One of the reasons for the February 1917 revolution was problems with the delivery of grain to St. Petersburg. It is interesting to see how our opponents ate. Let me remind you that Germany waged war on two fronts.
Because of the massive famine, the winter of 1916–17 was called Steckrübenwinter “Brücken Winter”. Rutabaga was nicknamed the “Hindenburg Tub” in honor of the Chief of General Staff, Paul von Hindenburg. Before the war, Germany imported almost a third of its foodstuffs from abroad and was the largest importer of agricultural products in the world. With the beginning of the war in 1914, the UK imposed an embargo on Germany and effectively applied the naval blockade. The Russian Empire also halted food supplies to Germany.
At the beginning of 1916, meat and sausage products were almost completely absent from the German market, so potato consumption increased 2.5 times compared to the pre-war level. The fall of 1916 was rainy, planting potatoes suffered from blight and the potato harvest was only half of last year’s. The daily caloric intake of food averaged 1000 kcal.In 1914–1918, about 800,000 people died of starvation and malnutrition in Germany.
To restore order in the distribution of products as early as 1915, the government was forced to introduce cards - first for bread, and then for all basic foodstuffs (potatoes, meat, milk, sugar, fats). Surrogates became widespread: rutabaga replaced potatoes, margarine - butter, saccharin - sugar, and barley or rye grains - coffee. The government, concerned about the sharp reduction in potato stocks, ordered the mass slaughter of pigs and allowed the landrats who ruled the rural districts to select pigs from owners who refused to comply with this order. With a purely German thoroughness, a wide propaganda campaign was conducted, during which economists and journalists declared the pig an "internal enemy" of the empire, eating the food they needed, and therefore weakening the "resistance force" of the German people. As a result, about 9 million pigs were slaughtered in the spring ... and by the end of the year the population felt a clear lack of meat and fat. via
In the winter of 1916-1917, the frost hit, and the Germans were not able to heat the house because of the shortage of coal.For the poor opened free dining.
The catastrophic food situation triggered a wave of strikes that began in Berlin and Leipzig and hit the defense industry in April 1917. The population also experienced problems with hygiene: the Germans relied on the cards for only 50 grams of soap, which contained only 20 percent of fat, and contained clay and talc-chlorite as a filler. Since the spring of 1918, Germany experienced three waves of Spanish flu.
From the memories of eyewitnesses: “Only now Frau Schultz understood how lucky she was with the apartment. She had a balcony. This, big, 2.50 per 1 meter. And her yard, unlike many in Berlin, was flooded with sun - it just bordered on a miracle. On the balcony, Frau Schulz could grow tomatoes and keep a couple of rabbits, and in the yard she could break several beds with potatoes, so that she could definitely hold out until the next harvest. In the meantime, she, like all other Berliners, had to be satisfied with sweep. For breakfast, for lunch and for dinner, the pancake is eating turnip bread, drinking coffee and beer made from rutabaga, only occasionally allowing itself to taste milk or real bread.And such as Frau Schultz, was in the military Berlin of 1916/1917, the majority.
And in 1916, newspapers reported that instead of the expected 54 million tons of potatoes were harvested 25. In January 1917, the weekly rate was reduced to 2 kilograms per week. Who had relatives in the village, was considered lucky. Those who did not have them were saved, like Frau Schultz, with balconies, and who secretly fattened a pig in the basement. It was a crime - for this they could cut meat rations in half. Those who survived the famine of 1916/1917 believed that he was stronger than the famine at the end of the Second World War. via
Indirectly, the magnitude of the disaster is presented by statistics on the increase in mortality from lung diseases in Germany - from late 1914 to late 1917, it grew by almost 50% (this is in one of the most developed countries in the world), and in Austria - by 70%. In January 1918, rations were severely curtailed in Germany and Austria-Hungary. In Vienna, 450 grams of flour was allocated to the working head of the family. In these countries, hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets, and a strike broke out in the Austrian capital. Demonstrations took place in Brunn, Krakow and Budapest demanding the immediate conclusion of universal peace.In Germany, things went even further: in Berlin, up to 500,000 people took to the streets, Krupp factories, Danzig shipyards, Vulkan factories, military equipment factories in Kiel and all military industrial enterprises in Berlin stopped.