Tag Archives: Dwight Eisenhower

Eisenhower Believed Allied Victory was Inspiration for Fighting Global Hunger

Dwight Eisenhower (Eisenhower Library photo)

Times may be tough for the US, but we have seen tougher. The struggle to fight global hunger need not be relegated to the backburner.

In 1948 when Dwight Eisenhower made a speech about fighting child hunger, he invoked the great resilience of America in overcoming challenges. He used the example of June 1944 just after the Allied Landings of D-Day to start the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. A massive storm struck the coast, and the destruction it caused could have severely harmed the Allied forces. But even greater than the storm was the resolve of America and its allies in overcoming obstacles.

Today, both Congress and President Obama should show stronger support for fighting global hunger, which means increased funding for the US Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole programs.

Right now these global hunger fighting programs are in serious jeopardy of more budget cuts.

The World Food Program USA reports, “Despite this increasing need, national budget cuts have decreased the funding for Title II, the main legislation for food assistance in the Food for Peace program. The reduction from $1.84 billion to $1.46 billion since 2010 can negatively impact vulnerable populations in a variety of ways, making each recurring crisis deeper and more costly to address.”

Afghanistan, South Sudan, Yemen, East Africa, the Sahel region of Africa and many other areas are suffering from severe hunger and malnutrition. Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole donations make a huge difference for these crisis points. But if not enough resources are provided to these hunger fighting initiatives, then the enemy of hunger can live to fight another day.

The US has to increase its Food for Peace arsenal. If America has enough resolve to battle world hunger, we can take the greatest step toward world peace there is.

Article first published as Eisenhower Believed Allied Victory Was Inspiration for Fighting Global Hunger on Blogcritics.

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When Santa, Rudolph and Eisenhower Took on Global Hunger

Christmas is coming and all eyes are on the sky for Rudolph, his fellow reindeers and, of course, Santa Claus. Back in 1953 Santa’s sled was extra heavy, with hundreds of thousands of food packages for the hungry worldwide.

That year President Dwight Eisenhower started “Operation Reindeer.” He wanted to build goodwill with Christmas food packages to fight global hunger. Everyone got involved. Charities, the U.S. military and also the public took part in either buying the CARE packages or making the deliveries.

Germany, Japan, Austria, Korea, and Italy were some of the countries that received the Christmas food gifts. All of these nations had recently been scarred by war and were trying to overcome the resulting poverty.

“Operation Reindeer” was an opening chapter in the U.S. Food for Peace era. What better way to build a peaceful world than by ensuring all could have the food and nutrition they needed to survive and develop?

When Eisenhower took office, the United States had a growing surplus of food. Worldwide, though, there were hungry people. It made sense to send this food abroad to the needy.

The food would mean something more too. It would connect Americans to people overseas. Food would form a friendship. Food would unite. Food would be a bridge to peace.

Someone who received an Operation Reindeer package in Germany said, “It reminds us that we have not been forgotten.” One German wrote, “tell Americans that they have admirers in Germany.”

In Austria, a governor said that “his country is very grateful and the only reason that recovery has been so miraculous has been due to U.S. aid and friendship.” Another remarked, “this food package program makes the man on the street in Austria appreciate the friendship of the U.S.”

After Operation Reindeer ended, one of the officials was asked, “Why isn’t such a program wider in scope?” Observers of Operation Reindeer felt that more publicity about the program would have further enhanced this public diplomacy outreach.

Also, it would highlight the needs in these countries. In Italy, Mr. Newton Leonard, sent by the U.S. to observe the aid, wrote, “we wished that the packages weighed a hundred pounds for we realized how quickly the contents of the packages would be consumed by the hungry and ill children and adults.” Leonard recommended a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program with emphasis on child feeding, including school meals.

Operation Reindeer was only a quick relief program and it was discontinued after 1954 in favor of longer lasting projects. What was needed was steady aid and this is what evolved in the coming years. One reporter remarked they fired Santa for Christmas but instead gave him a year-round job.

What followed in Italy was Food for Peace with school feeding for millions. Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Peru, India and others also received school meals during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

Food for Peace programs, whether school meals or other projects, helped turn many countries from recovery mode to self-sufficiency. They are now donors to hunger fighting programs around the globe.

Today, though, there are still many people around the world suffering from hunger. We still need the Food for Peace spirit that was so strong during the immediate years after World War II.

There are nearly 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from hunger. With that kind of suffering and deprivation, peace and development cannot take hold. In Afghanistan, for instance, over 7 million people are estimated to suffer from hunger and many millions more on the brink of this despair. These statistics were tabulated before the recent drought struck that country, putting millions of others at risk.

Food is the best road to peace in that country for without it people cannot work, cannot grow, cannot learn and cannot thrive. It’s the same story in Sudan, Ivory Coast, Niger, Yemen, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries mired in instability and poverty. If we feed their hungry and build their agricultural capacity, it’s our best hope of building stable and prosperous countries, and having them as lasting friends and allies of the United States.

Food is what unites all peoples across the globe, for all people and nations need it to survive and develop. There is no better gift we can give this Christmas or year round than food for the world’s hungry.

Article first published as When Santa, Rudolph, and Eisenhower Took on Global Hunger on Blogcritics.

