FOR NEARLY 100 years, when civilians anywhere in the world have been impacted by conflict or disaster, the response has been universal: “America will help.”
That was not the case before the First World War.
Although little remembered today, one U.S. civilian-led wartime relief agency saved millions of lives and helped redefine how the world saw America while shaping the United States’ perception of its own global role in the 20th Century.
It was the nongovernmental Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), along with its Brussels-based counterpart, the Comité National de Secours et d’Alimentation (CN), that was responsible for what was then the largest food relief program the world had ever seen. Together, the two operations collectively fed nearly 10 million civilians trapped behind the German lines in Belgium and northern France from the opening months of the war through to the Armistice.
Read more at Military History Now.