I have always had an interest in World War II history since I was born just before it ended and hearing the war stories my father’s friends would tell.
I just ran across a World War II story that I did not know.
By 1945, Holland, under German occupation, was starving. The situation was so dire that, for a moment, a truce was called between Germany and the Allies to perform two of the most heartwarming operations of the entire war: Operations Manna and Chowhound.
Agents negotiated with a team of German officers who agreed to allow the bombers to pass without fire. Bomber units and squadrons put their bombing missions on hold, left their weapons behind, and instead filled their Lancasters, Mosquitos, and Flying Fortresses with packages of food to drop over German-occupied Holland.
The RAF Operation Manna took place from April 29th-May 7th and was quickly followed by the American Operation Chowhound from May 1st-8th (Betty was born on May 4th during this humanitarian operation). Germany surrendered on May 8th.
Together, a total of 11,000 tons of food – packages of canned and dried goods, cheese, and chocolate – were dropped to the 3 million starving people.
These humanitarian missions saved countless lives. Members of the bomber crews, in interviews, have expressed how good it made them feel to be dropping something that would help people rather than something that would kill people. While war is absolutely brutal, sometimes the good shines through.