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Sharing Scarcity: Bread Rationing and the First World War in Berlin, 1914-1923

Keith Allen
Journal of Social History
Vol. 32, No. 2 (Winter, 1998), pp. 371-393
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3789666
Page Count: 23
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Sharing Scarcity: Bread Rationing and the First World War in Berlin, 1914-1923
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Abstract

This essay examines the rationing of bread stuffs in Berlin during the First World War. Through analysis of the bureaucracy, labor, commerce, women's groups, and the consumer public, it argues that Germany's civilian war effort was more successful than historians have hitherto allowed. While Germany's soldiers lost on the battlefield, her bureaucrats won on the home front with a subtle combination of patriotic appeal, collective bargaining, voluntary assistance, and material concessions. Policies that demanded great sacrifices were never popular, and were often challenged. However, despite well-documented setbacks, municipal rationing authorities successfully diffused tensions produced by the first global conflict.

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