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.
On this day in history, October 1, 1947, President Harry Truman hosted a special meeting at the White House about hunger. He met with the newly formed Citizen’s Food Committee.
Their goal was to stop the wasting of food. Europe was facing a desperate hunger crisis. The more food saved meant the more that could be sent overseas to feed the hungry.
The Citizen’s Food Committee was led by Charles Luckman, the President of Lever Brothers of Massachusetts. Their job was to take the message of no food waste to the American public. Truman said,
It has been estimated that we waste about 10 percent of all the food we buy. Just think of that! We waste 10 percent of all the food we buy. Clearly, by wasting less, American families can help significantly in feeding hungry families abroad.”
The Committee helped to raise awareness about food waste, but also hunger across the globe. In the coming months Americans would donate lots of food overseas through events such as the Friendship Train. Going coast to coast the Train picked up canned goods to be shipped to Europe.
Defeating hunger was essential for building peace after the war. These are timeless lessons that Truman stressed as he sought the recovery of war-torn nations. At the White House meeting Truman emphasized,
Apart from humanitarian considerations, if rations are significantly cut this winter, economic rehabilitation will come to a stop. This, in turn, would increase the degree and duration of dependence by other nations on special assistance by the United States. Most important, if we turn our backs upon these people they will turn from hunger to despair and from despair to chaos in areas where stability is essential to the peace and economic security of the world.”
Food served as the foundation of the 1948 Marshall Plan, which ultimately rebuilt Europe. We need to remember these lessons today. Food can lead to peace and economic development. As war has engulfed the Middle East and Africa there are millions of refugees who are depending on international food aid.
Back here at home we can fight hunger more effectively by wasting less food. Schools and food banks have developed recovery programs to cut down on this waste. There are ways we can more effectively fight hunger, as Truman prioritized on this day in history.
Read the article at Examiner.