tv The Presidency World War I- Era German Hunger CSPAN October 12, 2019 9:15pm-10:01pm EDT
library in west branch, iowa. to the conference explored hoover's reputation as a great humanitarian during the world wars. it was his world war i work that provided the foundation for his white house run. in this session, mary elisabeth cox documents the depth of hunger among german women and children between 1914-1924. name is mary cox. i'm pleased to be here. . just published my first book it was just released in the u.s. a few weeks ago. lecture, covers a lot of what is in the book, but there's also a lot more that is in there. what i want to do is tell you a was like towhat it be in germany as a civilian during the first world war and in the years following. as part of that story, i will be
discussing herbert hoover, some things he did to alleviate suffering in germany, which remember, had been a big enemy of the allies of the u.s. one of the things i enjoyed so much doing the research is seeing his compassion for people that were very unpopular, and otherslity to encourage to also feel that compassion and save millions of lives. here is the book. i'm going to start by telling you about the british blockade. thet when the war started, british government started and interdiction of goods -- started an interdiction of goods. this blockade prevented many
things from entering the country, including food and fertilizer. and since then, over the past century, scholars have discussed this. there are scholars who say the blockade had no impact whatsoever. other scholars argue it had a huge impact on germany. i started this book because i wanted to ask the question, what were living standards actually like in germany? this debate that has gone on the last century began much earlier. i'm starting with propaganda from the national socialists published in 1914. azisthe nis, the maz argue that britain deliberately starved women and children in germany. books published in
1918 and 1919 with assembler message, women and children in germany are hungry and need food to continue. author mentioned the blockade continued throughout the war and strengthened over time, and also continued during the armistice. it was not lifted until after the treaty of versailles had been signed. so it continues for another eight months. the german population had gone through another cold winter with ports blockaded. this is a quick example to show extended beyond english-language arguments. house of misery, published in madrid in 1921. it includes photographs that make me uncomfortable, there are
pages of photographs of deformed children, suppose a german children that had been starved, lift themessage, blockade now. example.nother remember, the blockade is still in force. if you look at this, what is going on is a lot of heat, statistics are being thrown out, 760 3000e is a claim people have died in germany because of the effects of the hunger blockade. this statistic has changed over time. estimates from modern scholar range from 450,000 up to one million that succumbed to the blockade, so not because of spanish flu and other things going on at the time. i'm going to tell you the story and show you statistics. i'm a historian but i am also trained in quantitative methods,
and i'm able to use some of these statistics to give us an imperial view. to explain why germany was vulnerable to a blockade, the germans imported up to one third of all their food from overseas. they imported a lot of fertilizer. if you look at the german agricultural economy compared to the french agricultural economy in the 30 years leading up to the first world war, the germans used more fertilizer on their land as a way of increasing production, three times the amount of fertilizer is the french. made poors also policy decisions, or unfortunate, whatever word you want to use, and efforts to increase food supply. they made some mistakes. the most famous is probably the hweinword in 1915.
they said pigs were equal theaters with humans, this was published by an economist of the time, and they said if you could get rid of pigs and use that land to grow wheat instead, the amount of calories would increase. it makes logical sense, but it did not factor in human consumption patterns. what ended up happening is you had a glut of protein, all these pigs are killed in a few months, and then you have reduced the protein for the entire thenation, and it is only that people keep pigs privately and there are these black markets. and an effort to make food affordable, there was a fear food would run out, they put on producers, meaning could not sell certain foodstuffs above a certain price. you can see the logic behind that, but an issue with that is
that if you can only sell bread at a certain price but sell other goods a greater amounts, you are less likely to sell bread at a lower price. you are also more likely to sell things illegally. i'm being critical of the german government leaders, and it is clear they were between a rock and a hard place. there was a limited amount of food and they made efforts to increase that, but for the most part they were not effective. and you have the blockade in the background. and finally you have a militaryon between the and agricultural workers. and this is all over europe, not just germany. i should add to this as well that the german military took precedence. if there was a choice between giving food to civilians of the military, the military got food every time, which is unfortunate.
