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“The Psychological Marshall Plan”: Displacement, Gender, and Human Rights after World War II

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2011

Tara Zahra
University of Chicago


In 1940, Howard Kershner, director of European relief for the American Friends Service Committee, was stationed in Vichy France, where Quakers were organizing relief for refugees. He had witnessed any number of wartime atrocities in his years of service during the Spanish Civil War, including violence directed at civilians, bombings, starvation, and disease. Now he added a new item to the litany of wartime suffering: “One of the greatest tragedies of all times is the separation of families in Europe today: wives in one country, husbands in another, with no possibility of reunion and often no means of communication; babies who have never seen their fathers; scattered fragments of families not knowing if their loved ones are living or dead, and often without hope of ever seeing them again. There are multitudes of wretched souls for whom it seems the sun of hope has set.”

Copyright © Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association 2011

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