The Great Humanitarian
Herbert Hoover's Food Relief Efforts
Belgium & France - Finland - Germany & Austria - Poland - Russia - Baltic States - Eastern Europe - Other Countries

As a collective group, the Eastern European countries were helped during both World Wars. These countries consisted of Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, and Romania.

After World War I, Serbia and Yugoslavia were the countries that needed the most help right away. Herbert Hoover was told that Serbia and Yugoslavia would need between 30,000 and 40,000 tons of food to sustain them until their next harvest. Hoover felt that this was easier said than done; no one was sure how the next harvest would turn out. Instead, Hoover suggested that he and the American government extend a type of credit line. The Yugoslavian and Serbian governments would be given a total of $35 million to put to use. The two countries divided the credit: $10 million paid to the Grain Corporation and $5 million per month for the next five months to the United States. This way they could pay on a month to month basis and not have to worry about over-purchasing.

   
Children being fed at a "Hoover Restaurant"
A total of 775,000 children within Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were helped by the total 790,000 tons of food sent to Eastern Europe, after World War I. The food aid, which totaled $195 million was stopped by the abundant harvest that fall. However, while attempting to deliver the food, Hoover ran into some problems. At the border to Georgia, the government delayed rail road cars carrying food from the U.S. They demanded a toll of 2,000 tons of food or money in order to travel through the country. The Allies convinced them to let the trains through, or Georgia would have to deal with the Allied forces.
     
Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania split over 150 thousand tons of food. Bulgaria was able to pay the US for their portion of it. Hungary's share went to feed 25,000 children alone. Bootleggers in Romania put part of its portion to use by reselling it on the black market; the rest of it went to fighting the famine.  

   
(Photo courtesy of Antelope Antiques)
 
The following clip is part of a 1928 campaign video titled "Herbert Hoover: Master of Emergencies" which shows a map of famine in Europe after World War I. Most of Eastern Europe is indicated as being affected by famine and hunger.
Click to view the video

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Created by: Ross Byerly, Kim Nelson, Desiree Clark, Meredith Tinney, Keziah Low
Special thanks to Maureen Harding, Craig Wright, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum
Site launched: November 20, 2006
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