Surrounded by Belgian and American flags, schoolchildren from Laeken pose for the picture in 1915. The sign in the centre reads “Homage and gratefulness to generous America”. Humanitarian help provided by the United States during German occupation brought about many demonstrations of gratefulness and recognition. Millions of postcards, drawings and letters from children crossed the ocean during the war. Some were even direclty addressed to President Wilson. Mobilization responded to mobilization. From 1914 to 1917, the United States, militarily neutral, joined the cause to help “poor little Belgium”.
International engagement with Belgium was rooted in German invasion. The image of “barbarity” falling brutally on Belgian civilians in August 1914 upset public opinion. A large solidarity movement was created, the centre of which was the United States. The first big “food bridge” in history was created between Washington and Brussels.