Rationing in France during World War 2

Discussion in 'France' started by Ramiles, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    As I'm doing a search on this topic:
    rationing in france ww2 - Google Search

    I thought I'd start a thread for some links etc:

    e.g. Food rationing and the black market in France (1940-1944). - PubMed - NCBI

    Fr Hist. 2010;24(2):262-82.
    Food rationing and the black market in France (1940-1944).
    Mouré K1.
    Author information

    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.
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Various Links etc

    A pdf "The Civilian Experience in German Occupied France, 1940-1944 Meredith Smith Connecticut College" : https://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=histhp

    ...which is searchable and has some details on the situation in Normandy for example.

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Life in Occupied France

    "The food situation was pathetic, we only were allowed 1200 calories a day, very little bread, our usual baker took our bread tickets for the whole month and gave us one baguette a day, a little more than our allocation, then, she was caught for being too generous and her shop closed for two weeks. We were without bread for that time.

    We tried to remedy the shortage of meat by breeding rabbits (I used to be sent to pick some grass to feed them every day) and when going to my grandmother for the summer holidays, we had to transport them in a wicker suit case by train. Some people remarked on the fact they could see, the legs of the rabbits protruding though the loose lid of the case.

    No coffee but a mixture of chicory which was more a laxative than anything else and at one period, no potatoes were available so I ate carrots at every meal and developed an orange coloured skin which my teachers suspected to be a sign of jaundice. Milk was severely rationed but not skimmed milk. Strangely enough, we were allocated wine and tobacco regularly, yes even women and adolescents. I believe that a third of the French produce had to be directed to Germany or used to feed the occupying forces.

    The authorities, conscious of the lack of essentials in the diet of children and teenagers issued vitamin tablets in schools. They had a funny taste, we used to throw them away, so they soon were replaced by vitamin biscuits, those were not thrown away, I had two lots because as well as being a full time pupil at school, I also followed evening courses in office skills. There, the students were mainly office teenagers eager to gain qualifications at those evening classes.

    We would eat anything we thought edible, rhubarb leaves were flourishing in this cold climate, the rhubarb sticks could only be used if we had enough sugar to cooked them with, but the leaves were a good replacement for spinach until the press stopped us, saying they contained oxalic acid and should not be eaten.

    For three weeks we stayed without salt at all, the food was horrible without it. I still suffer from that period, I always add too much salt while cooking or at the table.
    The shortage of textile was also a problem, specially where growing children were concerned. We had a small allocation of coupons but the most ingenious of us would use curtains or blankets to make clothes after they have been dyed a suitable dark colour. Shoes had soles made of wood, the first platform shoes appeared.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Apparently those Parisians who could not afford the black market used to travel on weekends to the countryside in order to buy food products from farmers.(One of the instructions given to the SOE was never to eat in black market restaurants as these were frequented by Germans,particularly the Gestapo and SD....perhaps a bonus for them would be that they were not called on to pay.)

    The Germans had their occupational costs imposed on the French which meant foodstuffs being requisitioned by the Germans to feed their occupation forces.In addition the Vichy government were taxed by the Germans to provide foodstuffs for shipment by rail to Germany.Vichy did this by imposing food allocations on farmers.Another product was tobacco,a highly sought out commodity, which was also demanded from farmers in the tobacco growing areas.Vichy food and tobacco stores,destined to be turned over to the occupation forces were a favorite target for the Maquis groups who also raided farms when they had intelligence that foodstuffs were on hand ready to for dispatch to the Vichy authorities.Overall,sympathetic farmers or those farmers involved in resistant activities could always provide food for clandestine agents by their devious management of their harvests in addition to being safe houses.

    The evidence of rabbit farming is still evident in some French villages and hamlets with cages still left in back gardens.I once stayed in the hamlet of Beaumont,Charente Maritime in 1982 and rabbit farming was being carried on by many of the inhabitants.....reminded me of wartime Britain when rabbits were used extensively to provide protein and were off the ration.

    The museum at St Marcel,Morbihan,Brittany has a display showing a typical meal available to the French civilian population by the food rationing scheme.Apparently one of the worse beverages was the coffee which was of the ersatz type made from acorns,a substitute coffee which in Germany the population had to endure....not endorsed by SOE agents apparently.

    TD might have graphic evidence of the meal displayed at St Marcel
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In terms of additional info. particularly re. how things changed in the liberated / allied controlled areas, both immediately on liberation and later etc. I think I would assume that a system of rationing quite similar to that practiced in the UK / USA might have been instigated, by the new government of the Free French.

    Though what I gathered re. the situation in Normandy i.e. in June and July etc. immediately after D-Day the reginally produced food was obviously available for purchase - i.e. by the allied troops - from local farmers and "factories" etc.

    There is an English language wiki page: Rationing - Wikipedia

    With some cover of the Second World War : Rationing - Wikipedia

    And a bit that mentions Germany in passing during WW1: Rationing - Wikipedia


    One of the links though does go to: Rationnement — Wikipédia

    Which can be "back translated" ;-) : Rationnement — Wikipédia

    And gives "just" a bit about WW2 France, at the mo. :

    In France [ change | change the code ]
    Main article: Life in France under the German occupation .
    A rationing system similar to that established during the previous war was put in place as soon as March 1940March 10, 1940 in Paris and was extended, for some products, such as bread, until November 30 , 1949 , 10 .

    From March 10, 1940 in Paris , Parisian restaurants could no longer serve two consecutive plates to a customer. The average meal cost 15 francs and the customer was entitled to 150 grams of bread

    Edit: The lack of food, raw materials in France etc is dealt with a bit further in the link at: Occupation de la France par l'Allemagne pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale — Wikipédia
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
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  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    IMG_3530.JPG I have found the shot of a daily civilian ration as displayed at the St Marcel Museum.

    The left hand side of the table shows the daily ration for adults as December 1942.

    The right hand side of the table shows the daily ration for a adolescent (13-21 years) as August 1942.

    The captions should be readable when the shots are enlarged.
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    IMG_3530 (1024x683).jpg This should be better.

    Attached Files:

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