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My Fellow Soldiers

Letters from World War I

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

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Belgian student Alexandre Lobet to President Woodrow Wilson

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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 viens exprimer mes sentiments de reconnaissance envers la noble Nation de Etats -Unis et son chef vénéré. Le grand fléau de la guerre a semé dans notre petit pays les désastres et la misère, et sans votre générosité, nous étions condamnés à périr de misère. Grâce à vous, nous avons été sauvés.

Aussi quelle gratitude, tous les Belges ne vous doivent-ils pas! Ils ne savaient assez vous remercier pour les services que vous leur avoir rendus; soyez assuré qu'ils ne l'oublieront jamais.

Alexandre Lobet de l'école primaire, de Hotton-Belgique.

Hotton, le 27 février 1915.

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

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

Mr. President,

I just want to express my feelings of gratitude to the noble Nation of the United States and its venerated leader. The scourge of war has sown disasters and misery in our small country, and without your generosity, we were condemned to perish in misery. Thanks to you, we have been saved.

As such, all Belgians owe gratitude to you! They know not how to thank you enough for the services you have rendered them; rest assured that they will never forget.

Alexandre Lobet from primary school, Hotton, Belgium.

Hotton, February 27, 1915.

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