Band of Crusaders: American Humanitarians, the Great War, and the Remaking of the World

Jan 01, 2008 | by
  • Description

The origins of international humanitarian relief can be found in the American-led response to the grave and growing crisis affecting European civilians and soldiers in World War I. Immediately after the "guns of August" roared in 1914, American relief programs for Europe commenced. Private American institutions and citizens, called by one leading architect of relief a "band of crusaders" unlike the world had ever seen -- a predominantly secular, Progressive, business-minded cadre -- mobilized political and social networks across the world to feed and clothe some 80 million Europeans in over twenty countries. Virtually forgotten today, this activity constitutes the largest disaster assistance effort in world history and dwarfs that of the global response to the South Asian tsunami of December 2004.