to go back to this idea of the from the this is taken weekly dispatch, the second-most circulated weekly newspaper in england. it had a circulation in 1914 about one million. didn't -- it increased heavily during the war. this is on the front page from september 8, 1918. this is the article here, and they said, i have never been an apostle of the comfortable there he that starvation will bring n --huns to their k to their knees. effects of the blockade of germany are still to be experienced by the criminal nation. by that amine that the undernourishment which is hats -- which -- which it has
suffered for the past four years, and is still suffering, will manna faced itself. itself.manifest one way of measuring well-being is by looking at changes in the heights and weights of populations. the basic idea is that if you have populations that are increasing in height and stature, that suggests they have more to eat and may be a better disease environment than populations that are decreasing. genetics plays the biggest impact in human height. -- no matter how many carrots i.e. as a child, due to my genetics, there is only so much i can grow. but if you have a big sample size, thousands of people, and you can see changes in population, then we are getting rid of this individual genetic
variation and we can see the shifts that are going on. endo metrics is especially useful when other indicators of well-being, such as gdp, might be suspect. other great scholars have used this to ask questions. heights of children are useful because you can see when changes are occurring as children are still growing, you can see immediate effects rather than having to go backwards and try to see things when things were happening. tithes were being collected all over the country. schooling in germany had been universal for 30 years before the first world war, and in schools, every year a child would go to school they would have a health assessment done. that often included their height and weight being taken. so this was a practice that butrred across germany,
these were not kept in the official german statistics when this was occurring. this is going to show you a couple of examples of data that i used. i mentioned schooling was universal in germany. although schooling was universal, german society itself was very hierarchical. if your parents had a bit of money, they might send you to a school that was more advanced than the school you had to go through that was required. if they had a lot of money, they would send you to an elite school where you would study greek or latin or both and prepare for university. the records i collected for this book are these records that were taken of german children, these school records, and they include their heights and weights. but because society was so hierarchical, i can infer from the background on the type of school the child went to.
if you know much about german schools today, terms have changed over the last century and have different meanings. these are schools kids went to if they were preparing for university, if they were studying greek and latin. and what you have here are heights in centimeter, the weight and the year of collection. i have their age down to the year. i have many, many of these. i'm just showing you one example. i have a wide spread of children covering much of germany, over 23 different cities and villages. i will go through this quickly. if you look at the slide, the data i used is not for individuals in this case, it is for school class, so it takes the average height. i mention that because you reduce the variation if you have
individuals. the changes i see are averaged down and biased down, so the deprivation or the recovery would be even greater. they represent almost 600,000 observations. when you use endometrics, you want a large sample size to make sure you're moving beyond individual variations. i want to show you a film from a20 in dresden, and this is feeding center that opened after the war. beingn see children measured. they are having their height taken, and their weight, and they are being examined by a doctor. this sort of thing happened before the war and during the work, and then herbert hoover and those who worked with him help use it after the war as well. regressions. i'm not going to show you those models. if you are interested, they are
in the book. instead, i will show you some of the results from them. this is a cartoon. even before the first world war began, there was great inequality. did not onlyit affect if you were to study latin or greek or go to trade school, it affected health and human height. in all myst variable regressions that came out was wealth. equal,ldren, all things smaller. centimeters and this inequality increases and it is sad, but after the war it was able to decrease. this graph shows changes in weight. i use these scores because that
allows me to compare differences ofage, the difference, say, three pounds between a newborn and a two-year-old has a much different meaning between a 16-year-old and 17-year-old. this sort of standardizes it. i will explain this graph for a moment. lines represent the weight before the war in 1914, before there was >> and lower-class children town here. this reflects inequality i was discussing. in 1916, upper-class children or wealthier children are not doing very well but they do not hit 1920, that istil when they do worst and then they have a slow recovery per by 1923 when my sample data ends, they
have not quite yet covered what they had been before the first world war started. children -- for middle-class children there is some up and down, they hit their nadir in 1990. by 19 -- 1919. they recovered somewhat. there's is no genetic reason why portal and should be smaller or way less or be shorter than their wealthier peers print this is the environment where they were living. .hey can afford to lose less they suffer a lot and hit their nadir in 1918. a sharp decline. but there the first to recover. just surpassedve their standards before the war and by 1923 they are doing much i ran, which was when these aggressions and graphed
