Refer to caption

My Fellow Soldiers

Letters from World War I

Belgian student Rene Moureaux to President Woodrow Wilson

Text Size:
Description

Courtesy Belgian Children's Letters to President Woodrow Wilson, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
In the earliest days of the war, Germany invaded Belgium after the government refused to allow German troops passage. The violation of Belgium’s neutrality provoked Britain to declare war against Germany on August 4, 1914. The conflict caused severe food shortages in Belgium. Though the United States remained neutral, citizens provided humanitarian aid and sent food supplies to the occupied country of seven million people. Belgian schools organized letter writing campaigns to express the population’s gratitude to the United States.

Transcription

[Transcript]

Monsieur le Président,

Je voudrais bien trouver des termes suffisamment éloquents pour Vous témoigner ma reconnaissance pour le bien que Vous avez fait à tous mes concitoyens et à ma famille. Votre attitude envers la population belge prouve que Vous avez bien compris, combine est pénible la situation dans laquelle se trouvent les millions d'habitants restés prisonniers dans leur propre pays. Votre bon mouvement a empêché que le triste fléau de la famine sévisse parmi nous. Au début de la guerre, j'ai entendu plusieurs fois mes parents se demander avec anxiété: "Que mangerons-noustantôt: que donnerons-nous demain à nos enfants.” Heureusement Votre secours est arrivé et soyez bien persuadé, Monsieur le Président, que Vous n'obligez pas des ingrats et que le souvenir de Vos bienfaits restera toujours gravé dans nos mémoires d'enfants.

Un de vos protégé René Moureaux de Hotton.

Hotton, le 27 février 1915.

A Monsieur le Président de la république des Etats-Unis à Washington.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ [Translation]

Mr. President,

I'd like to find enough eloquent words to express my gratitude for the good you have done for all my fellow citizens and my family. Your attitude towards the Belgian population proves that you understood how painful the situation is in which millions of inhabitants find themselves prisoners in their own country. Your action prevented the sad scourge of famine from raging among us. At the beginning of the war, I heard my parents anxiously ask several times: "What shall we eat now; what shall we give to our children tomorrow?" Fortunately your relief arrived, and be sure, Mr. President, that we were not ungrateful and that the memory of your good works will always remain etched in our childhood memories.

One of your saved René Moureaux of Hotton.

Hotton, February 27, 1915.

To the President of the Republic of the United States in Washington.