British Blockade And WWII Food Shortage

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michael mills
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British Blockade And WWII Food Shortage

Post by michael mills » 23 Aug 2005 00:05

Proof please..

Or is it the same sort of blockade that the Nazis put around Britain with their surface raders and U boats 1939-1943?


Try reading the book "Starvation Over Europe", edited Boris Schub, published by the World Jewish Congress in 1943.

The book shows that Europe produced only 90% of its total food requirements, and relied on imports from overseas for the 10% shortfall. Those imports were cut off by the British naval blockade, which began as son as war broke out in 1939, resulting in drastic food shortages in German-occupied Europe.

Of course Germany tried to institute its own blockade of the British Isles by submarine warfare, just as it had in the First World War. However, that blockade could never be as effective as that mounted by the British Navy, which controlled all sea approaches to Europe, both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean (after the defeat of the Italian navy).

There were no convoys of merchant vessels guarded by warships bringing food to German-occupied Europe, which had to rely totally on its own resources.

There were only a few cases where the British blockade was obviated. The best-known one was the agreement between Germany and the Allies to allow food purchased abroad by Germany and the Vatican to be shipped to Greek ports to prevent mass starvation in Greece.

Another case was the food aid supplied to Poland by American relief comittees organised by Herbert Hoover. By agreement with the German authorities, 14% of that food aid was to go to the Jewish population of German-occupied Poland, ie a rate about double the percentage of the Jews in the total population of the German Zone of Occupation. That food aid was provided throughout 1940 and 1941, despite strenuous British protests to the United States Government. However, once the United States entered the war the food aid was cut off, resulting in a food shortage in Poland that was solved by the elimination of the Jewish population.

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Post by Molobo » 23 Aug 2005 00:43

However, once the United States entered the war the food aid was cut off, resulting in a food shortage in Poland that was solved by the elimination of the Jewish population.

I am afraid your attempt to blame Holocaust on cutting of American aid is rather incorrect.
The food shortage was made by Germans themselfs to destroy Jews and Poles:
http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/Frank.htm
The protocol of the conversation between Keitel and Hitler, which was dated 20 October 1939 and initialed by General Warlimont, regarding "The Future Shape of Polish Relations with Germany" provided in part as follows:

" (1) The Armed Forces will welcome it if they can dispose of Administrative questions in Poland. "On principle there cannot be two administrations." * * * * * * *
"( 3) It is not the task of the Administration to make Poland into a model province or a model state of the German order or to put her economically or financially on a sound basis. "The Polish intelligentsia must be prevented from forming a ruling class. The standard of living in the country is to remain low; we only want to draw labor forces from there. Poles are also to be used for the administration of the country. However the forming of national political groups may not be allowed.
"( 4) The administration has to work on its own responsibility and must not be dependent on Berlin. We don't want to do there what we do in the Reich. The responsibility does not rest with the Berlin Ministries since there is no German administrative unit concerned. "The accomplishment of this task will involve a hard racial struggle [Volkstumskampf] which will not allow any legal restrictions. The methods will be incompatible with the principles otherwise adhered to by us. "The Governor General is to give the Polish nation only bare living conditions and is to maintain the basis for military security." * * * * * * *
"( 6) * * * Any tendencies towards the consolidation of conditions in Poland are to be suppressed. The 'Polish muddle' [polnische Wirtschaft] must be allowed to develop. The government of the territory must make it possible for us to purify the Reich territory from Jews and Polacks, too. Collaboration with new Reich provinces (Posen and West Prussia) only for resettlements (Compare Mission Himmler). "Purpose: Shrewdness and severity must be the maxims in this racial struggle in order to spare us from going to battle on account of this country again." (864-PS)

Frank's own statements regarding the purposes of his administration in Poland should be considered in connection with the foregoing document. The economic and political responsibilities which had been conferred on Frank by Hitler, and according to which he "intended to administer Poland", were explained by Frank as follows in an interview that took place on 3 October 1939:

