Today in history: Truman calls Americans to save Europe from hunger

It was on September 25, 1947 when President Harry Truman held a news conference at the White House about a “critical situation calling for immediate action by every American.” A severe hunger crisis had emerged following a summer of severe drought in Europe and also at home.

At the news conference, Truman discussed a report he received from the Cabinet Committee on World Food Programs, which had been monitoring food supplies. Truman read,

The Committee states that adverse crop developments, including those of recent weeks, both in North America and in Europe, make apparent a food shortage even worse than a year ago. The losses from heavy frosts in northwestern Europe last winter have been increased by a general European drought this spring and summer. Any significant cut in the already low rations in those countries will have most serious consequences for their rehabilitation.”

At this time in history, nations in Europe were trying to recover from World War II. While the fighting had stopped, hunger proliferated after the war. Humanitarian aid from America was crucial for keeping Europe afloat until they could rebuild.

Truman announced a Citizen’s Food Committee on this day, which would encourage Americans to conserve more food. In addition, the food report set in a motion a chain of events which culminated in the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe.

An interim food aid package was signed in December and that preceded the Marshall Plan. In addition, an outpouring of donations from Americans gave European numerous food packages during the coming winter months.

Secretary of State George Marshall, who crafted the Marshall Plan, was a member of the Cabinet Committee on World Food Programs. Both Marshall and Truman would make speeches that fall emphasizing the need for food as the basis of reconstruction and peace. That message must not be lost with today’s leadership as they seek to build peace and stability in suffering parts of the globe.

Read the article at Examiner.

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