them i was surprised about this. about german history. they get a new government after the war ends. hyperinflation in 19 when he three. this was, for me, a bit surprising. -- hyperinflation in 1923. thatestion was why is this caused me to return to the archives and i discovered the role herbert hoover played in helping children recover. i should say that i was not a historian of herbert hoover and had not done a lot of research about him. i found him because i wanted to be able to answer this question, why were poor children doing so much better. i knew a little bit about aid that i needed to get to the numbers to see how this eventually worked out. it is similar gasper -- similar graft for height. similar graph for height. i use a lot of statistics. i'll see use qualitative sources. for me what is fun about the research is the ability to mix
qualitative and quantitative sources and see where they meet up. in 1919.s published says in the second year of the war the effect of blockades show themselves clearly print school nurses agreed there were no serious results to be seen in the children. writes, as one doctor mainly due to the self-sacrifice of the parents and especially the mothers and their anxiety for the children. women, skin at the thebone, one knows where washing of food assigned to them has really gone. i have a whole chapter on women -- the portion of food assigned has really gone. and it is true. women between 20 and 40 suffer the greatest nutritional deprivation during the first world war. next came a children and finally, men. this is not just a victorian ideal that women and mother sacrifice for their children.
at least in the case of germany when there was not enough food to eat, women sacrificed for their children. but there's only so much you can sacrifice before you then, to death. what i found, which is sort of tragic is women suffer first come a they go down and hit a low point. they cannot sack of has anymore. then children suffer -- they cannot sacrifice anymore. then children suffer. you see that in the first years of the war you see that in these graphs. told her do not seem to be too bad in the first years of the war and then things get worse. so herbert hoover. george did a great job discussing the institutions. , especiallytates after we joined the war but also before was able to increase agricultural production many fold. too lily wheat and pork. sold a lot of food to our allies. allowed the armies
to continue fighting. the slogan, food will when the war is something uber -- hoover made popular. he also instigated meatless days and certain days we can only eat certain things. this is all geared at increasing the supply of food that could be shipped to europe. when the war ended, we had a surplus. i cannot say we because you quit french listening to this. -- you could be french listening to this. [laughter] when the war ended we had a surplus of food that needed to be sold or given away. of this, this is something i found in birmingham. this is not herbert hoover but the idea of charity is spread throughout. it was important because there were different ideas in terms of who should get a first. especially following the war, there were lots of people in europe were hungry. it was not just the germans.
does what my book covers. many people are hungry. there was the idea of morality. people said that first we should feed our friends. then we should feed the neutrals. then if there's anything left over we can feed our enemies. but was not constant published a lot in many places. herbert hoover was able to change public opinion. he came up with slogans as he had during the war, such as food would win the war. such as i do not have any german enemies under the age of six. we have never been at war with women and children. was aelps, using children way to help people who had, for many good reasons had held a lot of animosity toward germany, putting it in the eyes of children, people were then able and more willing to take into their pockets and donate.
he faced a lot of palooka pressure in the united states against this and abroad. -- a lot of political pressure in the u.s. and abroad. but he was able to get it through. here's another image. thecture represents children of tomorrow. you see a wolf that represent winter is wafting in the black -- in the background. he is also labeled. [laughter] across the ocean is uncle sam it with food supplies and to him is herbert hoover tugging at uncle to sam's shoulder pointing towards europe. as a way to save, we need to feed the europeans. was published in november, 1918. there is the idea that hunger is going over europe. uber is hauling a flag that rep since uber.
he is looking for to getting food into europe. -- there is a flag that represents hoover. he is looking for to getting food into europe. there's a blockade and the question of who should get food first pretty he did a number of things per he made public statements were published in newspapers. he said we do not need to worry about germany, they will take care of themselves or let just to lift the blockade and then they can get food from whoever they want. and that sounds sort of neutral. but it is exactly what many people do not want to have happen. negotiated heavily to get the blockade left in. by christmas day, it was agreed upon by the allies. christmas day, 1918, that neutral countries would be allowed to ship food anywhere they wanted to. day, he wrote to ira morris, the u.s. about certain sweden. a confidential telegram.
