Scope and Content

Abstracts of German books and articles, mainly on prices, wages and food andtextiles supply, written by Mrs Bosanquet for the Foreign IntelligenceSection of the Ministry of Food, with related correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

German food supplies in World War I 1914 - 1918

During World War I the German War Food Administration imposed regulations forthe distribution of food. The first regulation came in October 1914 when itwas ordered that grain was not to be ground into flour beyond a prescribedpercentage, and that a fixed percentage of ersatz stuffs was to be mixed withthe flour (e.g. potatoes, turnips etc). A rationing system was put in place inJanuary 1915. Initially it related to bread but it was followed by otheressential foodstuffs. By 1918 German livestock had decreased and grainproduction had decreased to less than half of the yields of pre-war years.

British food supplies in World War I

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War the German Navy engaged insubmarine warfare to hinder the flow of imports to Britain by introducingunrestricted submarine warfare. By the end of 1916, German U- boats were onaverage destroying about 300,000 tons of shipping a month. In February 1917,the German Navy sank 230 ships bringing food and other supplies to Britain.The following month a record 507,001 tons of shipping was lost as a result ofthe U-boat campaign. However, Britain increased food production and the wheatharvest of 1917 was reported to be the best in British history.

At the end of 1917 panic buying led to shortages. In January 1918 theMinistry of Food decided to introduce rationing. Sugar was the first to berationed and this was later followed by butchers' meat.


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