Food shortages and malnutrition were two vexing problems which very nearly scuttled the delicate postwar peace in occupied Germany. During the winter of 1946/47 in what has been called “The Potato War,” starving German civilians were forced to raid the countryside searching for food to supplement their meager rations. This situation was a distinct embarrassment for the occupation, particularly since the formation of Bizonia (the union of the British and American zones of occupation) in January 1947 was heralded as a positive step toward economic revitalization. This paper is an attempt to assess the role nutrition and food procurement played in the occupation of postwar Germany. What policies guided the feeding of millions of German civilians? How did the crisis influence American and British occupation authorities? What effect did this semi-starvation diet have on the Germans population? These and other questions will be addressed.
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