he said, this is the first chance we have to feed determinate. statesa was, the united can shift food, ship park, to scandinavia. because they were also affected by the blockade. they have the right to import it where they want. being germany. this was totally rejected one week later and canceled by marshall faulk. you see many efforts of him trying to get food and into her ways and those efforts are turned down. finally by the end of march, 1919, it was agreed a certain amount of foodstuffs would be allowed in. the germans pay for that with gold coins. once they had signed a treaty of versailles and the blockade was lifted, there were some any hungry people. hoover realized that. although officially his response ability to care for germany was no longer there, he recognized that they needed to have food. another part of the story. there are a lot of
german-americans living in the united states. they received letters from loved ones about how bad it was in germany. there was animosity understand lee that many felt toward the united states, or at least it was perceived by many. what hoover did is he moved away from some of these a groups that were german-american or that sounded anti-american. he asked the newly founded american friends service committee which started in 1917, if they would be the face of u.s. aid to germany. brillianttrategically , because the quakers in the united states do not and did not stem from germany. they came from englund. there pacifists. by putting a quaker face on u.s. aid, rather than frustrated or angry german americans, this made the cause much bigger than just the german-american group. he was able to raise much more money because of that.
because of them. the quakers were the face of a. and they received a lot of the food aid from the ara and from other organizations. they were already in germany before hoover asked them to early -- in the fall of 1919. they started opening shop officially in february, 1920. this is a photograph of a warehouse in homburg. this is food that is meant for german children. the american friends service many learned a lot from what had gone on in belgium. theer and his men perfected best way to feed children. in their work and feeding children in belgium and northern france. what they did was they would select children based on measurements that teachers had
taken during the war and before the war of the same system. they created a triage system and use institutions that had existed well before they came, rather than trying to create new ones. children who were found to be the lightest and the shortest in the hungriest from these assessments done by their local teachers or doctors were given food first. so the children were grouped into four groups, the number one group being there fine and healthy, the number two group meant children were a little deprived. and three were very prized for severely deprived and they gave food to the bottom two groups. children will get a meal every day of the week except sunday. for one month. at which point they would be reassessed. that way they could feed the hungriest children first. the graph i showed you earlier were children who are the poorest have the strongest and quickest recovery and be explained in part by this graph. in order to make that came --
this claim which is a bold claim, we have to know how much food was actually being shipped over and how much food they were actually getting. there were ever factors besides aid. in my studying the archives, 1.1 million meals were being fed to german children every day. you have a population of 70 million people total and 1.1 million people being fed. that is a lot. while inequality increased when i say inequality i mean in terms of health of stature increased during the war, it is after the war where this decreases because children who had been hit the hardest were targeted and received additional meals. i have recipes of the food used in these mills. there were getting a lot of condensed milk. most popular's meals was a sort of chocolate soup consisting of tots consist condensed milk, -- condensed milk, rice, lard, sugar and cocoa. children loved it and it had over 700 calories in a single serving.
and of course if you are a hungry kid, having a diet full of fat and protein from the condensed milk is just wonderful thing. children had to eat the meals in the feeding centers themselves. they could not take the food with them. this also prevented food from being stolen or maybe they would have wanted to share it with their family or friends. they had to eat all of the food there and then. and then they did go on. i also found hundreds and hundreds of letters thank you letters that children wrote to some of the philanthropists. i want to show two examples because of the different tone you get. , is nott one is from dated but i think it was from 1920 or 1921. she writes, i have been sick for a few days. and they came to me that i could write to you sometime. i got a jacket from you that is very beautiful. i never thought that i would someday own such a beat up a jacket.
i only wear it on sundays. this winter was really cold for us and there was a lot of snow. i went sledding a lot. but now i cannot go sledding because i'm sick. we are refugees and do not have our own home. we also would not have had cold if this one good quaker had not driven with his car and brought the call. my father died. but our aunt works for the red cross. she gets together with the quakers a lot. she tells us a lot about you. letter rings of authenticity. this child this tender old is able to see positive things in her life despite being a refugee, despite not having her father dead. she mentioned she was able to go sledding and how fun that wasn't all she got sick and on the back she drew a picture that has a big smiling son over a cherry tree. the sun is actually smiling. when i say smiling has big smiley face and measures growing. and she is expressing real gratitude. but there of course a mixture of feelings. this is a letter from matilda from munich.
