Food: The Greatest Weapon Of All

1618 words - 6 pages

In President Roosevelt’s speech to Congress on October 31, 1943 he said “Food is as important as any other weapon in the successful prosecution of the war. It will be equally important in rehabilitation and relief in the liberated areas, and in shaping the peace that is to come" (Thomas). While The United States was able to over produce foodstuffs to help its Allies, Germany and Japan had many problems feeding its soldiers and citizens. The United States was able to sufficiently feed its troops while on the move. The United States was able to triumph over Germany and Japan in the Second World War through its ability to ration and distribute food to the soldiers overseas, as well as to citizens on the home front.
The United States kept their fighting force moving through their use of high calorie meals and the ease to prepare them. The United States Department of Agriculture researched the use of long-lasting meals by taking advantage of dehydration and freeze drying plants (Thomas). As a result the USDA came up with five specifically designed rations to eat in the field (United States Military Ration). First, they had the A-rations and B-rations which were the most treasured; they were made in kitchens and consisted of fresh or canned foods. The C-ration was a previously cooked meal that was ready to be consumed. Also, the United States soldiers carried K-rations, which were used in combat situations and had 2,830 calories, but were only to be eaten for short durations. The K-ration also carried cigarettes, chewing gum, and instant coffee (Nash). Lastly, the D-ration, which was called the emergency ration, provided high calorie content with things like chocolate (United States Military Ration). In the each of the ration kits the soldiers were given Spam, which was a new, canned, long lasting meat that they sometimes ate for every meal (Zimmerman). With the increase in food necessary for the military, “the Quartermaster general requested and received a 525 percent increase in food supplies between 1941 and 1943 for the armed services” (Thomas). This growth in production was going to be the responsibility of the citizens of the United States.
The United States was prepared for a total war economy. In his article on the effects of the Great Depression on the World War II economy, Wiegand stated, “They learned to learned to scrimp and persevere and having been pushed into a fight, they were eager to oblige” (Wiegand). Americans were ready to help in any way possible. For example, in President Roosevelt’s “A Call for Sacrifice” he says,
“Whenever I hear anyone saying, ‘The American people are complacent-they need to be aroused,’ I feel like asking him to come to Washington to read the mail that floods into the White House and into all departments of this government. The one question that recurs through all these thousands of letters and messages is, ‘What more can I do to help my country in winning this war?’” (Roosevelt).
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