"Poland can only be administered by utilizing the country through means of ruthless exploitation, deportation of all supplies, raw materials, machines, factory installations, etc., which are important for the German war economy, availability of all workers for work within Germany, reduction of the entire Polish economy to absolute minimum necessary for bare existence of the population, closing of all educational institutions, especially technical schools and colleges in order to prevent the growth of the new Polish intelligentsia. 'Poland shall be treated as a colony ; the Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World Empire. ' " (EC-344-16 & 17)

Frank's diary makes it clear that the complete annihilation of Jews, in accordance with the racial program of the Nazi conspirators, was one of the objectives of his administration as Governor General. In the fall of 1940 Frank urged German soldiers to reassure their families in Germany with regard to the hardships of life in the General Government:

"In all theseweeks, they [i. e., your families] will be thinking of you, saying to themselves: My God, there he sits in Poland where there are so many lice and Jews, perhaps he is hungry and cold, perhaps he is afraid to write. * * * It would not be a bad idea then to send our dear ones back home a picture, and tell them: well now, there are not so many lice and Jews any more, and conditions here in the Government General have changed and improved somewhat already. Of course, I could not eliminate all lice and Jews in only one year's time (public amused). But in the course of time, and above all, if you help me, this end will be attained. After all, it is not necessary for us to accomplish everything within a year and right away, for what would otherwise be left for those who follow us to do?" (2233- C-PS).

Frank himself ordered that every Jew seen outside the Ghetto should be executed:

"Severe measures must and will be adopted against Jews leaving the Ghettos. Death sentences pending against Jews for this reason must be carried out as quickly as possible. This order according to which every Jew found outside the Ghetto is to be executed, must be carried out without fail." (2233-Q-PS)

When ways and means of meeting the food deficit in the General Government created by the increase in quotas to be requisitioned for export to Germany were discussed in August 1942, Frank approved a program which provided in part as follows:

"The feeding of a Jewish population, estimated heretofore at 1.5 million, drops off to an estimated total of 300,000 Jews, who still work for German interests as craftsmen or otherwise. For these the Jewish rations, including certain special allotments which have proved necessary for the maintenance of working capacity, will be retained. The other Jews, a total of 1.2 million, will no longer be provided with foodstuffs." (2233-E-PS)

Frank's concurrence was expressed in the following terms:

"That we sentence 1.2 million Jews to die of hunger should be noted only marginally. It is a matter of course that should the Jews not starve it would, we hope, result in speeding up anti-Jewish measures." (2233-E-PS)

At an official meeting of the political leaders of the NSDAP on 5 August 1942, Frank made the following progress report:

"What a dirty people made up of Jews swaggered around here before 1939! And where are the Jews today? You scarcely see them. If you see them they are working." (2233-V-PS)

In December 1941, Frank had pointed out that his administration could not shoot or poison all the three and a half million Jews in the General Government. He had promised, however, that he would be able to devise measures which would lead to their annihilation. Two years later, at a special press conference in January 1944, he was able to report that his mission was almost accomplished.

"At the present time we have still in the General Government perhaps 100,000 Jews." (2233~ F-PS)


. FRANK IMPOSED UPON THE POPULATION OF THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT A REIGN OF TERROR, OPPRESSION, IMPOVERISHMENT, AND STARVATION.

What had happened in the General Government in the first three and a half years of Frank's administration was summarized by Frank in a report to Hitler on the situation in Poland, dated 19 June 1943:

"In the course of time, a series of measures or of consequences of the German rule have led to a substantial deterioration of the attitude of the entire Polish people in the German Government. These measures have affected either individual professions or the entire population and frequently also-often with crushing severity-the fate of individuals. "Among these are in particular:
"l-The entirely insufficient nourishment of the population, mainly of the working classes in the cities, whose majority is working for German interests. "Until the war of 1939, its food supplies, though not varied, were sufficient and generally secure, due to the agrarian surplus of the former PoIish state and in spite of the negligence on the part of their former political leadership.
"2-The confiscation of a great part of the Polish estates and the expropriation without compensation and resettlement of Polish peasants from manoeuvre areas and from German settlements.
"3-Encroachments and confiscations in the industries, in commerce and trade and in the field of private property.
"4-Mass arrests and mass shootings by the German police who applied the system of collective responsibility.
"5-The rigorous methods of recruiting workers.
"6-The extensive paralyzation of cultural life.
"7-The closing of high schools, junior colleges, and universities.
"8-The limitation, indeed the complete elimination influence from all spheres of State administration. of Polish
"9-Curtailment of the influence of the Catholic Church, limiting its extensive influence -an undoubtedly necessary move-and, in addition, until quite recently, the closing and confiscation of monasteries, schools and charitable institutions." (437-PS)

