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The Day's food in war and peace
([ca.1918])

Lesson I: [Food and the war],   pp. 7-18 PDF (3.4 MB)


Page 9

FOOD AND THE WAR. 
HERBERT HoovER. 
I have been asked to review the reasons why we are pleading with the Ameri-
can people for stimulation of our food production, for care, thought, and
economy in consumption and in the elimination of waste. 
Food is always more or less of a problem in every phase of its production,
handling, and consumption. It is a problem with every farmer, every transporter
and miller, every householder. It is a problem with every town, state, and
nation. And now, very conspicuously, it is a problem with three great groups
of nations, namely, the Allies, the Central Empires, and the Neutrals; iii
a 
word, it is a great international problem. 
The question of who wins the war is the question of who can endure the 
longest, and the problem of endurance, in a large degree, is a problem of
food 
supply and the ships to carry it. 
The food problem to-day of our own Nation, therefore, has as its most con-
spicuous phase an international character. A sufficient and regular supply
of 
food for the maintenance of the great field armies of the fighting Allies
and of 
their no less great armies of working men and working women in the war in-
dustries, and finally for the maintenanc of the women and children in the
home, is an absolute necessity, second to no other, for the successful prosecution
of the war for liberty. 
The Allies are dependent upon us for food and for quantities larger than
we 
have ever before exported. They are the first line of our defense, and our
money, our ships, our food supply, and even our lifeblood must be of a 
common stock- If we can not maintain the Allies in their necessities, we
can 
not expect them to remain constant in war. If their food fails, we shall
be 
left alone in the fight, and the western line will move to the Atlantic seaboard.
It is thus a matter of our own safety and self-interest to send them food.
It 
is more than this--it is a matter of humanity that we give of our abundance,
that we relieve suffering. 
In normal pre-war times England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Belgium were,
to a large degree, dependent upon imports for their food supplies. They yearly
imported over 750,000,000 bushels of grain, together with vast quantities
of 
animal and fat products. Belligerent lines have cut off their supplies from
Russia, Bulgaria, and Romnania, and the demands of Germany on surrounding
neutrals and their new needs, have reduced the supplies from those quarters.
The voyage from Australia is three times as long, and, therefore, requires
three times as many tons of shipping as is required from North Atlantic ports.
It is also more dangerous because of the longer exposure to submarine attack.
Beeause of the contiwuous destruction of shipping these great markets are
now 
only partially accessible, and the more remote markets will be increasingly
(9) 


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