National Committee of Relief and Food

The National Aid and Food Committee ( “National Relief Committee and Food”; Dutch : Nationaal Hulp- in Voedingscomité ), abbreviated to CNSA , Was a Relief organization created in 1914 to distribute humanitarian aid to Civilians in German-occupied Belgium During World War I . It was directed by the financial financier Emile Francqui . The CNSA acted as a network by the international Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) could be distributed within Belgium itself.


Before the outbreak of World War I , Belgium. [1] With the German invasion in August 1914, the economic crisis created by the escalated invasion, the distribution of the food that was available to begin with. [1] In particular, the British Royal Navy began a four-year ” Blockade of Europe ” which, although aimed at Germany, also cut food supplies from the German-occupied countries . [2]

Foundation and operation of the CNSA

The Committee Was Established in September 1914, the German army Shortly after-occupied Brussels , under the name Rescue Central Committee and Food ( “Central Relief Committee and Food”). [3] It was supported by voluntary contributions from a small group of financial and notable businessmen, Including Ernest Solvay , Dannie Heineman and Emile Francqui . [4]

Initially, the Committee’s activity was restricted to the city of Brussels and its suburbs. [3] However, as the Germans extended their control in Belgium following the fall of the city of Antwerp in October 1914, and the threat of famine within Belgium increased, the Committee national”. [5] [3] The initial direction of the Committee was given to Francqui. [6] Francqui’s position as head of the Societe Generale de Belgique (“General Company of Belgium”), a giant semi-nationalized holdings company , has been appointed by the CNSA to a nationwide distribution network. [7]From the start, the Committee is organized into two sections: one responsible for providing and selling food and the other for charitable aid such as clothing. [3] Both sections of the CNSA have been highly decentralized and relied heavily on local committees across the country for much of their operations. [3]

As an American, and therefore a citizen of a neutral country, Heinemann used to find out about sources of food, which may be shipped to Belgium to resupply the populace. [6] The Committee ‘s Committee on Food Safety, The Committee’ s Committee on Food Safety and Food Safety. [5] The CNSA Was aussi icts supported in early activities by Charles Broqueville ‘s Belgian government in exile . [4]The logistical problems involved in co-ordinating the huge shipments of food to Belgium. [6] Francqui used his personal acquaintance with Herbert Hoover , future President of the United States, to create an external body to assist the management of the CNSA. Hoover became the director of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), and led successful attempts to raise money in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Belgium. [6]Because the CRB was officially an American organization, the CRB was also necessary to ensure that the food, once delivered to the CNSA, was not immediately seized by the Germans. The CRB also provides the international support needed to convince the British government to permit the shipments. [6] [3] Once received, the CRB was distributed to the CNSA’s network of 125,000 agents across the country. [8]

The CNSA continues to expand throughout the occupation. In April 1915, the German Government allowed the CNSA to extend icts operations to the occupied regions of northern France , under the auspices of a subcommittee called Expired the Northern Power Committee of France ( “Food Committee of Northern France”). [3] By 1918, the CNSA had distributed 3.4 billion Belgian francs ‘ worth of aid across Belgium. [3]


Postcard depicting the three patrons of the CNSA, who were all ambassadors of the countries of the world: Brand Whitlock (United States); the Marques of Villalobar (Spain); and Maurits van Vollenhoven (Netherlands).

The work of the CNSA during the war was considered extremely successful by contemporaries and modern historians alike. [1] Providing a network of food distribution, the CNSA and CRB managed to avoid a famine in Belgium during the occupation. Nevertheless, the CRB and CNSA were part of the same network, the CRB criticized the CNSA, holding it responsible for the occasional thefts of food by the Germans and providing inadequate security for the shipments. [9] The Belgian arm, however, felt under pressure from the CRB. In 1916, Francqui even petitioned the British to allow the CNSA to take full charge of the international network away from the CRB, but this appeal was dismissed because of the precarious CNSA position held within the occupied country.[9] Nevertheless, relations between the two bodies of the good good. [9]

The Committee also played an important political role. By providing good alternative year supply of food, the CNSA Prevented the German government of Belgium from being white reliable to use food as a bargaining tool to forces Belgians to work in war industries and Contributed to the passive resistance movement Within occupied Belgium. [10] However, the CNSA and CRB’s activities meant that the Germans had more than one million Germans and two million Frenchmen in their respective territories. the population of the occupied territories. [10]The Germans also exploited their deal to provide CNSA food shipments by seizing food produced in Belgium. [10]

The Belgian government in exile supported the CNSA, which they hoped, in the words of the Minister Michel Levie , would become an “underground parliament” and fulfill the day-to-day running of the Belgian state which the occupation made impossible for the official government to carry out. [11] Historians have also described the organization of the CNSA, with its central committee and local networks, and its activities such as 1917, providing the benefits of employment in the United States. of national unity. [8]


  1. ^ Jump up to:c Amara et al. 2004 , pp. 31-2.
  2. Jump up^ Amara et al. 2004, pp. 312.
  3. ^ Jump up to:h Amara et al. 2004 , pp. 32-3.
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Dumoulin 2005 , p. 101.
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Dumoulin 2005 , p. 102.
  6. ^ Jump up to:e Dumoulin 2005 , p. 103.
  7. Jump up^ Kurgan-van Hentenryk 1996, p. 122.
  8. ^ Jump up to:b Dumoulin 2005 , p. 105.
  9. ^ Jump up to:c Danielson 2012 , p. 158.
  10. ^ Jump up to:c Danielson 2012 , p. 157.
  11. Jump up^ Dumoulin 2005, p. 104-5.

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