In order to illustrate how completely Frank as Governor General is identified with the criminal policies whose execution is reported in the foregoing document, and the extent to which they were the official policies of his administration, it is proposed to annotate several of the items with passages from Frank's own diary.

(1) Undernourishment of Polish population. The extent of the undernourishment of the Polish population was reported to Frank in September 1941 by Obermedizinalrat Dr. Walbaum:

"Obermedizinalrat Dr. Walbaum expresses his opinion of the health condition of the Polish population. Investigations which were carried out by his department proved that the majority of Poles eat only about 600 calories, whereas the normal requirement for a human being is 2,200 calories. The Polish population was enfeebled to such an extent that it would fall an easy prey to spotted fever. The number of diseased Poles amounted today already to 40 %. During the last week alone 1000 new spotted fever cases have been officially r e c o r d e d. * * * If the food rations were to be diminished again, an enormous increase of the number of illnesses could be predicted." (2233-P-PS)

It was clear from this report that starvation was prevalent in the General Government. Nevertheless, in August 1942, Frank approved a new plan which called for much larger contributions of foodstuffs to Germany at the expense of the nonGerman population of the General Government. Methods of meeting the new quotas out of the already grossly inadequate rations of the General Government, and the impact of the new quotas on the economy of the country were discussed at a Cabinet meeting of the General Government on 18 August 1942 in terms which leave no doubt that not only was the proposed requisition far beyond the resources of the country, but its impact was to be distributed on a discriminatory basis.


Frank's opening remarks at this meeting defined the scope of the problem and its solution:

"Before the German people are to experience starvation, the occupied territories and their people shall be exposed to starvation. In this moment therefore we here in the General Government must also have the iron determination to help the Great German people, our Fatherland. . . . The General Government therefore must do the following: The General Government has taken on the obligation to send 500,000 tons bread grains to the Fatherland in addition to the foodstuffs already being delivered for the relief of Germany or consumed here by troops of the armed forces, Police or SS. If you compare this with our contributions of last year you can see that this means a six fold increase over that of last year's contribution of the General Government. The new demand will be fulfilled exclusively at the expense of the foreign population. It must be done cold-bloodedly and without pity; * * * " (2233-E-PS) .

President of the Main Department for Food and Agriculture Naumann (apparently an official of the General Government) then described how the reduced quantity of food available for feeding the population of the General Government should be distributed:

"The feeding of a Jewish population, estimated heretofore at 1.5 million, drops off to an estimated total of 300,000 Jews, who still work for German interests as craftsmen or otherwise. For these the Jewish rations, including certain special allotments which have proved necessary for the maintenance of working capacity, will be retained. The other Jews, a total of 1.2 miilion, will no longer be provided with foodstuffs.
"Non-German normal consumers will receive, from 1 January 1943 to 1 March 1943, instead of 4.2 kg. bread per month, 2.8 kg; from 1 March 1943 to 30 July 1943 the total bread ration for these non-German normal consumers will be cancelled.
"Those entitled to be supplied [ Versorgungsberechtigten] are composed as follows. We estimate that 3 million persons come into consideration as war workers, the A-and B-card holders and their kin, and that somewhat more than 3 mil lion persons are non-German normal consumers, who do not work directly or indirectly in the interests of Germany. The war workers, A-and B-card holders and their families, about 3 million persons, will however continue to be supplied, up to the harvest of 1943, at the prevailing rates." (2233-E-PS)

Naumann goes on to discuss the difficulties that may be encountered in the process of requisition:

