Calories per day

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DrG
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Calories per day

Post by DrG » 09 Jan 2004 01:28

Does anybody know the average calories (real and/or with ration cards)per day for each year of WW2 in European countries, Japan, China and the USA? Of course data about pre-War and post-War years would be appreciated, just for comparison.

For Italy I've found these data about the daily average calories of ration cards:
1936/40 2,642
1941 2,269
1942 2,238
since 1943 they dropped dramatically (I don't know exact data)
1945/46 1,737 (after the end of the war)

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Post by Jon G. » 27 Feb 2005 19:46

An old thread, but I've found some info to at least partially reply to the questions posed.

German average rations, set at the outbreak of war were 2700 calories per day, as expressed by what you would get from using ration cards only. However, the scale was graduated, so that eg. pregnant women and people with hard or very hard work would get more (the latter group getting 4650 calories per day; only about 2% of the population was eligible for the highest ration bracket)

These rations were mirrored for Holland and Bohemia-Moravia, whereas Norway, Belgium, France and Italy would average about 2000 calories per day, still only counting what a person was eligible to receive from ration cards only. Eastern Europe was worse off, averaging about 1500 calories per day.

Black marketing was rife; in better-fed areas the black market would center mostly around trade with ration cards, but in areas that were worse off (parts of France, for example), the commodities themselves were the chief black market objects. For example, a pound of butter could be purchased in the occupied part of France in 1942 for three times the official ration card price, a good sign that there was not always coverage for the cards that were issued.

As an example of black market goods that weren't covered by ration cards schnapps could be bought legally in Norway for 6,50 kroner/ltr. but on the black market the same product in the same quantity would fetch 100 kroner, or about 15 times as much. In Germany a kilo of black market coffee cost 40 RM in 1940-1941; in 1944-1945 this price had multiplied by 20.

The situation in particularly occupied Europe deteriorated as the war progressed. Especially in Holland's cites did the situation get critical due to the Dutch railroad strike which started at the same time as the Arnhem landings and lasted to the end of the war; in the cities rations dropped to as little as 460 calories per day. Public soup kitchens and a Swiss-Swedish relief mission averted complete starvation.

Also the Soviet Union experienced total rationing. The loss of Ukraine and drought in all war years meant that the agricultural production dropped to about 2/5 of 1940 levels. Average rations were 1500 calories, but as in Germany, people with hard and very hard work were entitled to larger rations, averaging out above 3000 calories per day. Also, the black market was legalized to a degree, and farmers were allowed to sell their products at market prices at kolkhos-markets. Price levels there were about 15 to 18 times higher than official ration card prices.

Germany enforced total rationing already at the outbreak of war, whereas rationing only came gradually in Great Britain, and items such as bread, vegetables and fish were not rationed at first. Switching to vegetabile production and cutting back on pastoral agriculture meant that while Britain - always dependant on food imports - needed 22,5 million tons of shipping for food transport per year at the outbreak of war could make do with just 6 million tons by 1943.

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 04 Jun 2005 15:28

According to Angela Raspin's excellent "The Italian War Economy 1940-1943", pages 305-306, the Italian rations were lower than I've previously stated:
Angela Raspin wrote:The Italian diet had been poor even before the war. The UNRRA mission in Italy calculated on the basis of ration cards issued in southern and central Italy that average rations, allowing that is for rations issued to normal consumers, to children and adolescents and to heavy workers, gave 1,155 calories per diem in December 1941, 1,052 in December 1942 and 970 calories in june 1943. By March 1945, the weighted average ration stood at only 740 calories. [note 1: UNRRA European Regional Office, Operational Analysis Papers. No.22. February 1947.] Ration tables do not however give a full picture of food distribution because the Italian Government never succeeded in fully controlling the food stocks.
The UNRRA Italian mission estimated that there were 35,300,000 holders of ration cards and 11 million people, farmers, their families and labourers who were outside the bread rationing system and consumed their own produce. [note 2: ibid] In principle the self suppliers were supposed to keep back a proportion of the harvest, 3 quintals per head, reduced to 2 quintals in August 1940, and 2 quintals of seed corn per hectare. [note 3: NARS. T77. R582. p.1762179. Confidential agent report to Wi Ru Amt. February 1941.] Average consumption of all Italians in 1941 was 1.43 quintals per head. 4,218,000 tons were ammassed from the harvest of 1939. From the 1940 harvest, the amount ammassed dropped to 3,495,000 tons and never rose above 47% of the total harvest. [note 4: Appendix 3.] In 1942-43, 1,912,000 tons of wheat and 528,000 tons of maize were legally withheld for family consumption by the producers and a further 617,000 tons of maize was witheld for fodder consumption. [note 1: Annuario dell'Agricoltura 1939-42.] The result was price inflation and the growth of significant black market in food.


Appendix 3

Wheat and Maize transferred to the Ammassi in 1,000 quintals

[years] 1937-38 / 1938-39 / 1939-40 / 1940-41 / 1941-42 / 1942-43
Wheat: 39,713 / 41,333 / 42,108 / 34,951 / 33,801 / 31,250
Maize: [note 4] / [note 4] / 4,921 / 9,817 / 7,737 / 5,635

[note 4: compulsory amassing of maize was introduced for the harvest of 1939]

Source: Annuario 1944. I. p.54-55

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Post by Bronsky » 17 Aug 2005 19:06

Shrek wrote:An old thread
Indeed, but not uninteresting.

The average German allocation was 3000 calories prewar. This dropped to 2078 calories in 1942/3 (ration periods 41-53), then 1981 calories 1943/4 (ration periods 54-66), then 1671 calories 1944/5 (ration periods 67-79) then 1412 calories 1945/6 (ration periods 80-92). Ration periods seem to be for 4 weeks (13 to a year) starting in September 1939. Which makes ration period 67 October 1944.

Yet another set, from Kuczynski's "Geschichte der Lage der Arbeiter in Deutschland" for calories of distributed rations:

1939-40: 3,165
1940-41: 3,295
1941-42: 3,620
1942-43: 3,510
09/44 to 01/45: 2,828.

Kuczynski is real unlikely to cut Nazi Germany any slack (the book was published in Berlin in 1956), so I would expect that his relatively high figures include food imports from occupied Europe. Anyway, there they are.

Food rations in German-occupied Europe was much lower, and the food ration of the average Soviet citizen was lowest.

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Post by Jon G. » 19 Aug 2005 02:44

Bronsky wrote:Kuczynski is real unlikely to cut Nazi Germany any slack (the book was published in Berlin in 1956), so I would expect that his relatively high figures include food imports from occupied Europe. Anyway, there they are.
The significantly lower figure I state is what one average German (excluding members of the Wehrmacht, whose rations were higher) would get if he kept it legal and covered all his needs by ration cards. Unlike eg. Britain, German rationing was total right from the onset of war, no doubt due to lessons learned in WWI.

I would assume that food imports would largely enter the legal economy, and therefore be part of the average ration.

Reasons why Kuczynski's numbers deviate on the high side (those are pretty lavish rations) could be a) that he has measured up all food stocks in calories and divided by number of Germans, which would be an odd approach, or b) that his averages include Wehrmacht rations, or even c) that he has incorporated black market food sales in his averages.

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Re: Calories per day

Post by David Thompson » 07 Aug 2008 16:56


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