Letter: The peaceful invasion of 1945

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Sir: Lord Ennals' letter (13 June) reminds us that next year will be the 50th anniversary of the UN. It will also be the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration's (UNRRA) entry into Europe.

Established in Washington in 1943, with representatives from 44 members of the embryonic UN, the aim of UNRRA was to set up a temporary relief organisation to help countries devastated by the war. This second dramatic, but peaceful, 'invasion' of Europe began early in 1945. Claiming to have been 'the first international relief agency in world history' UNRRA provided huge supplies of food, technical equipment and personnel, and played a large part in the relief and resettlement of thousands of displaced people.

It can be argued that the UNRRA operation was not simply crucial to Europe's survival, but the essential first step to Europe's later prosperity. What is extraordinary is that UNRRA, and the part it played in the history of the war, seem to have been completely forgotten.

Yours faithfully,


London, N6