The outcome of World War II was already decided at the table

   When it comes to the outbreak of World War II, people may think of various “isms”: racism, nationalism, militarism, imperialism, and so on. It seems that war comes from evil concepts in people’s minds, which in turn lead to aggression policies. However, the British historian Liz Collingham tells us-World War II originated from an insatiable belly.
   People in the 21st century often worry about weight. It is hard to imagine that the biggest war in human history was caused by insufficient calories.
   The pre-war world political and economic pattern was based on the principle of free trade led by Britain. However, this principle failed during the Great Depression of 1929. Market failures have caused shortages of materials in capitalist countries. Germany and Japan do not have sufficient food sources at home. In order to be independent in food supply, these countries must either participate in British-led trade or expand their territories.
   In Germany before World War II, food supplies were much better than at the end of World War I, but key production sectors such as cereals, sugar, potatoes, and meat were still not fully self-sufficient. Hitler’s government was unwilling to buy food with limited foreign exchange. According to calculations, in order to meet the daily caloric needs of the national population, an additional 8 million hectares of land are needed. In addition, if small-scale farmland is to be merged into a more efficient large farm, new land will also be needed to resettle German farmers.
   Nazi Germany’s strategy to solve the problem is to wage war to control the vast grain-producing regions of Eastern Europe-especially the fertile black land of Ukraine. According to Yale historian Tim Schneider, “Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin”: Germany’s plan is to starve to tens of millions of Eastern European Jews and Slavs, and then let the Germans colonize these lands In the past, the problem of food supply to the Third Reich was forever solved.
   However, the war did not solve the problem. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, Germany had to start rationing. After 1940, food shortages worsened as a result of Britain’s blockade of the mainland. The military and mining industries are particularly serious. Many young people enlist in the army because they envy the army for ample food. After 1941, the food intake of the German population decreased by about 20% compared to before the war.
   Japan’s expansion is also driven by hunger. After the September 18th Incident, Japan began a huge immigration plan, mobilizing millions of Japanese farmers to relocate to northeast China, hoping to resolve the agricultural crisis in their country. During World War II, the Japanese army’s logistical supplements were notoriously bad. “Supporting war by war” is a helpless move in food shortage. In each battle, the ferocious Japanese soldiers wanted food from the enemy.
   However, the outbreak of the war over food ended in food shortages. Throughout World War II, the number of Japanese soldiers who died of hunger and malnutrition even exceeded the number of war dead. The result of Japan’s expansion, like Germany, not only brought hunger in its own country, but also “exported hunger.” In 1941, Japan’s agriculture was still able to guarantee a per capita supply of 336 grams of rice; in 1945, that number had fallen to 234 grams. At the end of the war, the Japanese troops trapped on the Pacific islands by the U.S. forces fell to the point where they could eat all kinds of wild animals and even eat people.
   Germany and Japan’s plans for food self-sufficiency through war were a complete failure. The reason for the failure was that the war itself disrupted agricultural labor and bumper harvests and undermined the principles of the market.
   The situation in the UK is much better. Although the domestic territory is small and only the supply of milk can be self-sufficient, due to the vast overseas colonies, sufficient food and meat can be imported. This allowed Britain before the war to enjoy the benefits of free trade. After the war broke out, Britain began to limit domestic livestock and alcohol production, used land to grow grain and vegetables, used agricultural machinery to increase agricultural production, encouraged women to drive tractors to cultivate land, and even allowed prisoners of war to conduct agricultural production. There is only one purpose to make food self-sufficient.
   Although luxury goods from the continental and colony disappeared, the British enjoyed the best meals in wartime Europe. Each person can buy 4 ounces of bacon, 4 ounces of butter, 3 ounces of margarine, 1 ounce of cheese, 12 ounces of sugar, 15 ounces of fresh or frozen meat, 2 pints of milk, and 2 ounces of tea. The British also benefited from the huge assistance provided by the American Loan Act. Egg powder, frozen meat, bacon and various canned food from the United States, corn from Argentina, and marinated products from Iceland, let the British spend the war years calmly.