"T h e securing of all depots and food processing plants, as well as their transport facilities must be assured, as otherwise irreplaceable losses result which mean a further burdening of the food budget. I have had maps made of all districts [Kreise] on which the depots have all been drawn in. I request that the necessary measures be taken on the part of the police and these depots, which are in the eye of the hungering masses, above all at times when the restrictions are carried out, should be strictly guarded, so that the meager supplies which we have until the new harvest should not be destroyed by sabotage or arson. . . . Finally it must be determined at the beginning of November whether the martial law for the harvest period, which has been proclaimed up to 30 November, must be extended to 30 December. Martial law for the harvest period has been extended to all products which are to be seized. The planned quota increase and reduction of ration quantities must be kept secret under all circumstances and may be published only at that time which the Main Department for Food and Agriculture considers proper. Should the reduction of ration quantities and the increase of quotas become known earlier, extremely noticeable disturbances in the seizure would take place. The mass of the Polish population would then go to the land and would become a supplementary competitor of our requisitioning agencies." (2233-E-PS)

Frank's concluding remarks summarized the position as follows:

"I must point out that some sectors of the administration will feel this very keenly. In the first place the police will feel this, for it will have to deal, if I may say so, with an increased activity of the black market and a neglect of food customs. I will gladly give the police extraordinary powers so that they can overcome these difficulties.
"The economy will feel it. The decrease of work rendered will become felt in all sectors, branches and regions. I also assume that our transport system will feel it too. In view of the worsening living conditions an extraordinary hardship will set in for railroad workers and other categories; as the previous quantities of food were already not enough. The monopolies will feel it through a decrease of their incomes, as the amounts of potatoes available for the production of vodka will be less.
"The Germans in this area shall not feel it. We wish in spite of this new plan to see to it that the supplies for Germans will be maintained. Also the Wehrmacht and other encamped units in this area shall not feel it. We hope that it will be possible for us to keep up the whole quotas here. "To help in this necessity there is a corresponding measure, namely that the supervision of persons traveling from the General Government to the Reich, above all of military personnel, in order to see whether they are taking food out of the General Government, should be suspended. This means that in addition to all that which we must now extract from the land economically, there must take place a complete removal of control over that which is dragged out of the land by thousands upon thousands-doubtless illegally and against our government measures." (2233-E-PS)

The extent of the General Government's food contribution to the Reich, and its significance in terms of rations within Germany were described by Frank at a meeting of political leaders of the NSDAP in December 1942 at Cracow:

"I will endeavor to get out of the reservoir of this territory everything that is yet to be got out of it. When you consider that it was possible for me to deliver to the Reich 600,000 tons of bread grain, and in addition 180,000 tons to the Armed Forces stationed here; further an abundance amounting to many thousands of tons of other commodities such as seed, fats, vegetables, besides the delivery to the Reich of 300 million eggs, etc.-you can estimate the significance of the consignment from the General Government of 600,000 tons of bread grain; you are referred to the fact that the General Government by this achievement alone covers the raising of the bread ration in the Greater German Reich by two-thirds during the present rationing period. This enormous achievement can rightfully be claimed by us." (2233-Z-PS)

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Post by David Thompson » 23 Aug 2005 02:03

There were no convoys of merchant vessels guarded by warships bringing food to German-occupied Europe, which had to rely totally on its own resources.

This is inaccurate. Until the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, the Germans could and did buy foodstuffs from the Soviet Union. Furthermore, until 1944 the Germans could import foodstuffs from Spain, Portugal and Turkey.

This article and the accompanying illustration are from the German propaganda magazine Signal, scanned from Signal: Hitler's Wartime Picture Magazine, Prentice-Hall, New York: 1976. The pages of this publication are not paginated. From the information shown on the map, the date of publication appears to be between August 1939 and April 1940 -- after the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact and before the invasion of Norway and Denmark.
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Post by iwh » 23 Aug 2005 16:45

michael mills wrote: However, once the United States entered the war the food aid was cut off, resulting in a food shortage in Poland that was solved by the elimination of the Jewish population.


This is a new angle for me....."the Holocaust was carried out because of a Europe wide food shortage caused by Allied blockades".

Why did Hitler ban all jews from leaving German controlled territories in October 1941, 2 months before The USAs entry into the War? Surely this would have solved any aledged food crisis in occupied Europe.

