United States Red Cross: Inter-War Era (1920s and 30s)

Figure 1.-- 'Going to eat hearty this evenin' grinned these small boys, as they shouldered Red Cross rations up to Betsy Lane camp, Floyd County, in the mountains of Kentucky. The area was hit by drought in 1930/31. The Red Cross chapter took the supplies up by truck load, as the community is very isolated, and starvation threatened its inhabitants. Photographer: Lewis Wickes Hine.

After World war I, the Red Cross focused on service to the returning veterans. The Red Cross set up a National Children's Fund to aid youth people in war devestated Europe (1919). Red Cross aids thousands of earthquake and fire victims in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan (1923). One of the major disasters during the inter-War era was the Mississip River floods (1927). Following weeks of heavy rainfall, one of the important levees broke along the Mississippi River beginning a flood that would eventually cover 27,000 square miles. Red Cross relief efforts lasted 5 months. A much larger disaster occurred on the southern Plains with the appearance of the Dust Bowl. The Red Cross began distribution of government surplus wheat and cotton products to victims of drought in the Dust Bowl (1932). The Dust Bowl would covered more than five states including Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The Junior Red Cross raised funds to help victims of fires, floods and tornados and to support Native American schools in the Southwest. The Depression created a whole new set of needs for the organization (1930s). The Junior Red Cross members distributed surplus wheat and cotton, collected clothing and food and canned fruits and vegetables. Both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army attempted to help, but the needs were far beyound the resources of these and other charitable organizations. Massive Federal Government relief effots were implemented and continued for years. Meanwhile the Red Cross expanded programs in safety training, accident prevention, home care for the sick, and nutrition education.


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Created: 4:00 AM 11/10/2013
Spell checked: 10:02 PM 11/10/2013
Last updated: 10:02 PM 11/10/2013