in 1921. she writes, dear children of girl, a munichan child greets you today for the first time. you will have already often heard germany, especially munich, suffers great need. i daily enjoy the quicker food. from my heart i am hpy every day i have this meal. the war brought us this difficult fate. we munich children are right emaciated and you dear mac and children have so much and are so rich. i know well that you do a lot for us. if you could see such children, you would certainly have something for us. unfortunately, we cannot see you and you cannot see us. i know well that you do a lot. this, she'stone of a little bit frustrated. and probably a lot of germans felt this way. she sees these wealthy americans as part of the cause of her suffering. see a range of emotions. from the difference responses children gift. by raula drawing done
and he shows children lined up outside a feeding center. if you look in the door in the center there are two larger people. i think they're adults. checking the children and making sure they can come in. this was in part because if a child was selected for this feeding, these quaker missionaries would go in and form feeding groups in every city they entered. part of the feeding group have leading businessmen and every palooka group of that city, sometimes even leading religious groups, we join together to feed this group and the card would be signed by a number of different people. so this card was a viable thing and it would be checked before they entered the feeding center because then they would have to sit and eat the food there. so you see in the drawing evidence of the instruction given to quaker missionary's pre-this is a drawing i like a lot. this is a boy and he is sitting on top of a truck. on the trunk it says cacao for deutsche kindt or.
kinder. chocolate for german children. he says to his friend, from america it taste wonderful. and the boy in the corner says, i believe you. this is from an 11-year-old. i also found evidence of a widescale measurement system that was going on. i'm going to show you a couple of drawings. i'm going to show you a couple of drawings. this is a boy, from an unknown artist was standing on a scale be measured. i found poems and songs where children are writing about how they hoped they would be found small enough so they can be chosen to get these additional meals because they were so hungry. at one point one million children were fidelity but that was not all children. ist is fascinating for me that i found the statistics and ran the regressions and do the analysis.
then there's the qualitative or people are saying they're hungry and differ grits or hungry. then there are the instructions missionaries we are given in terms of who they would select for the feeding. and you have these drawings. and they all different sources in very different places and different archives. but they point to the similar conclusion which was that children suffered a lot during the war and they were able to recover because of the food that was sent. a couple more of these. this is before the german feeding are the quaker feeding, during the feeding. after the american quite a feeding -- quaker feeding. in can see this little girl the first picture her mouth is in an op she's skinny. her cheeks are not very rosy and her bow is small. dr. cox: the next one she has a little smile and she's getting plumber. the final one she is beaming and her cheeks makeup all much or whole face and her bow is humongous. and next to them is this blue pot that says quaker food. felt about they
food. here's another before the feeding and after the feeding. the first when you can see a little guy before the feeding he is not restrung. after the feeding, we have weights down below, it looks like he's about to jump up and grab this bar. i have a close-up of these to show you. the first one he is frowning and has loose pants and is skinny. in the second one, he has biceps. he's busting out of his pants. this big grin on his face. this is what he is trying to express. because of the american food that had been sent he was able to grow. letters, i grouped them into different kinds of themes. one was measurement. weres that children considering themselves before the feeding during the feeding and after the feeding. another that came through a different religious symbols. there's a whole series of these peer i'm showing you three were children from the same school depicting the same
room. if you look at the stair painting the same thing. this feeding. an included different scriptures from the new testament, christian scriptures related to giving. two others. i will read this quickly, from john, by the children, let us not love in word neither tongue but in deed and in truth. 9, 7, forinthian's god loveth a cheerful giver. a few, 2535. for i was hungered and you gave me meat appeared i was thirsty and you gave me drink. i was a stranger and you took me in. they're expressing thanks. and they are also trying to aid to continue. food aid continued in germany up past 90 24. they're still getting food aid. and these weres meant to elicit simply from the philanthropist.