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Post by Mark V » 23 Aug 2005 18:41

10% shortfall is not much.

There was areas where food shortage appeared in German controlled Europe during WW2, but those were more because:
- priorities given to German population and Wehrmacht
- German occupation politics
- politics between independent countries in Axis sphere
- black-market and corruption of officials
- ineffeciency of rationing and collecting foodstuffs from producers
- passive resistance in areas that produced in excess of their own consumption
- loss of production because lack of manpower, horses, fertilizers and transportation means
- direct enemy intervention to transportation, storage and distribution
- timelag before particular areas shortfall could be corrected
- etc..

But overall during WW2 there was never an effective blockade of foodstuffs, like there was during WW1.

With Denmark, France, Balkans, trade routes to neutral countries, and warn-torn Ukraine participating - Europe under Germany could supply its need of foodstuffs. You just could not starve Germany that had its "back-door" open with naval blockade. Actually the faith that some British gave to blockade means of dealing with Germany very early during WW2 was an serious miscalculation.


Regards, Mark V

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Post by michael mills » 24 Aug 2005 01:08

If you browse through this exchange of views

http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopi ... c&start=15

you will find some interesting points by Ernesto Cernuschi about British blockade measures imposed on Italy before it actually entered the war in June 1940.

The point is that Britain imposed a blockade on Europe designed to prevent supplies reaching Germany through neutral states. Neutral states such as Spain were prevented from importing more than they needed for their own use, so as to prevent re-export to Germany.

Britain also undertook other measures against neutral countries, such as mining Norwegian territorial waters so as to deter the shipping of Swedish iron ore to Germany along the Norwegian coast.

It is true that Germany did not suffer the same food shortages that caused its Home Front to collapse during the First World War. But if you read the book I recommended, "Starvation Over Europe", you will understand why that was so. Germany simply satisfied its own food requirements from its own production and the production of the countries occupied by it, meaning that the burden of the 10% deficit in the total food supply of German-occupied Europe was diverted away from the German people and onto the peoples of the occupied countries.

Germany adopted a system of rationing the available food supply, ie the 90% of total requirements that could be produced within German-occupied Europe, based on the principle that other peoples would starve before the German people did. That principle in turn was derived from Germany's experience in the First World War, where its failure to ruthlessly exploit the territories it did occupy in Eastern Europe (in particular Ukraine from March to November 1918) resulted in starvation in German and more severely in its Austrian ally.

Not only did the food rationing system reserve available food supplies for the German people, so as to maintain its normal standard of nutrition, it also reserved food for population groups favoured by the German Government. The book "Starvation over Europe" shows that some peoples, eg the Danes and the Czechs, enjoyed a standard of nutrition equal to that of the German people and in some cases even better.

The other side of the coin was that less favoured groups received much lower rations. According to the book cited, the lowest rations were accorded to Jews and Greeks. It is understandable why Jews received the lowest ration, given their status as the most disliked people from the German Government's point of view, but it is hard to understand why the Greeks were equally disadvantaged. Perhaps that was a result of logisitical factors, and it is noteworthy that Germany cooperated with the Allies to supply food to the starving urban population of Greece.

Although a shortfall of 10% may not sound like much, it can be a matter of life and death when the burden of that shortfall is concentrated on a particular part of the population, ie if the available 90% is shared among, say, 97% of the total population of the blockaded area, giving it about 93% of its requirements, while the remaining 3% of the population receives nothing.

The crucial issue is that although theoretically Germany could import food from or through neutral countries such as Portugal, Spain, Turkey etc., Britain's command of the sea-approaches via the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meant that it could control imports by those neutral countries, reducing their ability to re-export to Germany.

Once Germany had occupied most of Europe, prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union, it became responsible for the feeding of that entire area, both itself, its allies, and the countries occupied by it. That is when the 10% food deficit of the European Continent (excluding the Soviet Union) really began to bite.

In short, one should not fantasise about large convoys of merchant ships arriving at Lisbon and Turkish ports loaded with food for Germany and its allies. That simply did not happen.

