Abstract

French food rationing was more stringent than that of any other Occupied country in Western Europe in the Second World War, and the nation's resulting aversion to a regime that controlled rations and prices would increase the difficulties of post-war governments. This article investigates the role of French state management in wartime food shortages, assessing the parts played by French policy and German interference in the food shortages, the diversion of supplies to the black market and the inequities in distribution. It finds the French rationing administration to have been poorly organized, but attributes significant responsibility to the German Occupation authorities, whose interference increased the rationing system's dysfunction. French consumers blamed the French state for the problems and relied increasingly on alternate means to supplement inadequate rations. The result was a rationing system that delivered malnourishment, social division and hostility to state management of the food supply.

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