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The occupiers' burden: tackling food shortage and related health problems in post-war Germany 1945-47

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Version 2 2024-06-03, 22:18
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posted on 2024-06-03, 22:18 authored by F Slaveski
The end of the Second World War brought much relief to its combatants, but a range of problems remained that would plague post-war Europe for years to come. Chief among them was food shortage. The breakdown of agricultural systems, essential services, and the state itself laid fertile ground for food shortage to develop in parts of post-war Germany occupied by the victorious powers. There is much to be gained from comparing the occupiers’ responses to this Horseman of the Apocalypse. The most fruitful comparison lies between the Soviets and British. Unlike the Americans whose economic might in the post-war period allowed them to better feed and supply Germans living in their occupation zone, domestic economic weaknesses hamstrung both Soviet and British responses to the more severe advent of food shortage which confronted them. Their responses were very different—some successful, others not—but all instructive for understanding the impacts of natural and policy factors on the development of food shortage and the consequences to the health of the population. The variety of these impacts have been obscured by the absence of this comparison in the literature, which is now made more feasible by the greater availability of the extensive resources that each occupier devoted to recording food and health data, particularly in the Soviet case. The data is not only relevant to the occupation period from 1945 to 1949, as it suggests long-term health impacts on those most exposed to the risk of food shortage then, and most at risk to the consequences of malnutrition decades later. In fact, as the available data defines regional differences in food rations and, accordingly, comparative food shortages in Soviet and British occupation zones, the situation in post-war Germany provides an excellent platform for future research linking differences in early nutrition to adult health outcomes.

History

Chapter number

9

Pagination

187-206

Open access

  • Yes

ISBN-13

9781624171291

Language

eng

Publication classification

B1.1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2013, Nova Science Publishers

Extent

9

Editor/Contributor(s)

Lumey L, Vaiserman A

Publisher

Nova Science Publishers

Place of publication

New York, N.Y.

Title of book

Early life nutrition and adult health and development: lessons from changing dietary patterns, famines, and experimental studies

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