Much is made of the economic agreements between Germany and the Soviet Union of 1939, 1940 and 1941, which allowed Germany to import food and other raw materials, in particular oil, either from the Soviet Union itself or acquired by the Soviet Union from other countries for re-export to Germany.

However, it needs to be remembered that the Soviet union was not giving lend-lease aid to Germany. The three economic agreements were barter arrangements whereby the Soviet undertook to deliver fixed quantities of raw materials to Germany in exchange for Germany's delivery of fixed quantities of manufactured goods, including arms and other forms of war-production, to the Soviet Union.

It was very difficult for Germany to keep up with its deliveries, since they weakened Germany's own war-fighting capacity, and when they lagged the Soviet Union cut back its own deliveries in retaliation. For example, in the second half of 1940 Soviet deliveries were drastically cut back, on the excuse of Germany's tardiness with its deliveries, and they were not restored to their former level until the third economic agreement of early 1941. It is possible that the reason for the Soviet reduction of deliveries in 1940 was actually Stalin's shock at the unexpected sudden German victory in June of that year, and his resultant concern to weaken Germany.

The economic relationship between Germany and the Soviet Union prior to June 1941 was nothing like that between Britain and the United States, or Britian and its Commonwealth and Empire. Britain was never in a position where, in order to receive supplies of food and other raw materials, it had to divert a substantial part of its war production to a supplier that could well turn out to be hostile; it was always able to rely fully on its suppliers.

Finally, I would doubt that a German wartime piece of propaganda could be relied on to present a true picture of Germany's actual situation in the face of the British blockade.

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Post by Andy H » 24 Aug 2005 01:10

The book shows that Europe produced only 90% of its total food requirements, and relied on imports from overseas for the 10% shortfall. Those imports were cut off by the British naval blockade, which began as son as war broke out in 1939, resulting in drastic food shortages in German-occupied Europe
.

Well what a crying shame. Maybe the Germans should have thought about that before starting to occupy other countries.

Of course Germany tried to institute its own blockade of the British Isles by submarine warfare, just as it had in the First World War. However, that blockade could never be as effective as that mounted by the British Navy, which controlled all sea approaches to Europe, both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean (after the defeat of the Italian navy).


Yes the Vichy French ports in the Med provided Germany with a huge gateway for imported foodstuffs from French North Africa and further afield

In 1941 the French Med ports saw the following imports:-
17401 Live Animals
4,336 (metric tons) of meat
11,637 of Dairy Products
45,241 of Fish
409,986 of Cereals
697,624 of Fruit & Vegetables

and between Jan-Aug'42
5,551 Live Animals
1,980 of Meat
6,437 of Dairy Products
28,145 of Fish
275,509 of Cereals
597,463 of Fruit & Vegetables

Source: The Economic Blockade Vol II by WN Medlicott

However one must remember that these figures were dwarfed by the war materials Germany imported. So Germany had a choice between Food or war making materials. It chose the latter over food. Germany had the ability to provide enough food via other means but it decided that the shipping space would be used to import the materials to wage war.

Andy H

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Post by michael mills » 24 Aug 2005 02:59

I suggest that since the moderator has split off the above posts to a discussion specifically of the Allied blockade of German-occupied Germany, the thread should be transferred to the "Economy" section of the forum, since it is no longer war-crimes that are being dealt with.

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Post by Molobo » 24 Aug 2005 10:51

German Reich attempts to intentionally starve whole populations to death aren't war crimes Mills ?

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Post by Mark V » 24 Aug 2005 18:19

Andy,

Good point. I did forget French North-Africa. Before WW2 African continent was an significant food exporter.


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Post by Mark V » 24 Aug 2005 18:45

Hi Michael,

michael mills wrote:
The point is that Britain imposed a blockade on Europe designed to prevent supplies reaching Germany through neutral states. Neutral states such as Spain were prevented from importing more than they needed for their own use, so as to prevent re-export to Germany.


Which ofcourse forgets those countries own excess production, whether it is food or other products.


michael mills wrote:Germany simply satisfied its own food requirements from its own production and the production of the countries occupied by it, meaning that the burden of the 10% deficit in the total food supply of German-occupied Europe was diverted away from the German people and onto the peoples of the occupied countries.