also i think many children may have been aware of the scriptures even if their parents helped them. in germany religious education was part of the curriculum. -id there is a much stronger think the literacy of new testament scratchers would have been stronger 100 years ago than today. but there was also religious to melissa that come through in less formal ways -- there was also religious symbolism in less formal ways. this was a letter and painting drawn by a girl who was a war orphan. josepha. and she writes about how she was the recipient of the quaker food for one year. she was still not very big. but she was ray grateful. you should see the angel holding what looks like a christmas tree with stars in the background of perhaps snow. i have a close-up of this. on the base of the tree, it says, american food. in the angel's hand, taken from
luke, glory to god in the peace on earth and goodwill towards men. i do not know the location germany but this is from the early 1920's. this film shows a lot of what we saw in the drawings i showed you. for tal here are the children lined up outside. there feeding card is being checked. in the one hand they have it pale and the other hand there showing the feeding card. you see the food they are being given. do not know if this is the chocolate soup. it could have also been beans. you have diesel children that are eating the food. -- you have these little children eating the food and very happy.
the third boy is holding up his card.g cart -- that is a size of it. it he would've been proud to have it and it was very valuable. he has been nutritionally deprived so badly he cannot walk straight. he probably had rickets. his friend comes and carries him in. lots of room for compassion. finally, because they are children, children in general, they like cars and trucks. i found in a lot of these thank you letters tucked away images of different transportation modes with the food. this is hooray, the quaker ship is here. and supposedly the ship is caring quaker food, american food. you see the same thing here in ships. and i found these that plans, which was surprising. [laughter] traveling via zeppelin was a luxury 100 years ago. this was before the hindenburg and the bad pr that destroyed the sapling industry. i kept finding these zeppelins
and that zr threet was the first allowed to bewas made in germany in the first world war -- after the first were more peer there were not supposed build ships. but it was agreed that can make -- if the united states could have it. many german children saw this as a sort of a gift even though it zriiiquired this one, the is a puzzle he caring thank you letters from the german children to the quakers. ofis going to end paradise say there's no evidence in any archives anywhere in the world that food was being shipped via sapling. to feet german children. [laughter] this -- to feed a german children. this would have been the most extensive way possible to ship food. but you can see the children's imaginations and they are happy it happened. a quick slide. my mother and father are here. i'm glad they cannot see me for
the lecture. this is a photo of my mother. she gives the book as strong a disaster it thumbs up. [laughter] -- she gives the buck a strong and enthusiastic thumbs up. [laughter] [applause] [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] this is american history tv on c-span3, were each weekend we feature 48 hours of programs as exploring are a nation's past. -- programs exploring our nation's past. announcer: monday on american history tv, supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg and
sonya sotomayor discussed the judicial impact of the first woman to serve on the u.s. supreme court. sandra day o'connor. here's a preview. probably quote as she did many times, the minnesota supreme court justice jean klein. day,aid at the end of the a wise old man and a wise old woman will reach the same judgment. and i think that is true. but sander would have followed it up by saying, we each bring our life experience to the table. female is not the same as growing up male. and you could see the difference in an opinion that justice o'connor wrote. it came out at the end of her
very first term on the court. against mississippi university for women. wanteds about a man who to become a nurse. and the best nursing school in his area was the mississippi university for women. hogan challenged the exclusion. as a denial of equal protection. the then justices, justice powell, looked on the reservation of the nursing school, two women, as a kind of affirmative action for women. so it was ok. but sandra, if you read between the lines, what she is saying, if you want to improve the status of women in the nursing profession, the best way to do to want to doen
the job. because the pay inevitably will go up. [laughter] that was an insight she had and she recognized that reserving that school to women was not a favor to women. hear more about former supreme court justice saturday o'connor's judicial impact monday at noon and it caught p.m. eastern. you're watching american history tv, only on c-span3. announcer: on april 24, 1971, an 000 protesters gathered on the national mall in opposition to the vietnam war. in the days following the peaceful protests, about 45,000 antiwar activists stayed in the city to begin a series of mayday actions, blocking access to government buildings and
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