Tag Archives: history

Century-old armistice unveiled brutal foe of hunger

World War One destroyed communities and farmland which led to food shortages.

One hundred years ago, the Armistice of Nov. 11 brought the fighting of World War I mercifully to an end. The U.S. and Allies had defeated Germany and the Central Powers in what was called the Great War.

As we reflect on this history, let’s remember the timeless lessons of war and peace that emerged. World War I showed not only the horror of armed conflict, but its brutal partner: Hunger.

When President Woodrow Wilson addressed Congress about the Armistice, he warned of hunger in the defeated Germany, Austria-Hungary and other Central Powers. Wilson said, “Everything that is possible in the circumstances will be done to supply them with food and relieve the distressing want that is in so many places threatening their very lives… Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible.”

No armistice can be signed against the enemy of hunger. The battle against food shortages continued long after Nov. 11. Herbert Hoover, who coordinated food aid, described how in France “when the curtain was raised at the Armistice, there came into view destroyed cities, homes and farms.”

With farmers displaced from their homes and unable to grow food, famine became the threat. Hoover wrote, “A belt of once fertile land on both sides of the trench lines was so torn that it required years for restoration.”

Americans donated to help feed France and other nations in distress. The Congress also passed appropriations supporting food aid for the war victims.

It’s vital we remember the Armistice and the hunger that followed. The tragic thing is 100 years later there are still nations affected by war and at risk of famine.

The civil war in Yemen has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Yemen is on the brink of famine. Carolyn Miles, the president of Save the Children, says, “This brutal conflict continues to claim the lives of more than 100 children per day – not just from conflict but also from disease and extreme food insecurity, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing violence.”

Yemen desperately needs a ceasefire, a peace treaty and food aid.

The civil war in Syria has destroyed agriculture, which will also take years to recover. Refugees from Syria are scattered throughout the Middle East and with the loss of livelihood they suffer from hunger.

South Sudan, a country with fertile land, has seen its farming industry also devastated by civil war. In the Sahel region of Africa conflict and drought have left millions with food shortages.

All these nations need emergency food aid. Catholic Relief Services, The World Food Program, Save the Children, Mercy Corps and other humanitarian agencies provide life-saving aid with the generosity of donors. As was the case after the Armistice the goodwill of the public through food drives and fundraisers is needed.

With enough funding these nations can rebuild agriculture and grow their own food.

Like after the Armistice, Congress is needed to back humanitarian relief through spending bills. Today’s Congress should increase funds for the Food for Peace program to fight hunger in today’s war and disaster affected nations.

One thing that was done after the Armistice was providing school meals to children in countries impacted by the war. Congress could further support school meals overseas today by increasing funding for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.

With the Armistice came hope of a lasting peace and the end to war and famine. We should never give up on these noble dreams that can inspire us this Armistice (Veteran’s) Day on Nov. 11.

William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book Ending World Hunger.

Originally appeared in the Bakersfield Californian.

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History News Network: The Great Thing The Allies Did as Germany Crumbled

As we remember V-E Day (May 8, 1945) and the Allies victory in World War II Europe, let’s also think of the unsung heroes. For throughout Europe there was another war raging against hunger.

US and British pilots heroically airlifted food into the Netherlands, who were starving under Nazi occupation.

A US Army Colonel, OJ Bizzozero, and a Red Cross official, Kevin Silber, advocated a great idea for feeding hungry children in recently liberated Italy.

Bizzozero exclaimed, “You would have to go into the schools. Schools are the place to go.” Silber replied, “In that way we could furnish milk to children who need it, and at the same time stimulate school attendance.” Soup and vegetables were also provided to hungry school children in Italy.

This emergency school feeding, which the Allies did throughout Europe, is one of the best ways to help the suffering children of war. It’s a lesson we should well remember because at this very moment children are hungry and missing out on education because of conflict.

See my full commentary at the History News Network.

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Columbus Dispatch Oped: In war zones, feeding kids in school solves 2 problems

As we remember V-E Day (May 8, 1945) and the Allies’ victory in World War II Europe, let’s also think of the unsung heroes. Throughout Europe there was another war raging against hunger.

U.S. and British pilots heroically airlifted food into the Netherlands, where people were starving under Nazi occupation.

U.S. Army Col. O.J. Bizzozero and a Red Cross official, Kevin Silber, had a great idea for feeding hungry children in recently liberated Italy.

Bizzozero exclaimed: “You would have to go into the schools. Schools are the place to go.” Silber replied, “In that way we could furnish milk to children who need it, and at the same time stimulate school attendance.” Soup and vegetables were provided to hungry schoolchildren in Italy.

This emergency school feeding, which the Allies did throughout Europe, is one of the best ways to help the suffering children of war. It’s a lesson we should well remember because at this very moment children are hungry and missing out on education because of conflict.

See my full commentary at the Columbus Dispatch:

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Share Dr. King’s belief in ‘three meals a day’ for the hungry

One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams was a world free from hunger, which is vital for achieving equality among all peoples. We can celebrate Martin Luther King Day by joining his quest to end hunger at home and abroad.

As Dr. King proclaimed in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

See my full commentary at the Raleigh News & Observer:

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On Veteran’s Day, thoughts on building a lasting peace

Just eight days before the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice ending World War I, my great uncle, Ira Pitzer, was killed during battle in France. His mother was overcome with grief for the rest of her life, a tragedy shared by so many families who have served in the military.

Veterans Day is to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the armed forces. But Veterans Day also should mean something more, an inspiration to win a lasting peace.

As President Dwight Eisenhower once proclaimed on Veterans Day: “Let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

See my full commentary in the Des Moines Register:

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Trump, Like JFK, Should Make Nuclear Test Ban Top Priority

President Trump’s first treaty might be closer than you think, if he chooses peace. It’s the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear test explosions.

Trump just needs to encourage the Senate to ratify the treaty. With the support of Trump and the Republican led Senate, the treaty could be approved.

Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were the first presidents to seek a nuclear test ban treaty. Why? Because they understood its vital role in leading to disarmament.

Read my full article at the Huffington Post.

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My Christmas Day column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: Operation Reindeer!

Way back in 1953, Santa Claus took a little time out of his busy schedule to help a new president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower. We hear a lot about presidential appointments these days. Well, that year it was Santa who was called to action by the president.

The holiday season inspired “Operation Reindeer,” Eisenhower’s plan to send Christmas food packages to hungry people around the world

See my full article in the Christmas Day Plain Dealer (page E2).

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