To my memory Germany itself was not too far from self-sufficiency. What was exact figure ?? 80% 85% 90% ??

Ofcourse prewar statistics must be taken with grain of salt, because reality might be different when hundreds of thousands of workers and pull animals are take away from farms and fertilizers are scarce.

michael mills wrote:The book "Starvation over Europe" shows that some peoples, eg the Danes and the Czechs, enjoyed a standard of nutrition equal to that of the German people and in some cases even better.


Partly that was because Denmark atleast had huge excess of acricultural products. How an heck you could limit the calory intake of Danish farmer, his family and relatives in Copenhagen (and in small county - that is practically whole population) ??


michael mills wrote:The other side of the coin was that less favoured groups received much lower rations. According to the book cited, the lowest rations were accorded to Jews and Greeks. It is understandable why Jews received the lowest ration, given their status as the most disliked people from the German Government's point of view, but it is hard to understand why the Greeks were equally disadvantaged. Perhaps that was a result of logisitical factors, and it is noteworthy that Germany cooperated with the Allies to supply food to the starving urban population of Greece.

Although a shortfall of 10% may not sound like much, it can be a matter of life and death when the burden of that shortfall is concentrated on a particular part of the population, ie if the available 90% is shared among, say, 97% of the total population of the blockaded area, giving it about 93% of its requirements, while the remaining 3% of the population receives nothing.


You are talking about something else than me. My meaning is only that Europe did cope with its own during WW2 when foodstuffs are talked about.

You are talking about politics. And i won't go to that quagmire.


Regards, Mark V

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Post by David Thompson » 24 Aug 2005 19:02

Michael -- You wrote:
I suggest that since the moderator has split off the above posts to a discussion specifically of the Allied blockade of German-occupied Germany, the thread should be transferred to the "Economy" section of the forum, since it is no longer war-crimes that are being dealt with.

The topic is the food shortage in Nazi-occupied Europe. The issue is the extent to which it was attributable to the British blockade, and the extent to which it was attributable to Nazi policies of plunder and spoliation in the occupied territories.

The Annex to the Hague IV Convention - Laws and Customs of War on Land: 18 October 1907
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/hague04.htm

provides, in pertinent part (emphasis added):

Art. 46.
Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected.

Private property cannot be confiscated.

* * * * *

Art. 48.
If, in the territory occupied, the occupant collects the taxes, dues, and tolls imposed for the benefit of the State, he shall do so, as far as is possible, in accordance with the rules of assessment and incidence in force, and shall in consequence be bound to defray the expenses of the administration of the occupied territory to the same extent as the legitimate Government was so bound.

Art. 49.
If, in addition to the taxes mentioned in the above article, the occupant levies other money contributions in the occupied territory, this shall only be for the needs of the army or of the administration of the territory in question.

Art. 50.
No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.

Art. 51.
No contribution shall be collected except under a written order, and on the responsibility of a commander-in-chief.

The collection of the said contribution shall only be effected as far as possible in accordance with the rules of assessment and incidence of the taxes in force.

For every contribution a receipt shall be given to the contributors.

Art. 52.
Requisitions in kind and services shall not be demanded from municipalities or inhabitants except for the needs of the army of occupation. They shall be in proportion to the resources of the country, and of such a nature as not to involve the inhabitants in the obligation of taking part in military operations against their own country.

Such requisitions and services shall only be demanded on the authority of the commander in the locality occupied.

Contributions in kind shall as far as possible be paid for in cash; if not, a receipt shall be given and the payment of the amount due shall be made as soon as possible.

Art. 53.
An army of occupation can only take possession of cash, funds, and realizable securities which are strictly the property of the State, depots of arms, means of transport, stores and supplies, and, generally, all movable property belonging to the State which may be used for military operations.

All appliances, whether on land, at sea, or in the air, adapted for the transmission of news, or for the transport of persons or things, exclusive of cases governed by naval law, depots of arms, and, generally, all kinds of munitions of war, may be seized, even if they belong to private individuals, but must be restored and compensation fixed when peace is made.

