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The Militant, 31 March 1945

Bill Morgan

Hoover Used Food as Weapon
to Subdue European Peoples

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 23, 9 June 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Are you hungry? Could you use a big juicy steak and some butter and eggs? Sure – the answer is simple! But you are willing to sacrifice – to do without these things and more if it means feeding the millions of your fellow workers and their families in war-torn Europe. Workers have always helped one another in time of strike and other disasters – and no questions asked.

But, as a worker, you are suspicious of bosses. You know how the boss in your plant is always chiselling on the union agreement. And you know the bosses are handling the distribution of food that’s being sent to Greece and France and the other countries of Europe. So let’s take a look at how the bosses are handling the food.

Hoover’s Policies

After the last war Herbert Hoover – remember him? – was in charge of feeding the starving millions in every country devastated by the war. How did he manage the job? In a letter to Oswald Garrison Villard, quoted by Louis Fisher in The Soviets in World Affairs, published in 1930, Mr. Hoover revealed the real role of American relief:

“The whole of American policy during the liquidation of the armistice was to contribute everything it could to prevent Europe from going Bolshevik.”

In an article in Collier’s in November 1942 Hoover wrote:

“A weak government possessed of the weapon of food for starving people can preserve and strengthen itself more effectively than by arms. Therefore, in our major operations we sought to work through these governments even at the price of lost efficiency.”

Saved Capitalism

In other words Herbert Hoover, acting in the interests of American capitalism, shackled the workers of Europe to the rotten capitalist governments that brought on the very war out of which the mass starvation came.

“In the last war, defeated Russia with roughly 140 million people was famine stricken in certain areas. He made and effort to furnish food, but Russia refused relief because the Allies stipulated that she must stop fighting her neighbors,” says Hoover in the same article in Collier’s.

The real situation at that was that Russia’s neighbors, armed and equipped by the Allies, were marching into Russia to crush the revolutionary masses and restore the Czar.

This fact is attested to in Michael Straight’s book, Make This the Last War, in which he says:

“The American Relief Administration food program was used openly as a means of recruiting white guard armies of intervention in Russia.”

That is how food was used in Europe after the last World War.

Same Policy Now

No pretense was made at feeding the hungry unless the hungry submitted to the reactionary governments that brought on the very war which caused the starvation.

Has that policy changed? Is the food sent from America, the food you are doing without, being used to feed the starving millions in Europe today? Let’s take a look at Greece, where the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency has recently delivered food sent from America.

In Greece the food is turned over to the government set up by the British and Americans brass hats. This government represents the interests of British and American capitalism. It was established over the mass protest of the Greek workers. And even the UNRRA has had to protest over the manner in which this food is being withheld from all who disagree with the Greek government. Only the rich and their stooges eat, while millions of Greek peasants and workers starve.

Just the other day President Truman called in ex-President Hoover to discuss the food situation in Europe and the policy of the UNRRA. The discussion was not made public, but Hoover’s policy is no secret and the methods he used in 1919–20 are already being employed today in France and Belgium. The fear of revolution in Europe will drive the bosses to deliberate starving of people even though the warehouses are full of food sent from America.

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