Letters from World War I

Belgian student Paul Mage to President Woodrow Wilson

Refer to caption
Commission for Relief in Belgium supplied food to civilians.
Courtesy Library of Congress


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.

one page of a hand-written letter with a drawing of three flags



Monsieur le Président,

Je vous remercie pour tous les bienfaits dont vous avez comblé notre chère Belgique qu'une guerre terrible a ravageé.

La famine régnerait ici depuis longtemps si les citoyens américains, avec leur générosité proverbial, n'étaient venus au secours du people belge.

Vous nous avez sauvé, grande Nation Américaine, vos bienfaits resteront gravés dans nos mémoires avec les exploits de notre vaillant Roi et de nos soldats. Oui, Monsieur le Président, je Vous remercie sincèrement pour vos bontés à soulager nos misères.

Paul Mage âge de 8 ans écolier de Hotton. Luxumbourg - Belgique.

Hotton, le 27 février 1915.

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

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

Mr. President,

Thank you for all the good works that you have given to our dear, war-torn Belgium.

Famine would have long reigned here if American citizens, with their well- known generosity, had not come to the rescue of the Belgian people.

You have saved us, great American Nation, your kindness will remain engraved in our memories along with the deeds of our valiant King and our soldiers. Yes, Mr. President, I sincerely thank you for your kindness which relieved our misery.

Paul Mage age 8 years Hotton Elementary student Luxumbourg - Belgium.

Hotton, February 27, 1915.

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

My Fellow Soldiers