HistoryWired About the Program Help Comments Smithsonian Institution
back
CARE

Celebrities, beginning with President Truman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., helped raise contributions for CARE from 35 million Americans. Originally, CARE packages contained surplus foodstuffs from the military, but after Army rations ran out in 1947, CARE assembled its own packages, typically containing several tinned meats; eight ounces of powdered eggs; a pound each of lard, apricot preserves, honey, and raisins; and two pounds each of margarine, sugar, powdered milk, and coffee. Food companies made donations of their products, but CARE bought most of these supplies and paid for their shipment. Individuals placed orders by mailing a $15 "remittance" (a check or money order) to CARE's headquarters in New York. Packages were assembled in Philadelphia, shipped overseas, and delivered locally by any means of conveyance. When a recipient received the gift, a signed receipt returned to the sender within 120 days.

After 1954, much of the food came from government-run agricultural surplus programs. CARE broadened its mission during the 1960s, training Peace Corps volunteers and carrying out vaccinations and family planning, school-building, reforestation, and farming programs. As the famine threat subsided, CARE packages included books and blankets, tools, and knitting supplies. CARE even managed to send x-ray machines and iron lungs from its larger donors. The food package program ended in 1967 as CARE switched to other means of shipping commodities, though it renewed the classic "CARE package" occasionally, most recently in the former Soviet republics and in Bosnia. Since 1946, CARE's staff members, now numbering more than 9,000, have worked in 121 countries and provided more than $7 billion in assistance to about one fifth of the world's population.

 


Postwar United States

Although World War II ended in 1945, lingering antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union continued in the Cold War. This war of threats and gestures sometimes turned "hot"--in Korea and Vietnam, during the Berlin airlift and the Cuban missile crisis, and in "Superpower" interventions all around the world. The Vietnam War was especially significant. The war demonstrated the power of U.S. public opinion in reversing foreign policy. It tested the democratic system to its limits. And it left scars on American society that have not yet fully healed.

But there was more to the era following World War II than just the Cold War. Many remarkable changes took place in American society and culture during the 1950s and 1960s. The postwar economic boom produced mighty changes in American education, in consumer culture, in suburbanization, and in the return to domesticity for many women. It also transformed the character of corporate life, the role of technology, and the sexual and cultural mores of the country. All of this would culminate in the third great reform impulse in American history and the civil rights and feminist movements. This reinvigoration of New Deal liberalism and its gradual exhaustion in the 1970s continued the debate over government's responsibilities and the quest for social and economic equality. It is a debate that still preoccupies the American people.

 


USS Lake Champlain

Named after a battle in the War of 1812, the USS Lake Champlain was commissioned in June 1945 and returned veterans back to the United States at the end of the Second World War. After modernization and a stint in the Korean War, the USS Lake Champlain was converted into an antisubmarine carrier (CVS-39) in 1957. The USS Lake Champlain was involved in recovering Alan Sheppard and Freedom 7 after the spacecraft landed in the ocean. It was also used during the quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and hurricane relief in Haiti. She was decommissioned on May 2, 1966. [From the "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations," Naval History Division, Washington.]

 

Related Images

Contents of the CARE package
Enlarge
Contents of the CARE package
Contents being removed from the CARE package when it was opened in 1995
Enlarge
Contents being removed from the CARE package when it was opened in 1995
This package was never sent overseas, but was used for demonstration purposes at CARE headquarters.
Enlarge
This package was never sent overseas, but was used for demonstration purposes at CARE headquarters.
The package was still sealed when it was donated by CARE
Enlarge
The package was still sealed when it was donated by CARE


Start HistoryWired | About the Program | Help | Comments

Smithsonian Institution | Terms of Use | Privacy