Vernon Lyman Kellogg


Photo: C.P.I., National Archives at College Park

American entomologist and evolutionary biologist­, involved in aiding post-war Europe. He was born in the city of Emporia, Kansas. His father – Lyman Beecher Kellogg – was ­president of the ­Kansas State Normal School and formerly state attorney general. Vernon Kellogg studied at the University of Kansas and in Leipzig­. From 1894 to 1920 he taught at Stanford University, and among his students was future US President Herbert Hoover.

After the outbreak of World War I he participated in the activities of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (1915–16). Contacts with German officers convinced him of the need for the United States to join the war, for which he began to lobby. Upon his return to the United States, he formed the National Research Council, whose purpose was to provide scientific support for the wartime activities of the country’s institutions.

In January 1919, on Herbert Hoover’s recommendation, he went to Poland as the head of the Polish mission within the ­United States Food Administration­, with the task of identifying the needs of Polish society. ­At the same time, he became involved in political negotiations leading to the establishment of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski government.

Kellogg is the author of numerous scientific works and textbooks. He described his wartime experiences in such books as Headquarters Nights. A Record of Conversations and Experiences at the Headquarters of the German Army in France and Belgium (1917) and Herbert Hoover. The Man and His Work (1920).


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1917. Vernon Kellogg. Photo: Harris & Ewing, Library of Congress, LC-H261- 9308 [P&P]

Paderewski, Pilsudski and Poland

Today the Allies have recognized New Poland – which is only old Poland less a considerable part of its ancient eastern territory – as an independent, self-governing state. Poland is no longer Russian Poland, Austrian Poland, and German Poland; she is just – and justly – Poland. Which is not to say that everything is settled concerning the extent and delimitation of her territory. Far from it. For example, her ideas and Germany’s differ radically about what is Poland and what is Germany; so radically. […].

[…] Poland has had her internal difficulties. She has had a new government to form, a starving population to feed, a half million unemployed workmen to support and keep out of mischief, a paid, imported Bolshevist propaganda working persistently among these starving and idle people to struggle against, and a constant effort to obtain assistance and support in her time of stress to maintain. Released from the control of Russia, Austria, and Germany, Poland was still unrecognized by that America and those Allies, which had promised her freedom, as a country or a people really free and really desperately in need of assistance. […]

Here […] begins my little story. […] It is simply a short story of the present day, the present moment, even; a story of three P’s – Paderewski, Pilsudski, and Poland since the armistice. Paderewski is the modern great Polish patriot and inspirer of Polish national enthusiasm; Pilsudski is the modern great military hero of Poland; and Poland since the armistice is the Poland that fills the eye now to the obscurity of the Poland of glorious history before the partitions and of pathetic interest through its long years of subjugation. […]

Poland under Russia, Austria, and Germany was really always Poland; the Polish national spirit has always existed. And there have always been Polish patriots, active in the measure possible to them, to lead forlorn hopes and secret enterprises against the oppressor. […]

Pilsudski believed that Russia was the greatest enemy of Poland – and acted on that belief. […] But anyway, Pilsudski’s opportunity came with the war. He could fight in the open against Russia and he could get other Poles to fight with him. He organized the Polish legions of the Austrian army. […]

When the war ended it was only natural that the leader of the principal body of Polish soldiers, and the man who had always been the leader of Polish attempts against the Great Oppressor should become the first head of new Poland. So Pilsudski became Chief of State and Commander in-Chief of the Polish army. But Pilsudski was a socialist; an extreme socialist. And he gathered about him a cabinet of Socialists, some of them also extreme socialists. […]

But the Allies could not recognize the Pilsudski government. […]

The thing of importance for new Poland that happened was the arrival of Paderewski, the second P. […] Paderewski had been the central figure in the important efforts made all through the war by the four million Poles in America to aid in all possible ways their countrymen in Poland. The sending of great sums of money for their relief and the organization and sending over of the Polish legions recruited in America to fight with, the French Army were largely the results of Paderewski’s inspiration and untiring efforts. […]

When Paderewski came on from Posen to Warsaw the open places and streets about the station could not hold the hundred thousand people who welcomed him. […] When Paderewski returned to Warsaw he began a series of conversations with the Socialist Chief of State which had for principal subject the pressing necessity of a reorganization of the government to the end not only of creating a better internal political situation but also of obtaining the confidence of the outside world, in particular of the Allies and America, so that Poland could obtain the formal recognition which was essential to the extending of aid to her starving people, her comatose industries, and her unarmed, unclothed, and unshod soldiers struggling against Ruthenians, Bolsheviki, and Germans. […]

Another thing that was attracting the attention of the public […] was the presence of the American Food Mission. Some of the members of the mission were in the uniform of officers of the American Army. That was interesting in itself. The mission was holding daily conferences with the government ministers and officials especially concerned with the ravitaillement of Poland. […]

One point in all the negotiations was emphasized. It was a suggestive point. It was plainly indicated that no food could come from America or the Allies on a wholesale scale if there was any serious danger that it could not be properly controlled […]. This all meant that food relief – imperatively needed to keep Poland alive and free from that push of misery that meant revolution and Bolshevism – could only be hoped for in the presence of a government so truly representative and so universally accepted by the people that it could be relied on by America and the Allies to keep order and maintain a safe control of the imported food stuffs. […]

New Poland is not beyond its troubles […]. Only a few weeks ago the first American food ships landed in Danzig, and the first trainload of American food started for Warsaw. The clothing and shoes and munitions for the Polish soldiers are going forward from Allied stocks. But, even better, the Allies are energetically trying to prevent the necessity of any further fighting and dying by Poland’s sons. The day is bright for new Poland. The work has been well done by Poland’s two great men of the moment. May all of new Poland’s hopes come true. It has been a long hard waiting for the beginning of the realization of these hopes.

source: Kellogg, Vernon. “Paderewski, Pilsudski, and Poland. Two Patriots Who Sank Their Political Differences to Save Their Country”, The World’s Work v. 38, 1919.