i'm not mistaken. so, there is something to look forward to as well. >> -- all the more reason to look forward to the research that you are doing right now and getting in the book published so that there will be another wonderful resource for folks available. so, we really look forward to that. we thank you so much for being here.
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