Feed the World and Save the League, November 21, 1920 (summary)


Human Pity Among Nations, League Needs -- Jane Addams

"The primitive element of human pity internationally applied will supply the basic strength of the League of Nations. Political considerations alone have failed to meet the economic needs of the European nations and the near East. The great evidence in the case is the wholesale starvation of the peoples of those countries supposedly benefitted by entrance into the League."

This declaration was made in an address yesterday at the Academy of Music under Ethical Culture Society auspices, by Miss Jane Addams, of Chicago, in which she portrayed conditions as she saw them in her recent investigations in Europe and the Near East, presenting them in support of her attitude on the League issue.

"The smaller nations of the Near East, Czechoslovakia, [Yugoslavia], Poland, and the Ukraine, granted their right of self-determination, have established tariffs against each other that make food supplies, chiefly grain, prohibitive in price to those countries that have hitherto been practically dependent upon them for food. This is but one glaring instance of the insufficiency of political considerations alone in the formation of a League of Nations."

Tracing the starvation conditions that make imperative the existence of some humanitarian element in the League's workings, Miss Addams dwelt chiefly upon the pitiable condition of the children of Europe and the Near East. She based her observations for the most part upon the masses of children that are receiving aid from Herbert Hoover's Child Relief Administration.

Her first experience was with 600 starving tubercular children in [Lille], waiting in line, all stripped, their entire skeletons in evidence under their skins, being examined by a French doctor, himself a victim of shell shock, for dispatch to [sanatoria] for treatment. Forty percent of the school children in [Lille] are stated on good authority to be suffering from tuberculosis superinduced by starvation.

Her next experience was with Viennese children in Zurich, being cared for by the Swiss people of that city. In this connection, Miss Addams said, "We sometimes forget what the small neutral countries of Europe did to relieve the misery of the warring nations." The condition of these children was unbelievable, their voices were possessed of that quality known as "the hunger voice." She cited a case of an English officer going out on the street one day in Vienna, thoughtlessly throwing some sandwiches to a group of hungry children, and before he could escape, being thrown down and besieged until his clothes were in tatters at the hands of a seething mass of children seeking in his pockets for more food.

The probate courts and the regular courts throughout Europe are overflowing with cases of child theft, perpetrated to get money to procure food.

Of the results of starvation among the adults, the most desperate rate of death has occurred among the aged and among the mothers of young children. As a solution, Miss Addams recommends an internationally guaranteed loan, to enable the people of the suffering countries to get on their feet again, and the bartering of commodities, such, chiefly as wool.

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