On this day in history, Secretary of State George Marshall called upon Americans to fight the remaining enemy from World War II: hunger. Still reeling from the destruction of the war, nations in Europe were suffering food shortages.
Drought had struck that summer. Crops were ruined. The hunger crisis overseas intensified, threatening the recovery of Europe.
President Harry Truman formed the Citizen’s Food Committee to promote the saving of food. Marshall followed Truman’s speech earlier in the day with a statement of his own. Marshall said,
Every American, I am sure, will gladly share his bounty with the hungry men, women and children of Europe. Food is the very basis of all reconstruction. Hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace. For recovery and political stability, Europe needs many things, but the most elemental, indispensable need is food.”
The fight against hunger was a critical aspect of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. For without food, there could be no reconstruction.
That winter the U.S. approved an interim food aid plan to feed France, Austria, and Italy. This food aid preceded the larger Marshall Plan, which was passed in 1948. Americans also donated food in the form of CARE packages and other instruments of humanitarian aid.
Marshall’s words are timeless, and we need to remember them today. We are facing a global hunger struggle, with the most refugees since World War II. Wars in Syria and Iraq increase the numbers of hungry daily. Food is essential to winning the peace today as it was after World War II.
Read the article at Examiner.