How Great Britain coped with the food crisis during the First World War

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How Great Britain coped with the food crisis during the First World War

After the outbreak of the First World War, the participating countries faced a serious problem in terms of food supply for the population. Most of the resources, as expected in wartime, worked for the front.

At the same time, the situation was seriously aggravated by the fact that the Entente countries did not properly prepare for this war. Even when it began, at least in France and Great Britain they believed that the confrontation would not last long and would end in their victory.



Moreover, despite the fact that France suffered more from the fighting than Britain, the food crisis hit the United Kingdom much more significantly.

Actually, this is not surprising. The island nation of Great Britain has always been heavily dependent on external supplies, which were disrupted during the First World War. In particular, England depended on food imports, especially fats and meat, from Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the British were forced to import feed for their cows and import vegetables.

As the war dragged on, public pressure and moral agreement to fix food prices became less effective. As a result, Great Britain, which had been a world leader in free enterprise and private trade, was faced with the need for government intervention in regulating prices and food distribution.

Moreover, the war turned out to be an unprofitable business for industrialists, since it disrupts the usual chains and forecasting of demand. Private capital refused to invest in agriculture due to the uncertainty of the prospects.

Ultimately, the British authorities had to take measures that were unpopular for the British, which, however, in the long run made it possible to avoid famine and social catastrophe in the country.

In particular, Britain began to attract women into agriculture to expand food production and increase the labor force, which was in short supply due to the conscription of men into the army. In turn, food was declared the number two strategic priority after the production of shells.

Another effective method was the introduction of laws to regulate farming activities, since moral influence practically ceased to work during the war. As a result, it came to the point that in order to slaughter livestock, the farmer had to obtain a separate permit. To extradite the latter, priests were brought in, who began to play the role of minor officials, regulating the slaughter of livestock and the sale of meat.

At the same time, it was extremely difficult for farmers to hide something from the state apparatus. Police functions were entrusted to the citizens themselves, which became the reason for widespread “informing.”

City residents began to grow vegetables in flower beds and local areas in order to reduce logistics costs and provide themselves with fresh food. At the same time, strict economy of resources, including food, was introduced.

Finally, the notorious British black humor at literally all levels became widespread in England during the First World War. This is how the inhabitants of Foggy Albion coped with the colossal moral pressure caused by the global conflict.
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7 comments
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  1. 0
    January 21 2024
    Yes, they plundered their numerous colonies, that’s all. Of course, German submarines interfered, but incomparably less than in World War II, and aviation in general was still in its infancy.
    1. 0
      January 21 2024
      Well, you know better than the people who have studied the issue.
      1. 0
        January 21 2024
        Quote: Cartalon
        Well, you know better than the people who have studied the issue.

        There is no need to open your mouth and look at everything that YouTube broadcasts. Normal authors have been blocked there for a long time.
        But to put it simply, during World War II the food situation in England was significantly worse. They plowed almost the entire island, not like the beds on the royal lawn.
        Our liberals are very fond of talking about the difficult fate of peasants under Stalin, workdays, lack of a passport, so in England everything was about the same, only city dwellers were still forcibly sent to the villages without the right to leave. But this all happened during the Second World War.
        1. +2
          January 21 2024
          I trust the authors from Tactic Media more than local commentators, and there is a lot of information about agriculture in England during WWII, but here’s a video about WWII
          1. -1
            January 21 2024
            Quote: Cartalon
            I trust authors from Tactic Media more than local commentators

            "Do not make yourself an idol".
            The authors from Tactic Media are real people and sometimes talk all sorts of nonsense with a smart look.
        2. 0
          January 21 2024
          In general, no, it was not worse, because during World War II they were no longer critically dependent on food supplies.
          1. -1
            January 26 2024
            Quote: Kronos
            World War 2 was no longer critically dependent on food supplies.

            Of course, they didn’t freeze... And cards for all products except bread were introduced just like that)

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