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Eisenhower’s Thanksgiving Mission

General Dwight Eisenhower (NATO photo)

General Dwight Eisenhower needed rest. It was the first Thanksgiving since the end of World War II in 1945 and the general was suffering from bronchitis. With the holiday, you would think Ike could get his much-needed recovery time. But not so. On this Thanksgiving Day, Eisenhower was called for a special mission in Washington, D.C.

The Congress was holding a hearing on whether to provide additional funding for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). It was UNRRA that was helping provide food and other humanitarian aid to millions of people suffering in the aftermath of World War II. But it was not a sure thing the Congress was going to grant more money to this relief effort.

Congressman Sol Bloom of New York called upon Eisenhower to testify in the hearing. With Eisenhower’s busy schedule in Washington that week, Ike had planned to submit just a written statement. But when it came clear that Eisenhower could decide the fate of UNRRA funding, he agreed to appear in person. General Walter Bedell Smith had cabled Eisenhower stating that without UNRRA, “there is no repeat no agency to which we can turn to assist actively in carrying out our responsibilities in connection with the care of displaced persons.” Ike replied, “Thoroughly understand. My testimony will be strong.”

Eisenhower made some late edits and additions to a statement the War Department had prepared for him. On Thanksgiving morning he appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Congressman Bloom introduced Eisenhower, stating that the general was appearing against doctors orders and needed to get back to bed as soon as possible. But before that, Ike read his statement in support of UNRRA reminding Congress, “There are few places in Europe today where people are not cold, hungry and apprehensive of the future” and that “the ravished nations of the world are looking to UNRRA for their relief.”

Ike’s testimony was pivotal in swaying Congress to provide more funding for UNRRA which allowed aid to war-torn countries like Italy, Austria, and Greece. One of the countries in desperate need of aid was visited by Eisenhower in September, 1945, Poland.

Devastated by the war Poland needed food, medicine, clothing and the rebuilding of so many destroyed cities and towns. The U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Arthur Bliss Lane, saw the suffering in Poland and knew how important UNRRA aid was. Lane wrote, “the most terrible sight of all was that of the one-legged children…whose legs or arms were carried away by bombs, or whose gangrened limbs were amputated in mercy.”

Lane added, “There is no doubt that the help furnished by UNRRA and other humanitarian organizations … created a great spiritual bond between the Polish people and Western civilization. The distribution of packages was a constant reminder to the Poles that the West had not forgotten their plight and that the West, especially the United States, was helping as in the past.”

Humanitarian aid from UNRRA, the U.S. army, charities like Catholic Relief Services, CARE, UNICEF, and so many other organizations helped establish the foundation for European recovery and peace.

The lesson of Eisenhower’s Thanksgiving mission is essentially one of Food for Peace. Ike stated, “now that the fighting has ceased and the danger is less obvious, it is perhaps difficult for people in this country to visualize the desperate needs of the people of Europe and the necessity, if our military victory is to have lasting significance, of our successfully completing the job of making a peaceful world. ”

We didn’t forget about Europe after World War II, and today we cannot forget the hunger that afflicts over 900 million people throughout the globe. Whether it’s in Afghanistan, Sudan, Nepal or Iraq, it is vital that hunger and poverty are defeated if we hope to have peace.

originally published at History News Network.

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The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

At a press conference President Eisenhower stated, “the concept of atomic war is too horrible for man to endure and to practice, and he must find some way out of it.” In “The Road to Peace” read about President Eisenhower and President Kennedy’s pursuit of a nuclear test ban treaty, a first step in nuclear arms control with the Soviet Union. The attempt to control nuclear weaponry came at a time when the Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in the Cold War. Tensions were running high.

A lesser-known arms control measure is also discussed in the book, how the Soviet Union and the United States actually agreed to ban nuclear weapons from at least one part of the globe in 1959. Also read how a diplomat from Mexico led the struggle to create a nuclear weapons free zone in Latin America in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“The Road to Peace” includes the struggles between America and Britain over the Great Lakes and the Oregon territory. The now peaceful border of the United States and Canada did not come about easily. Read about diplomatic initiatives after World War I when the great hope of mankind was an end to warfare. Also, there is a concluding section on the INF and Open Skies treaties. Featured in “The Road to Peace” are notable peace efforts by extraordinary statesmen who served in government here and abroad from 1812 to the 20th century. Lessons of diplomacy and cooperation between countries are applicable to today’s conflicts.

Table of Contents
1. War and Peace on the Great Lakes
2. The Oregon Treaty
3. Peace After the Great War?
4. Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
5. The First Nuclear Weapon Free Zones
Epilogue- The INF and Open Skies Treaties

The Road to Peace is available from


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Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Negotiations

The Road to a Treaty Ending Nuclear Weapons Testing

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)  bans all nuclear weapons test explosions.  The treaty has not yet entered into force as eight countries: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States, have yet to ratify the CTBT.

Efforts to achieve a treaty ending nuclear weapons testing go back to the Cold War. Here is video footage and documents of test ban treaty efforts leading up to the present day.

President Dwight Eisenhower’s Statement on the Suspension of Nuclear Testing on August 22nd, 1958

Read an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer about the power of the hydrogen bomb (March 18, 1957)

Read a memorandum of a meeting in which President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Macmillan discuss the importance of a nuclear test ban treaty. (courtesy Eisenhower Library)

Short Video of President Eisenhower Talking About a Letter He Wrote to Nikita Khrushchev in Which He Proposed a Limited Nuclear Test Ban.

Books on the history of nuclear weapons and the test ban treaty

The Road to Peace

Nuclear Weapons

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