* * * * *

Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.

Art. 56.
The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

All seizure of, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions of this character, historic monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings.

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 24 Aug 2005 21:47

Andy, I'm sorry but I cannot agree with what you wrote.
Of course the reasoning that Germany shouldn't have occupied countries that was unable to feed can be perfectly retorted against the Allies: you do know the hunger or even starvation suffered by Germany in 1945-46, or by Allied-occupied Italy in 1943-45 (more in 1943-44, when Southern Italy was separated from the surplus areas of the North, and the imports from overseas were still almost nihil).

About the "huge" figures of food imported from French North Africa, they were almost a drop in the sea, not counting the fact that they are not the net imports, but just the incoming goods: in other words, they do not count what instead was exported from France to N. Africa. Moreover, we don't know how much of them were directed to Vichy France or to Axis controlled Europe or to Switzerland.

I provide a few data from the "Calendario Atlante De Agostini - 1943", page 39, about the imports/exports of agricultural goods shortly before WW2 (the exact date is not told, but the data of this statistic yearbook are almost always for 1938 or 1939; you may note that sometimes the algebric total is not 0, I don't know why).
+ = import
- = export
data in thousands of metric tons

Product / Europe (less USSR) / Asia (less USSR) / USSR / Africa / N. America / S. America / Oceania
Wheat +9,470 / -290 / -850 / -140 / -5,120 / -1,650 / -2,460
Wheat Floor +300 / +500 / -60 / +240 / -550 / +60 / -590 (1 t of floor = 1,333 t of wheat)
Rye +570 / 0 / -200 / 0 / -110 / -10 / 0
Barley +1,860 / -330 / -220 / -10 / -720 / -280 / -10
Oats +610 / 0 / -10 / -10 / -80 / -420 / 0
Maize +7,810 / -590 / -200 / -420 / -3,490 / -2,760 / 0
Rice +1,210 / -2,170 / n.a. / +320 / +120 / +50 / 0
Sugar +2,660 / -1,280 / -130 / -200 / +560 / -340 / -1,340
Peanuts +1,910 / -1,040 / n.a. / -790 / 0 / 0 / 0
Soya +1,410 / -1,400 / n.a. / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0

As you may note, Europe was constantly importing food from pratically the whole world.


These were the percentages of yearly alimentary self-sufficency (autarchy) calculated by the Institut für Konjunkturforschung and provided by the same source of the aforementioned data.

Belgium 51
Bulgaria 109
Denmark 103
Finland 78
France 83
Great Britain 25
Germany 82-84
Greece 80
Ireland 75
Italy 95
Netherlands 67
Norway 43
Portugal 94
Romania 110
Spain 99
Sweden 91
Switzerland 47
Hungary 121

USSR 101

Japan 95

Canada 192
USA 91

Argentina 264
Brazil 96
Chile 93

Australia 214
New Zealand 173
Last edited by DrG on 25 Aug 2005 00:48, edited 1 time in total.

Molobo
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Post by Molobo » 24 Aug 2005 22:08

Of course the reasoning that Germany shouldn't have occupied countries that was unable to feed can be perfectly retorted against the Allies: you do know the hunger or even starvation suffered by Germany in 1945-46, or by Allied-occupied Italy in 1943-45 (more in 1943-44, when Southern Italy was separated from the surplus areas of the North, and the imports from overseas were still almost nihil).

There is a simple difference.Germany was the aggresor, Allies war the ones defending themselfs.Thus Germany made the choice for them, in contrast to countries that were the victims of German actions.

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 24 Aug 2005 22:25

Molobo, sometimes there aren't choices: aggression is the only way of changing a status quo perceive as unjust or unsecure or ..., expecially when the attacked is simply doing its best, backed by a couple of world powers, to provoke the attack. Your country, Poland, along with the USA and UK have given a perfect example of this historic rule attacking Iraq in 2003.

Anyway, believe whatever you want, my post was just to support Michael Mills' logic messages with some useful data; now I haven't the time anymore (as you may see from the vertical drop of the number of my posts in this forum in the last weeks), nor the will, of writing in this forum and even less of "debating" with people like you.

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