Herbert Hoover is probably least known for his greatest accomplishment: saving Europe from starvation after World War I.
It was the first time in the course of humanity that a nation collectively fed other nations… even their recent German, Austrian, and Turkish enemies. He campaigned on a “Food Will Win the War,” slogan that ultimately rescued millions from a slow death by starvation. Hoover utilized convoys of military trucks to ship in food for starving Europeans, but early food trucks also raised money to provide bread for the cause.
Hoover wrote: “Of course, the prime objective of the United States in undertaking the fight against famine in Europe is to save the lives of starving people. The secondary object, however, and of hardly less importance, is to defeat Anarchy, which is the handmaiden of Hunger.”
Hoover’s leadership example marked a seed change in not just American politics; it set a precedent for every nation that has followed our example for the last four generations.
American efforts are an igniting torch for other countries: Global efforts to relieve Haiti earthquake victims, focused work to end Cambodian human trafficking, and resources that alleviate sources of Indian infanty mortality… all stem from American leadership in humanitarian aid. We believe in the fundamental worth of every human being, and we continue to set that as the standard of a civilized society for the world.
Perhaps most impressively, we care for our enemies. For instance, WWII POW’s that awaited release from their internment in Japanese concentration camps did not commit one act of retaliation against their oppressors. In fact, men that were living on a golf ball sized ration of rice, stopped stealing food when they found out the Japanese people were starving.
As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we believe that Food Will Win the War, but as a nation we don’t just worry about our family’s table, and our military doesn’t just worry about its own interests– and that’s something to be grateful for.