BackStory, “WWI Crusaders”

Jeffrey B. Miller’s new book WWI Crusaders tells the story of a little-known World War I humanitarian effort led by future United States president Herbert Hoover. On August 4, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, launching World War I and ushering a wave of harsh German rule throughout the neutral nation.

As the occupation progressed, Belgians faced massacres, deportations, family separations, and a growing threat of starvation. These food shortages prompted the largest relief effort the world had ever seen. The United States and Belgium-led project was a focal point for the political and military interests of the Allies, the United States, Germany, and Belgium, while reflecting the massive organizational challenges involved in World War I. Hanging in the balance were nearly 10 million Belgian and northern French civilian lives.

In telling this story, Miller uses striking photographs from the occupation and relief effort, many of which have never been seen in print.

See book photos and a WWI podcast at BackStory.

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