   When Rommel captured the British-occupied Egyptian city of Tobruk, the Germans found that the British warehouse was full of flour, tobacco, cigarettes, jams, canned corned beef and bottled beer. In contrast, the Germans only had shabby brown bread and canned sardines.
   The price of British characters being well-funded was the plunder of the colonies and the local famine. As Southeast Asia was occupied by Japan, Britain lost Myanmar’s food-producing area, and solicited food from Bangladesh. This has caused millions of people to die from famine. Behind food distribution is the world-led political and economic landscape dominated by Britain.
   The Soviet Union also faced a food shortage. Like Germany and Japan, the strategic goal of the Soviet Union before the war was to get rid of the international political and economic order controlled by Britain and achieve “self-reliance” in food supply. However, due to geographical reasons, the Soviet Union was unable to expand externally, and instead turned to an internal agricultural model—internal “colonialization”. State-led agricultural collectivization is to prepare for the upcoming Soviet-German conflict. This urgent task made the Soviet Union brutally squeeze domestic agriculture. This squeezing allowed the state to control agriculture without increasing agricultural productivity, with the result that millions of people died of starvation in the famine.
   For the United States, World War II was a glorious era for the food industry. The complete agricultural industry chain in the United States has not been damaged by the war, but has received numerous overseas orders, which has greatly improved the income and living standards of American farmers. The disaster of the world has brought prosperity to American agriculture. World War II was also an important period of agricultural technological innovation in the United States. The widespread introduction of pesticides, fertilizers, and hybrid varieties greatly increased agricultural production. The United States has become a granary for the entire Confederate world, providing a steady stream of food for almost all of its allies. The food production in the United States is so huge that after the war, food aid to other countries did not end for a long time.
   President Roosevelt declared that the purpose of the United States in the war is to achieve the four major freedoms. Among them, freedom from food shortages may be the most tangible benefit for the people of the participating countries. The huge agricultural production capacity of the United States, through its strong logistic transportation capacity, has provided vital food resources to the troops and people of the country and its allies, and has guaranteed the victory of the allies.
   The meals of the US military are undoubtedly the most luxurious among the countries of World War II. From rice, bread, macaroni, oatmeal, jam, syrup, sauerkraut, tomato sauce, to canned meat and canned vegetables, there is a wide variety. On the rear and warships, the soldiers’ menu also includes grilled steaks with onion sauce, French baked potatoes, ice cream, freshly ground coffee and apple pie. The U.S. Federal Food and Nutrition Commission sets calorie intake standards for US soldiers at 4,300 to 4,785 calories per day. This is far more than 50% of the intake of German soldiers, and more than double the intake of Japanese soldiers. The victory or defeat of World War II was already decided at the table.
   World War II was also a critical period for the industrialization of the US food industry. Various industrial foods that can be mass-produced have begun to show their strength. American-made luncheon meat, a canned food made from a mixture of various meats, has become a food overlord on the battlefield. Chocolate became the most sought-after snack among allied soldiers. Even the Germans, who had seized allied supplies, had a lot of fun. Industrialized fast food is easy to transport and store, does not require heating, tastes acceptable, and provides sufficient heat. At the end of the war, both the Soviet Army on the Baltic Sea and the Chinese Expeditionary Force in the subtropical jungle had sufficient calorie intake, and their physical fitness and morale far surpassed their opponents.
   The mass production of industrialized food during the Second World War changed the tastes and eating habits of people around the world. It is mentioned in the book that after the liberation of the U.S. military, the local people bought cheap U.S. military supplies from the store, including egg powder, luncheon meat, canned meat of various kinds, and “the omelette for breakfast with a little water” This surprised the Dutch people. In post-war Europe, the United States’ food aid filled the local dining tables and raised a generation of European food.
   The strong food industry capacity made the United States a superpower to replace Britain after World War II.
   Food divides the world order into two epochs. The era of food scarcity before World War II, and the period of adequate food dominated by the United States after World War II. The prosperity of the western world after the war came from more abundant calories and protein, more agricultural land, and more effective agricultural technologies. This is really sighing: If the American agricultural revolution (green revolution) could take place in the pre-war world, then World War II might have been avoided.