The Great Humanitarian
Herbert Hoover's Food Relief Efforts
Belgium & France - Finland - Germany & Austria - Poland - Russia - Baltic States - Eastern Europe - Other Countries

The country of Estonia had major difficulties in World War I, even though they had won their independence from Russia in the Russian Revolution. The food situation in the country was miserable, with the child mortality rate at 35% in 1918.

In Estonia, alone, one in four children received regular food from Hoover-led organizations. Hoover managed to secure 2,000 tons of food immediately from Finland to keep people fed, until consistent relief could be provided. In all, 62,000 tons of food were provided until this hearty people came back into their own with the harvest of 1919.

Hoover looking over food loading

Latvia, a country rife with unrest after WWI and its independence from Russia, saw many horrible acts committed by the local communists. When the first shipment of food arrived, it could only provide one meal a day to 200,000 people. Over time, however, relief for children amounted to 41 million fed, as well as food for many adults.

Stamp comemerating Latvian history (Photo courtesy of The Hoover Institution)

Like the other Baltic countries, Lithuania had numerous problems after declaring independence in the wake of the Russian Revolution. Despite this fact, it only took about 9,000 tons of food to return the country to normalcy.

Relief was gathered from the Danes, who provided thousands of tons of seed grain to help in the restoration of the Baltic States. The seed grain continued to aid the countries in their next harvest.

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Created by: Ross Byerly, Kim Nelson, Desiree Clark, Meredith Tinney, Keziah Low
Special thanks to Craig Wright, Maureen Harding, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum
Site launched: November 20, 2006
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